534 words

#DearMe Cooking

Dear Past Me,

I know it's tough to not have cooking skills when you're a grown up. But you don't have to live with that forever.

It's worth learning, at least some basics. There are many situations when it comes in handy, it's part of core self-sufficiency package. E.g. you can eat healthily on low budget when staying at home, it's not that scary to help in food area at friends' parties, you can organize meals on your own when arranging a trip etc. Also, very useful when bringing up kids if you're planning a family.

  1. Practice
    Just practice it, put in the hours, in any way or form. You got lucky and somehow managed to avoid the kitchen for so many years, so now don't be discouraged if your peers are better at this, they just had much more practice and you need to catch up.

  2. Take it easy
    Start simple or with whatever intrigues you. A lot of recipes are for experienced cooks or adventurous souls, - if you get intimidated, don't worry, find something else. Think about something simple that you remember from childhood or other simple food places (e.g. school, low-cost restaurant) and start there.
    Also, don't rationalize yourself into trying new ingredients/recipes if you don't actually feel excited about it, you're just making this not fun for yourself. Allow for the curiosity to come naturally.

  3. It's OK to throw food away
    If you feel very guilty for throwing the food away, it can hinder your enthusiasm for cooking as you have to live with the unfortunate consequences. So simple, in hindsight.
    It sucks when you love to eat great food but fail to make great food.
    This is a cost of learning. It's fine.

You say, you don't like cooking. Are you sure? Would you say the same if you had great cooking skills? :)
I don't know yet, but I think you might end up falling in love with cooking someday.

Early 2021

Behind the scenes:
This has been brewing for a long while, but mostly crystallized in late 2020 (ironically, when I'm already quite a bit into the cooking journey, cooking through both pandemic lockdowns in 2020).
Tip 1 was brewing for a year or longer, but in late 2020 I realized that this is mostly just hours/things practiced, think 10,000 hours, deliberate practice etc. I'm quite behind of many people I encounter and it's discouraging, so let's just start with hours, without putting any pressure on what I'm doing with those hours.
Tip 2 came from various old and new experiences with cooking sites (e.g. numerous failed attempts to use most popular recipe sites), and some recent "pushing myself into doing new stuff doesn't really work" experiences (cabbage, butternut squash are great veggie choices for lock down when food deliveries are rare, but it added to my hesitation to cook, I was really not into cooking something with them at that time).
Tip 3 is very fresh, 2021 Jan, when I was pretty unhappy about some leftovers I ought to eat, and realized that it also drains my enthusiasm for cooking something for the next day.


Let's see how this works :)