So You Think You Can’t Cook?

We all have our strengths, weaknesses, talents, hobbies and passions. Cooking and baking are two things I really enjoy, and I consider myself pretty good at it. I could never understand how people say, “I can’t cook”, or “I can’t bake.” Don’t get me wrong — some people are much better at cooking or baking, and it may come easier and more natural to them, but I believe that everyone can cook!

Check out this show on Food Network. If you think you can't cook-wait until you see these people! Photo courtesy of Food Network

Check out this show on Food Network. If you think you can’t cook-wait until you see these people! Photo courtesy of Food Network

My philosophy on cooking is, “If you can read — you can cook.” Reading a recipe and following the directions is the main part of cooking. Finding good and easy-to-follow recipes is the first step. You can’t go wrong with a traditional cookbook, and most large cookbooks have a lot of information in them also. The very first cookbook I ever received was from my Grandma. It was a Better Homes and Gardens cook book. The introduction had different cooking terms, equipment, food storage tips, measuring tips, meal-planning guidelines, table settings, and cooking techniques. The Internet is also an amazing resource for cooking and baking. You can Google or search anything and find a recipe with detailed instructions and pictures. Pinterest has thousands of recipes too, and Foodnetwork.com is also a great website.

Pinterest is a great resource! Follow me @AlissaKarsten Photo courtesy of themissinformation.com

Pinterest is a great resource! Follow me @AlissaKarsten. Photo courtesy of themissinformation.com

I did my research before writing this blog and asked some of my friends who “hates cooking” exactly why they don’t like it. “What is it about cooking you hate? The prep, the cleanup, the time spent?” Most of the people I spoke to had similar reasons.

Here are a few:

  1. Time spent grocery shopping for ingredients
  2. Time and effort cleaning up after preparation
  3. Wasting ingredients not used (wasting money)
  4. Keeping track of multiple items being cooked at once, making sure they are all hot and ready to eat at the same time
  5. Not able to just throw things together for a quick and good dinner
  6. Take out is much easier and faster
  7. Just don’t have time for it!

Although I understand these “issues” with cooking, I must say I have to disagree, and now it’s my turn to argue this list. Shopping for groceries is not the most exciting part of my day, but I must say it’s necessary. You have to go grocery shopping in order to survive! If you are smart about it (and read my past blog about grocery shopping) it’s not that painful. You need to be organized, and if you shop right, you will be saving a HUGE amount of money instead of ordering take out or going out to eat!

Having a fair and organized clean up schedule is important too. If you live alone, well sorry — you’re stuck cooking and cleaning and may want to stop reading now, but for everyone else out there — switch off! At my house, I cook, my fiancé cleans, and it’s only fair. Cleaning dishes up as you go, while you are cooking, is smart too; it saves time in the end. For those of you with children, time to teach the some responsibilities and help clean up after dinner. There is never an excuse to waste ingredients or left overs. Everything can be stored, refrigerated, or frozen and used at a later time, or even the next day to create a brand new dish.

Clean up Clean up! Photo courtesy of lifeasmom.com

Clean up Clean up! Photo courtesy of lifeasmom.com

Really understanding cooking times, and planning different items to be done at the same time is not easy, but with practice (and failure) you will get the hang of it! The ‘tempting take out monster’ as I like to call him is hard to say no to. It is easy — I mean you can order food online and it’s delivered to your door 20-30 minutes later. Companies like Grub Hub make it even easier and convenient to order take out. Before you know it, these companies will be walking inside your door and feeding it to you! Not having time to cook is not a good excuse. There are so many recipes that simply take 20-40 minutes to cook, and pre-making meals and freezing them is also a smart way to have meals to grab and go!

Cooking for me is therapeutic, and I feel so accomplished and proud when I am finished and have this amazing dish in front of me to serve to my family and friends. My favorite memories with family are from my Grandma’s kitchen table — sharing a meal, laughs, and love. Even cooking together are some of the most memorable times of my life. I grew up watching and helping my Grandma in the kitchen, and she has taught me things I cannot wait to pass down to my future children and grandchildren. Her recipes are incredible and mean so much to our family, that we decided to make a family cookbook to pass down.

This is my family cook book. Recipes from my Grandma and Great Grandma. It means the world to me!

This is my family cook book. Recipes from my Grandma and Great Grandma. It means the world to me!

This is page from the cook book with my first pie I made with my Grandma.

This is page from the cook book with my first pie I made with my Grandma.

Cooking is just like any other trade or hobby; if you want to be good at it you have to properly educate yourself and practice. Think of all the benefits of cooking at home with your friends and family, and try it out. Eventually, it will be a piece of cake!!

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