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So You’ve Never Cooked Before? It’s Not Too Late To Start

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So You’ve Never Cooked Before? It’s Not Too Late To Start

When I was little, I remember being in awe of my mother’s cooking talents. And while I loved her legendary lemon meringue pie and other sweet treats, what really amazed me were the nights we’d have meat and vegetables for dinner.

She was able to get so many parts ready so they were all cooked at the same time—the peas, the potatoes and the lamb chops or sausages. If this sounds impossible, it will be. But if you’re just willing to try, it’s really not hard to learn to make sandwiches and salads. From there, you’ll be baking cakes and cooking pasta.

But it all comes from one thing: being willing to try.

Here are five pieces of advice for how to get started today, even if you’ve never cooked before.

1. Decide that you can cook.

Like anything in life, if you don’t think you’ll be able to do it, it’s probably not going to happen. So this first reason is deceptively simple, but crucial.

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You can cook. And one day you might even be able to say you love to cook.

2. Accept that failure IS an option.

Take some advice from a culinary master of a restaurant that’s been ranked one of the best in the world. One of the things that Danish chef Rene Redzepi is passionate about is for his chefs at Noma to “fail” or have disasters from time to time. His philosophy is that if you aren’t failing then you’re not trying hard enough.

People that love to cook know that there are going to be things that don’t work out. It’s expected. Surely if it happens to the best chefs in the world, it’s okay for it to happen to you.

3. Make a salad for yourself.

When you’re in the right headspace and it’s time to actually touch some food, the good news is you don’t need to invest a small fortune on a new set of knives. You don’t even need a kitchen really. A knife and a chopping board can be helpful but they aren’t essential. With limited utensils you could easily toss together a tuna and chili salad. All you need is a can of tuna in chili oil to mix with a bag of pre-washed salad leaves and a lemon for extra flavor.

4. Make a salad for someone else.

One of the things you’ll start loving about cooking is the opportunity to nurture your loved ones. There’s nothing as rewarding as sharing something you’ve made with your own two hands.

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The secret is that your meal doesn’t need to be anything fancy. A lovely fresh salad will suffice. And once you’ve had that feeling, it will motivate you to keep cooking.

5. Try some soup.

Soup has to be one of the most underrated meals, and also one of the most forgiving. This makes it the perfect place to start playing with fire, so to speak.

All you need is a pot to cook in and some sort of heat source. The good news is that a tasty soup doesn’t need to be simmering on the stove all day. In fact, you can get a really lovely soup on the table in as little as 10 minutes.

A very simple white bean and tomato soup is perfect to try on a stove top, but there’s no reason you couldn’t whip it up in your microwave at work. Feel free to dress it up with a little pesto or some finely sliced proscuitto or even a handful of fresh basil.

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White Bean Soup

    White Bean and Tomato Soup Recipe

    Enough for 2

    1 can white beans (400g /14oz)

    1 jar tomato pasta sauce (or even canned tomatoes)

    Parmesan cheese, to serve, optional

    1. Combine the beans, the bean canning liquid and the tomato in a heat proof bowl (or 2 bowls).

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    2. Heat in a saucepan on the stove until hot. Alternatively, microwave for 3-4 minutes or until very hot.

    3. Taste. Season. Serve with parmesan shaved over the top, if using.

    Featured photo credit: Jules Clancy via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on November 22, 2021

    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

    Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

    During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

    But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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    Simplify

    I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

    Absolutely.

    And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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    If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

    • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
    • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
    • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

    Be Mindful

    You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

    Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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    Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

    Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

    Reflect

    As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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    Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

    But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

    So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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    Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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