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Baby Steps

7 months ago by

Baby Steps

I have this love / hate relationship with cooking.

Coming from a family of amazing cooks, I sometimes feel the pressure to live up to certain expectations. Living in New York, we tend to order takeout almost too regularly (it’s like a religion) and eat out way too much (it’s part of our social life, right?)! Groceries tend to just sit in our refrigerators, waiting for the cleaning cycle to occur.

Yes, I have those moments where I feel like being Barefoot Contessa, vibing to good music, drinking wine, while flipping through a cookbook. And as nice as that sounds, the reality is, those moments are so rare. All that said, I’s love to find easier options, whether it’s signing up for Blue Apron or downloading a 10 minute recipe app on my phone. Maybe this whole thing isn’t even that hard and I’m just lacking recipe inspiration.

How do you find ideas? How do you keep it exciting in the kitchen? Baby steps, I guess!

12 comments

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  • Learning to cook is worth the effort. If there’s one thing you’re going to do every day for the rest of your life, it’s eat.

  • Il y a un super livre de recettes en ce moment en France qui fait un carton : il s’appelle simplissime

  • Sometimes cooking is recreation, and sometimes it’s just a way to nourish yourself. Make sure which one you’re going for that evening — ending up elbows deep in a complicated recipe when all you wanted was to eat something simple and crash is not great.
    For more recreational cooking, I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from cookbooks. I don’t buy them often, only ones that seem really exciting. Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty (hardly obscure, I know) really gave me tons of new ideas, as did a cookbook (Spice) from a phenomenal chef in Cambridge (Ana Sortun). The Food52 website is a great resource of recipes and ideas also.
    For feed-me-now cooking, I’ve worked out a small stable of quick, healthy dishes that I really like that I can cook without thinking, that are adaptable to whatever vegetables I have in the fridge. For example, Thai curry using store-bought curry paste, or a very minimal red lentil soup with a salad, or frittata.

  • I know what you mean. Sometimes our busy lives just tend to lure us away from cooking and into the arms of salad bars and late night restaurants. I’ve recently found my love for cooking again by experimenting with new herbs and different cuisines. It’s like a whole new world, well especially Thai and Vietnamese right now. What also helps is making an XL portion so you can freeze it. Believe me, it’s a godsend when you’re tired and find a nutritious meal waiting to be heated. :)

  • I agree with Julia about recreational or “project” cooking and everyday cooking. A lot of my friends (also 20-somethings in NYC) order or eat out most often, but when they do cook, it’s like OH MY GOD I’M COOKING LOOK AT THIS ELABORATE THING. I cook dinner more often than not, but it’s not usually exciting! It’s just roasted chicken thighs and veggies, or a simple soup, or a quick stir-fry. Then on the weekends I’ll do a big project meal. Cooking for everyday isn’t what ends up on instagram, but it is healthier and more fulfilling, not to mention cheaper, than ordering or going out.

  • …et avec un enfant, la motivation est encore pire!
    J’adooooooooore bien manger, mais qu’est ce que je suis fainéante le soir en rentrant du boulot…
    J’aimerais tant prendre plus le temps.

  • Depuis que je vis seule, je m’oblige à cuisiner une fois par semaine même si ce n’est que pour moi. C’est vrai qu’il faut avoir l’inspiration, le temps et trouver les bons ingrédients mais il y a tellement de possibilités maintenant. Et puis, quoi de mieux qu’un repas fait par nous-même ?

  • I am always exploring cooking and i also haven’t found yet a way that really functions as a routine. But since we rarely eat out this is what i do:
    I start by fresh ingredients or new herbs that i find in the market.. I take home what is fresh and then i just put in the google search some of the ingredients that i have home sensing that they could be a good combination. I find a recipe and then experiment around it. Of course i don’t always have all the ingredients at home…but what is helpful is learning from the process, the next time i buy one ingredient i remember that probably it will suit with another one so i buy them together….

    Last year we also bought a rice cooker, a device where you can cook tones of other things except rice, like vegetables and different kind of beans, or mixed rice with different sauce and chicken etc. For the non sophisticated meals it has saved our lives and the best is you can program it, go to bed and woke up with warm rice…until late that you arrive home. We bought a Japanese one good quality 200euros but it was worth it. For me it always starts from the ingredients. For the quick meals fish is one option that we use a lot in the house because it is relatively healthy, it is tasteful without a lot of effort and you can cook it very quickly.
    Another source of inspiration for me is of course the restaurant themselves. I often keep an idea of a really good combination and then i try it at home.(this is how i got the aubergine smash with tuna and grained potatoes fried for example…i still experiment of course to decode the mastery of the chef but is coming slowly..:)
    For me cooking is a great way to combine instinct with logic and it reminds me to feel rather than think or let’s say to feel if what i thought is really good.

  • I love to cook, and most of it is that I enjoy the process. I like to chop things and sautee things and watch cakes rise in the oven. Even if all I’m making is spaghetti with olive oil and garlic, or scrambled eggs, I like being in the kitchen. It relaxes me! I also like to find out how to make things I usually order in restaurants, to see if I can. :)

  • Pinterest! Just type an ingredient you are craving or something you have in your fridge you think you can make something out of and you’ll find tons of recipes. Cooking takes time, but once your food starts tasting better it is so worth it.

  • Hi Garance,
    Personally I love cooking on my opened kitchen, with music, sometimes with my husband! It can be a great moment when you put yourself in good conditions ans if you don’t feel cooking as an obligation. I look for new recipes on Marmiton, on cooking blogs, talking with my friend or my mum…the secret is to cook with joy and greed ;)
    Cheers :)
    Johanna

  • I love Blue Apron. Quality ingredients, $10 per meal and if you are cooking for yourself, you can get six meals in each box. Or share with a friend. My box is delivered on Fridays and I know that for the weekend, I don’t have to plan a menu, go shopping (except for wine, although now they even deliver wine!) and the meals are tasty, sensibly caloric and fun to make. And I’ve been introduced to so many new ingredients. If you want to cook from scratch, try the New York Times cooking app and weekly emails. You build your own recipe box from 17,000 choices and the three-times per week emails will give ideas for menus. Bon appetit

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