In the current situation, we all know about the catastrophe that surrounds
us and the rate at which it is affecting our lives. In times like these, when our homes become our only haven and life may come to a screeching halt, you need to find comfort within the four walls of your home. This comfort can be anything from cleaning and art to reading and writing. But one necessity, be it comforting or not is, cooking. The act of making yourself a meal, or several, without any added help from restaurants or take-away apps. Although a necessity, not everyone likes to cook. But in these situations, when the choices are none, how does one find a liking for cooking? Specially if you’re not someone who has a knack for it, or any interest for that matter.
The easiest way I find, is to begin by familiarising yourself with some ingredients. It doesn’t matter if you live with your family, friends or on your own. There are always certain ingredients in the kitchen pantry that can be used for a variety of dishes. Start by sorting through them, looking at what you have, smelling and tasting them individually to understand what they can be used for. Basic herbs and spices like fennel, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin and mustard to name a few, are found in a number of dishes and in most pantries. This will help you ease into the process of cooking by providing an understanding of what you can work with so you’re not too intimidated to start.
Once you know what you have and are comfortable with the ingredients, log onto the internet and start with some research. Look up what dishes can be made, some easy recipes for your favourite meals. Making recipes that you enjoy eating is the best way to get yourself to begin cooking, since you know the end product is your prize! Things may not always workout the first few times but keep trooping on, look for easy versions of recipes and quick recipes that use ingredients you are comfortable with.
When the research is done, a few fairly decent meals have been served and you know what is to be done in order to make a meal and not burn your house down, that’s the time to start experimenting. The recipes that you were following until now to the last instruction, start adding or subtracting a few ingredients here and there. Hate mushrooms? Replace them with some other vegetable. Love sesame? Add a little extra than the recipe needs. Treat the dish as your project, something exciting that you are building from scratch and add in things you like or were missing in the original recipe. Stack up on some online cookbooks and make a different recipe every day, make them to your taste and learn from the experience.
Once you get a strong hold on your favourite recipes, it’s a good idea to
pay attention to the crockery and plating style. Take out your favourite plates and cute little spoons and mugs. The ones with pretty patterns or quirky quotes, ones you never thought you would be able to use. Plate your meals how you like them, garnish them the best you can with some green herbs or bottled seasonings. Remember, you are the artist and that is your canvas. Thinking of how your dish would plate at the end, makes the process of cooking a lot more exciting.
And always remember to treat the process of cooking as putting together something that you and your loved ones can enjoy. Don’t stress about the dos and don’ts of things. Cooking, unlike baking is forgiving, meaning it doesn’t need things to be precise or measured to the last gram. Just have some patience, put on your favourite tunes while you cook and most importantly relax. And before you know it, you will start enjoying cooking a lot more than you ever thought possible.