I don’t know how to cook. I’d be terrible at it. I don't have time. There is nothing in the house to cook. I don't know what to make. Cooking is not in my comfort zone. I just can’t do it. Learn to cook? There is no possible way I’d be able to.
Do the above statements resonate with you? I frequently hear these declarations about learning to cook. Have you tried - not yet? Don’t sell yourself short. You can learn to cook. It takes learning a few techniques and developing confidence to feel more creative. You may have tried but lacked the necessary skills because the previous results were disastrous. No problem. Try again. Why? I know you CAN learn to cook.
It is as simple as this - let’s view cooking more like a craft than an art form. It’s not always beautiful; it definitely won’t always be tidy. Cooking is not meant to be pretentious but rather something fun, and its result does not need to make an elaborate statement as long as it nourishes our bodies and souls and those we feed and, most importantly, we enjoy it. Feeding ourselves and others is an act of self-care.
Here is a secret no one is born knowing how to cook. Julia Child didn’t learn to cook until her mid-thirties, and her first cookbook was published when she was 49.
Still, think you can’t learn to cook? Are you curious to know how I know that you can? I’ve been teaching for 26 years, and many students tell me they feel this way before a class. Afterward, it is entirely different. Students feel comfortable and confident in the kitchen and want to learn to cook.
When cooking, we are not seeking perfection or validation. Being in the kitchen should bring us joy, warmth, and a feeling of contentment. Cooking is not here to judge us or make us feel inadequate because we accidentally burned the chicken,
unintentionally put three more onions in the sauce than the recipe called for, or kept the soufflé in the oven too long and it deflated like a sad old balloon.
We fear the unknown. And that is entirely understandable. You want to know that your four cheese lasagna will be delicious and that the roast you braised for hours will taste as dreamy as it looked in last month's issue of Bon Appétit Magazine. You want to feel confident those decadent brownies (that recipe you followed to perfection) will be a hit and that chicken and dumpling soup you brought your sick neighbor last week - you’re hoping she asks what’s your secret to making it so rich and creamy.
But ponder this - what is the worst that can happen? You mess up? Did you make a mistake? Brush it off. My philosophy is unless it is burned, you can salvage it. You persevere. You keep going. You thought you were making a cake, but it fell apart, so now you make a trifle. This is what learning to cook can do - teaching you how to shift your mindset and learn how to make changes when things don’t go as planned.
See what I did and why when I went to make shakshuka, that became a soup and then
granita. When contemplating whether or not you should learn to cook, always let the voice in the back of your mind guide you and remind you that you are the chef in your kitchen. And that yes, yes you should and can learn to cook.