Eating is one of the most pleasurable needs humans have. Yes, we need to rest, to breathe, and to use the washrooms, but culinary experiences can both nourish your body and expose it to a level of discovery, luxury, or simply happiness. The key, however, it to eat foods which are both good for us and tickle our palate with great flavors and textures.
If you are trying to satisfy both of these measures as well as maintain a balanced household budget, you are most likely going to be cooking most of it yourself. Only that way do you have full control over the quality of ingredients used, the flavors, and the portion size. Though this theoretically sounds like a simple enough task, many of us struggle with producing meals that we enjoy to both eat and prepare. Sometimes we settle in a “funk” when nothing seems to be turning out and eating loses the pleasure it once had.
If that’s where you currently are, no need to despair. What you might need is to evaluate what the source of the problem is and then “reset” into a new era of delicious cooking.
- Your Equipment Needs to be Upgraded/Repaired
All this time you could have been kicking yourself and thinking that you are a terrible cook, when in reality you are working with broken equipment. An oven which bakes unevenly will never turn out a symmetrical and perfectly cooked cake, just like a burnt skillet will not produce the same effects a new non-stick will. If you are looking for good food, you need to invest in quality tools, from simple items like kitchen knives, to bigger appliances like stoves and ovens. If you know that your equipment used to deliver better results than it does now, it might be time to call a repair service for gas and electric stoves. It could just be the question of fixing a small problem instead of having to trash the entire thing and replace it.
- You Lack Inspiration
It’s easy to settle into a comfortable rhythm of cooking, and though that might save you time, it isn’t good for your repertoire. Why? Because these simple recipes become second nature to you, less attention is paid to their execution, meaning a dip in quality. Additionally, your palate gets bored of tasting the same things over and over again. If you are starting to realize that even your “key” recipes are not turning out the way they used to, it might be a sign that you need to mix things up a bit and try something new. Get your hands on a new cookbook, watch an interesting food show, or eat out at a restaurant that serves meals different from what you serve at home. Any of these options can mean an infusion of ideas for you to try afresh with.
- Your Ingredients aren’t Fresh
All the greatest chefs will tell you that you can only create meals as delicious as the basic ingredients are. If you cook with high quality and fresh ingredients, you are unlikely to miss the mark on flavor, as it is present naturally. Try cooking with local produce and ingredients which are in season right now. You will find that you are inspired by the raw version of the food you buy to create tasty and delicious meals which highlight the superior quality of what you have. Using old or low-quality ingredients will do nothing for the taste of your dishes, and you’ll find that you’ll spend a lot of time and effort trying to mask the problem rather than just letting the food speak for itself.
- You’re Trying Too Hard
It seems like the harder you try, the worse the outcome, right? If that’s the case, the solution is very clear- keep it simple! When you try incorporating too many flavors and employ complicated techniques, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and for something to go awry. Peel back cooking to the basics and build up your skills slowly, allowing for complicated dishes when you have the time, mindset, equipment, and ingredients to do it correctly. People much rather eat a well-executed simple dish than a poorly put together complex meal, complete with a grumpy and unsatisfied cook.
- You’re Not Giving Yourself Enough Time
Cooking takes time, even if some celebrity chefs try to make you think otherwise. However, this shouldn’t be a problem, rather embrace the task and the time it requires to be done well. Otherwise you might be ruining your efforts by attempting to cut corners, bake things for shorter amounts of time but at a higher temperature, burning your dish in the process, or not imparting enough flavor thanks to shortening the marinating time you needed. Though there are ways to make cooking more efficient, like meal planning, prepping ingredients in advance and using the right tools, when you rush yourself, you risk ruining your dishes as a result.
- Lack of Attention
If you have forgotten to add the salt for the last 3 meals you have prepared, chances are you simply aren’t paying enough attention. Mistakes happen to everyone, but they are usually avoided if you concentrate on the task on hand: making food. If you are finding that your kitchen adventures often end in failure, contemplate on whether you are actually focusing what you are doing as you are doing it. If cooking is something you end up doing at the same time you are doing the laundry, helping kids with homework, watching TV, and talking to a friend, don’t be surprised if the result is less successful than you initially imagined. Though it doesn’t have to be an overbearing, singular task, cooking is an important job which requires your attention, so make sure you have enough of it to produce a satisfying meal.
Kitchen nightmares happen to the best of us. We miss something, burn the bottom, undercook, or even have an explosion. That’s life. However, if you are dealing with a long-standing issue with your home cooking, you might want to look into what could be the source of your issues and implement the simple solution you need to put you back on track.