Our favorite reader tips for finding your groove in the kitchen


It can be disconcerting to no longer enjoy an activity you once enjoyed. But when this activity is not just a hobby but a necessity of life that you are always forced to do day in and day out – as is the case with cooking – the situation becomes more complex and confusing. A few weeks ago I wrote about how to overcome a kitchen rut and find your joy in the kitchen. That was quite the conversation starter, so here are some of my favorite tips readers shared for rekindling the flame with their cooking. (Tips have been slightly edited for clarity, grammar, and length.)

In a kitchen rut? Here are 5 ways to find your joy again.

“During the shutdown, a friend created a ‘Cookbook Collector’s Challenge’ Facebook group,” writes AnnieH. “The challenge was to cook a new recipe from every cookbook you own. In my case, that sometimes meant cooking for the first time from a book I picked up at a book sale. used and sometimes struggle to find a recipe I had never tried in an old favorite. A few were duds, but some became new favorites. It was great fun. I only had about 25 The friend had almost 100 cookbooks, but she still completed the challenge within the first six months.

If you don’t have a large personal collection of cookbooks, head to your local library. “Don’t overlook your public library as a wonderful source of inspiration,” melissaweaverdunning reminds us. “I like to browse the cookbooks section in person or online to find cookbooks and ideas for newbies. Most libraries also have services like Hoopla or Libby, so you can check out books online or even download a cookbook for the loan period.

“I also challenged myself in the kitchen,” adds smartFEM. “For example, a young relative of mine went vegan while breastfeeding because she can’t eat red meat and her baby is allergic to dairy and soy. So I’m going to bake her a vegan birthday cake, something I’ve never thought of doing before.

“I think growing your own food helps. Even if it’s just a pot of rosemary or basil on the windowsill,” suggests Reader from Toronto. I think it would be rare not to find pleasure in preparing a dish that includes ingredients that you have grown. Maybe it’s time to get green onions back growing on your windowsill?

5 reasons to cultivate a vegetable garden, beyond vegetables

This comment from Merle66 really stopped me in my tracks: “A lot of my friends say they don’t see the point in cooking just for themselves, but my attitude is that if you’re not worth cooking , for who ?” Well, Merle66, I couldn’t agree more. “Preparing a great meal for yourself is an expression of self-love, just as cooking for others is an expression of love.”

“People lament being ‘lonely’,” echoes JA Rigge. “Try to think of it as eating, doing and saying whatever you want, whenever you want. There’s a certain joy and a certain freedom in that.

“When we realized we were stuck at home at the start of the pandemic, we began to prepare a special dinner: using the “guest” dishes and glassware and dressing the table differently,” writes RedEric1, “we treating as guests”.

This tip was included in my previous article, but it bears repeating. “If at some point in your life you really enjoyed cooking or baking, and you don’t now, give it space to come back to you, and it will,” says Jack Hazan, author of cookbooks and licensed therapist. If you’ve never enjoyed being in the kitchen, simply waiting won’t be enough. But if cooking and baking were activities you really loved, that passion will eventually return. In the meantime, you can turn to quick and easy pantry recipes to fuel yourself in between, or follow these summer cooking tips if you’re looking for ways to beat the heat instead.

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