Hello again in 2014!
I hope you are well rested from Christmas and New Year holidays and that the last week or so hasn’t been too much of a drag – getting back to work and, if you’re in the UK, dealing with another bout of storms and flooding – I sincerely hope you haven’t been affected by that.
Today, I’m going to talk about why you should find your reasons to cook in 2014.
Now, I could instead tell you how to cook things, but there is a veritable army of Celebrity Chefs and bloggers doing that already: how to make the ultimate roast beef; how to make the world’s chocolate cake; how to stop your food being boring (what is “boring” anyway? And “boring” by whose standards? Pffft.)
But let me ask you: is knowing how to cook enough to inspire you to cook as much as you’d hope to in 2014?
Because that’s what I’m really aiming at – inspiring you to get into the kitchen and make as much food as you’d really like for yourself and/or your loved ones throughout this year.
Maybe learning how to cook something new is enough; maybe it will motivate you to try out that recipe or technique once or twice. Maybe seeing luscious, juicy pictures of mouth-watering food with an accompanying recipe is enough to motivate you to try and recreate it for yourself.
But will that inspire you to cook as much as you’d really like to this year?
My point is this:
Figuring out your Big Reasons Why To Cook will more likely to inspire you to cook than momentary motivators.
Inspiration trumps motivation every time.
One person’s inspiration is another’s motivation. Inspiration makes you want to do something; motivation obliges you to do something. It’s the difference between “I want to do this” vs. “I have to do this.”
“I want to feel healthier and know that I feel better when I drink water, so I’ll go and get another glass – just what I want right now to pick me up.”
“Drinking at least 2l of water a day is healthy according to doctors, so I’ll drink a glass. I hate the taste of it but it has to be done so that I can be healthy.”
I’m going to assume that you don’t like obligations and would rather reduce the number of obligations you’ve got on your plate.
So how about taking cooking off your daily obligations list and putting it onto your “want-to-do” list?
There are two types of reasons that could inspire you to cook this year:
1 – Exoteric Reasons
These are causes that are outside of yourself: worldly causes like animal rights and environmental issues that (at its simplest level) could encourage you towards cooking and eating differently – less meat, no meat, more fish, less fish, more vegetables, only fruit…and so on.
Or maybe you want to cook and eat more locally sourced foods, and go to farmers’ markets when they’re on instead of the supermarket.
Maybe you decide to go foraging for food instead – hedgerow fruits for jams in August and September, mushrooms (anyone who suggests magic ones won’t be getting cookies today – I mean it) in September through to November in birch tree woodlands (oh and always seek advice from professionals on the mushrooms you pick – white ones surprisingly often are deadly ones, think Death Caps and Destroying Angels – LETHAL).
2 – Esoteric Reasons
These are introspective reasons: What do you want to achieve for yourself and your family? Do you want to feel healthier, fitter, vibrant? Do you want to expand your palate and eat a wider variety of dishes? Do you want to try Vietnamese, Russian, or proper Mexican food? Do you want to learn how to cook all those dishes?
Or maybe you just want to get in the kitchen at least once a week this year and cook something for your family.
Maybe you just want to be calmer and more confident in the kitchen and not constantly fret whether the chicken is going to be undercooked or the sponge is going to fall flat.
3 – Secret Option – a Combination of Exoteric and Esoteric Reasons.
The categories I list out above are not mutually exclusive by any means – maybe a combination of reasons resonates with you and inspires you to cook.
Maybe you want to feel healthier and know that you feel stodgy after eating too much meat, and you’re concerned about the welfare of animals during the whole farm to fork process, so you decide that you will eat less meat – for every meat-based dish you make you might cook two vegetarian or meat-free dishes.
Maybe you decide that you want to spend more time with your family this year, so you bring the children out with you to pick the hedgerow for fruits (making sure to leave some behind so that it can regrow the next year), and together you all make hedgerow jam, which keeps you in stock of jam for the next 6 months.
Maybe your other half wants to learn how to cook Italian food this year, so you both go on a short course on Italian food and, once in a while, you cook together in the kitchen (caution: this only works if you are not too territorial about the kitchen and you’re not too focused on the outcome. Yes, I’m speaking from experience!).
Finding your Big Reasons Why To Cook is a personal thing. It’s not something that I can prescribe to you because
a) I’m not a doctor, and I can’t give prescriptions, and
b) I don’t know you personally – I don’t know what foods upset your digestive systems and what makes you feel healthy, or satiated, or warm and fuzzy inside – in fact, I don’t know how you want to feel when you cook and/or when you eat, if anything.
Only you can decide how you want to feel, what you want to cook and how often. These are intentions that you can set for yourself and be inspired possibly by those reasons above. Use this as a starting point to learn more about reasons that resonate with you, then go and explore.
Alright, wise guy gal, what is *your own* Big Reason Why?
For me, my Big Why To Cook is that I find it creative and meditative. I tune into my senses, reconnect with myself, and feel I can give back more to the people I love the most because of it. That, and being rewarded with something delicious? *Nom*.
So tell me: what is your Big Reason Why to Cook?
Comment below and share it with us!