Like everything else in life, our kitchens, our cooking routines, our food — it can start to feel a little blah. We feel a little blah. It's all blah-blahbitty-blah-blah.
Does your kitchen have you singing the blues? Does your food have you toying with the idea of takeout more often than not? How do you find that little spark that gets you going again? Here are my favorite places to find fresh inspiration for the kitchen itself and the cooking that happens there.
It's hard to admit when it happens and we usually just blame life for being too busy. But I'm here to say, "It's ok my friends. It's ok." I personally go through a blah-blah-blah phase a few times a year and below are the places I turn when I'm in need of a little pick-me-up.
1. Retail Catalogs
Although this can be a slippery slope of "I wish I had this or that," looking at the professional and creative styling of spaces (not just at the products these catalogs seek to sell) can be a great refresher. Most often, the reason I'm dissatisfied with a space isn't because I hate my dishware (well there's that too, but moving on), it's because I need a larger refresh or change. Like the ability to cover open stock shelving in seconds with a roller blind. Hello genius!
2. The Hardware Store
Now, to be fair, the hardware store is my inspiration for many things. A grey Tuesday afternoon — hardware store. A bad day at work — hardware store. A lackluster kitchen — hardware store! The DIY possibilities for cutting boards, new countertops, flooring, solutions to poor lighting, this magical place can help you dream out loud while touching things in person. There's a lot of inspiration in raw materials — not just the, "May I help you design your dream kitchen" sections.
3. The Bookstore
As much as I want an entire library of cookbooks in my own apartment, it's just not in the cards. That said, there are so many new books with gorgeous photos and ideas that even if I don't have time to sit down and cook my way through them cover to cover, it's a great place to get the feel for the season and to get you excited about ingredients again. They're great places to visit on vacations too!
4. Refuse To Eat Anything Processed
It's funny how when you kick out processed foods from your diet, even for just a week's time, that you suddenly find yourself in love with everything all over again. It's hard not to wax poetically about the smoothness of an eggplant or the smell of a tomato vine, or the way pan drippings magically become a sauce that could get you to second base all by itself. Often when we're in a rut, we're eating convenience foods and even if they're healthy ones, it's hard to fall in love with a space or the things we do in it if we aren't experiencing the tactile experience of the things we miss.
5. On Demand TV
When I start feeling a little lackluster towards cooking, I send myself to boot camp — also known as cooking shows. I tell myself it justifies my need for the occasional television binge session. But in all reality, it's hard to sit out of the kitchen when you're watching with 30-minute increments of infectious passion for food. Maybe you're more into foodie movies or even foodie documentaries. Check the links, we have you covered on those too! If you're a Hulu subscriber there's also every last reality food show in the last 5 years from the US and UK at your fingertips —but seriously, start with David Chang.
Where do you look for inspiration? Share your own creative resources in the comments below!