What is it with springtime? Not one but two of our weekly kitchen diarists have admitted recently to a serious case of spring fever. Last week Kate said that she didn't want to cook, not even a little bit, and a couple weeks previously Emily also 'fessed up to a week of pretzels and takeout. And it's not just them; we notice how web traffic to recipes ebbs in the spring, as if the entire country has suddenly lost interest in cooking.
Can you relate? Where does cooking mojo go in the spring? Here are some theories, and a few ideas to reenergize you for spring cooking.
Pictured above: Julie & Iker's Marina City Heaven at Apartment Therapy
Personally, I also encounter this spring fever. After a few months of focused cooking for the holidays and hunkering down to stay warm and occupied indoors during the cold months, the sudden flood of light and warmth in the spring makes me want a change.
I'm not interested in winter stews and beans anymore, but my interest in spring foods hasn't locked in yet. While spring offers a promise of delicious new things, the farmers market in my area doesn't even open until the end of April.
Of course, too, the weather must have something to do with it: sitting outside with a glass of rosé on the patio of the new pizza joint in my neighborhood sounds much better than staying inside my own kitchen. Spring fever is a sort of cabin fever, don't you think?
But I don't want to lose touch with cooking; the spring is a busy time, and it is healthier and more nourishing to maintain good habits of cooking. Here are a few things that help me break out of spring fever.
5 Ways to Get Your Spring Cooking Mojo Back
- Clean out the fridge and freezer. This is one of the most helpful things for me! I find that my fridge and freezer can get weighed down with the detritus of winter cooking. Cleaning out the remnants of old things and making way for a new season of cooking is freeing.
- Bring home a fresh new vegetable. Sure, spring peas and June raspberries aren't quite here yet, but you can still bring home an early crop of arugula, or a bulb of fennel. Anything fresh stimulates me to cook.
- If you have a window in the kitchen, wash it. Do you have a window in the kitchen? Is it dusty and spattered from winter? Wash it down, inside and out (if you can) and give yourself a cleaner, brighter view to the outside.
- Make the absolute easiest and most favorite recipe in your repertoire. This is a good strategy for any time of year. What is your easiest, most favorite recipe? For me and my husband, that's usually a good steak with a simple salad. It takes just a few minutes to cook, and it feels like a treat. Start with your own 20-minute favorite meal (pasta? A pork chop?) and throw open the back door while you eat.
- Invite someone over to dinner. This is major motivation to get your kitchen in order. Having someone over to dinner kicks off the summer entertaining season, and it can be more fun than just cooking for yourself.
Do you hit a cooking rut in the spring? How do you get out of it?
More Cooking Mojo Inspiration
(Image credits: Elizabeth Licata; Amy Herr)