9 Excuses That Hold You Back from Cooking (and How to Overcome Them)

updated May 13, 2022
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There’s always an excuse, right? Too busy to make plans to see friends I never see; too tired to read the classic book gathering dust on my nightstand; too inflexible to do yoga.

But if cooking is something you want to do more, consider your excuses expired. Although there are always reasons to avoid cooking, there are even more reasons to embrace it. Even when ignoring factors like ingredient and portion control, cost-effectiveness, and preserving cultural heritage, food is love. Maybe cooking brings some of us a little more love by having more interaction with food.

If you keep wishing you cooked more but can’t seem to get off the excuse train, see if some of these reasons will convince you to tie on an apron.

1. “I’m too tired to cook.”

Tuesday night at 7 p.m. with a bare refrigerator might not be the best time to attempt cassoulet from scratch. However, if you keep a well-stocked pantry and take some semi-homemade help (a bag of frozen dumplings never hurt anyone), you might be able to make yourself something even faster than pizza can be delivered.

2. “It’s expensive.”

Yes, if you are making caviar torte followed by pheasant under glass and serving it with Dom Perignon, cooking at home is insanely expensive. However, if you are trying to improve your skills with food that can do double or triple duty for the week (think how many ways roast chicken can be reimagined), you’re likely saving money on what you would be spending on multiple meals out.

3. “I don’t have the patience.”

Instant gratification is your friend. Leave the soufflés to your sister and focus on fried eggs, the perfect Caesar salad dressing, and awesome spicy tuna. You want meals that can be prepared quickly and show the great results immediately. Luckily, there are a lot of meals out there that satisfy this need.

4. “I can get it better if I order out.”

This is a tricky one. If I’m craving Vietnamese, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going out to my local pho spot. But if I crave chicken Parmesan the next day and know my local red sauce joint delivers, it’s harder to justify going out. Use your common sense here. Do you really get better chicken tikka masala via delivery or have you fallen into a rut? If you happen to make it well yourself and you have the time to cook, try to force yourself into the kitchen — you won’t regret it.

5. “I’m not good at it.”

And you won’t get any better if you don’t practice. Don’t you want to invite friends over for a little more than cocktail peanuts and martinis? Wouldn’t it be great to bring leftover lasagna to work that you made yourself? And, importantly, it’s impressive to be that person who makes light and fluffy omelettes for overnight guests.

5 Cookbooks That Make Vegetables The Sexiest Food on the Plate (Image credit: Emma Christensen)

6. “I don’t own any cookbooks.”

Luckily, you have the internet. Because you’re reading this article. Boom, tons of recipes and cooking videos at your fingertips. Try Kitchn’s new recipe portal.

7. “I live alone.”

When I lived alone, I always thought it was annoying that many recipes are for at least four servings. Some of them are difficult to adapt — have you ever tried to halve three eggs? I had to embrace the freezer. Yes, it leaves less room for ice cream, but there’s almost nothing better than coming home on a rainy night and pulling some homemade beef stew out of the freezer. You cooked dinner without actually having to cook. If you bake, bringing extra cookies to work or school is never a bad idea.

(Image credit: Kristan Lieb)

8. “I have a crappy kitchen.”

I commiserate. My guess is much of the city of New York commiserates. Yet, there’s a lot you can do with a single burner, a tiny stove, and even a

toaster oven

9. “I don’t like to cook.”

Some people just don’t like to cook. They fight the good fight time and again, and it’s just not an enjoyable activity to them. That’s okay. Can you slice good cheese and hard salami? Open up a jar of cornichons? Cut some bread? Boom. There’s your dinner. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s cooking. Bravo.