The more connected we become, the harder it is to find space for consistent cooking. Everyday life means being constantly connected to tons of things and people simultaneously through texts, emails, Tweets, and Facebook and Instagram posts. The same goes with food. It's far easier to rely on takeout — especially when there's an easy app that can deliver meals to your door with a click of a button.
The thing is, cooking does take an amount of pre-meditation. To want to cook is to want to plan. Cooking means taking yourself away from instant satisfaction and immersing yourself in sounds and smells, which can be nourishing in ways that takeout isn't.
Finding My Motivation to Cook
Cooking and food have always been a part of my life. I grew up learning how to cook on the heels of my mother and grandmother in the deep South, eager to learn what they knew, wanting to be the one who wielded warmth and care through food. At the age of 9, I was cooking regularly unsupervised, and as I grew older my prowess, passion, and interest only grew.
Becoming consistent with cooking didn't truly become a thing for me until my mid- to late-20s, however. I always cooked for my family because, as the oldest child, that was my role — but cooking changed when I realized it was something I could actively do for myself. It was then that I realized the power of wanting to cook a meal for myself. Cooking, for me, transitioned to a revolutionary act of self-care.
After some trial and error, I now cook up to four days a week, more depending on my mood. If I'm stressed or overwhelmed with my personal life, I spend more time unwinding in the kitchen. Here are some things that have helped me make that happen.
How to Create Space for Cooking in Your Life
Want to consistently cook for yourself or your family? Here are a few tips to work toward that in the future in your own life.
1. Set your cooking intention.
With anything that becomes one of our priorities, we must look toward wanting it to occupy space in our time. Do you want to cook because it makes you feel good? Because you're trying to save money? Because you're trying to eat more healthfully? Because you want to spend more time with your family? Once you figure that out, it's time to meal plan.
Remember that you don't need to plan for every single day or meal — start with with something that actually feels doable and exciting. Don't set yourself up for failure. Become intentional about what you eat and when. Start thinking on the weekend to the week ahead on meals you'd like to eat, and plan ahead to have what you need on hand.
Tips and Recipes to Get You Started
2. Create a motivating environment.
Is your pantry properly stocked? Do you keep basics on hand like potatoes, onions, garlic, green onions, tomatoes, ginger, and the like? It's so hard to find motivation to cook when your fridge and pantry look like a ghost town. You don't want to have to go to the grocery store every single time you decide to make dinner. Having a few basics on hand makes cooking less of a chore and more of something to enjoy.
Tips for Organizing and Stocking Your Pantry
3. Involve your friends and family.
Invite your friends and family over for dinner as often as you can. The food doesn't need to be perfect, and your home doesn't need to be as clean as you think it does. Remember that with larger groups of people eating a meal, splitting up the tasks — such as prepping for the actual cooking, setting the table, and making sure everything is in place — can be less burdensome and more enjoyable.