Do you ever find yourself in a cooking funk? Night after night of making dinner can drive even the most accomplished culinary mastermind straight into a rut. You might realize one day that you have been making the same few meals in rotation for weeks, and you have not enjoyed preparing them one bit. When that happens, it’s time to find some new recipes and a new attitude. Here are five ways you can battle the cooking blues and keep your time in the kitchen as fun as possible.
1. Cookbook Challenge
You probably have at least a few cookbooks lying around, but when was the last time you actually looked through them? Instead of referring to the recipes in your head, try referring to the ones you have on paper. You can keep it simple by committing to making one new recipe per week out of a cookbook that you already own. On the other hand, if you are really hungry for a challenge, you could go all Julie and Julia and make every single recipe in one book. This method is sure to introduce you to some new favorites.
2. Watch and Learn
Imagination is a handy tool for any chef, but all tools need sharpening occasionally. One way to get inspired is to watch recipe videos. For example, you can watch over 140 Hampton creek recipes in production on their company’s YouTube channel. Hampton Creek’s products are versatile and packed with flavor, so they make great ingredients in all kinds of dishes, from stir-fries to chocolate pies. Actually, witnessing these meals come together is kind of addicting. You won’t be able to watch just one video, so make sure you’ve got a little time on your hands. You’ve been warned.
3. Actually Use Pinterest
Pinterest is undoubtedly a gold mine of crafts, workouts, and inspirational quotes, but consider this fact: “Recipe”, “chicken”, “bake”, “cake”, and “cheese” are 5 of the 10 most popular words on Pinterest. Needless to say, a huge number of Pinterest users are in it for the food. And why not? It is all there in front of you, waiting for you to put it together.
If you have a Pinterest account, then you probably save pictures of mouthwatering concoctions all the time. However, the frequency with which you actually make these recipes may be a different story. When the kitchen boredom strikes, turn to that beautifully curated virtual bulletin board of yours. Delve into the Asian cuisine you’ve been eyeing, or actually make that lasagna that struck your fancy six months ago. Whether you stir up something exotic or simply make an old favorite in a new way, you are sure to enjoy the change of pace.
4. Become an Inventor
With all of the resources available for finding new recipes, you might not feel much motivation to get innovative. While your grandmother probably made up a new dish every other week, you may never have written a recipe of your own. A cooking dry spell is the perfect time to come up with your signature dish. Whether you want to make recipe writing a careful process or prefer to invent on the fly, just have fun with taking your favorite ingredients and turning them into your specialty. There’s nothing like serving a delicious meal that you developed all by yourself.
5. Make It Social
If you are feeling bored, chances are you are not alone. Chat with some of your friends and see if they have the dinnertime blues, too. Then round everyone up to share their favorite dishes and swap recipes. Even a meal you’ve made a hundred times might taste like gourmet fare to an uninitiated friend. Plus, seeing what your friends are cooking is likely to give you a few ideas of your own. At the very least, you’ll have an excuse to get together with the girls and blow off some steam.
Embrace the Challenge
Just because you have hit a wall in your cooking journey does not mean you are stuck behind it forever. With a little creativity and a love of good food on your side, it won’t be long before you climb right on over that obstacle. Even if you don’t end up loving everything you make, these are some surefire ways to expose yourself to new techniques and flavors that you might not have tried otherwise. You will fall back in love with cooking in no time.