Learning To Love Cooking

Learning To Love Cooking



ZANDER GLADISH

I like to cook, but I didn’t always love cooking.

I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated a home-cooked meal; I like to eat. But now I actually appreciate the process of making food that I can share with others. There is something deeply instinctive and satisfying about it.

When I was growing up, we had a lot of delicious meals, lovingly prepared by my mother. She is a fabulous, self-taught cook, who somehow managed to make about twenty new and exciting dinners each month. In recent years, I aspired to be able to match that quantity and quality of meals with that much diversity, but I didn’t know where or how to start.

First of all, I wasn’t feeling much excitement about the process. Although I’m comfortable in the kitchen and am good at improvising on the fly, I’ve always tended to buy, cook and eat repeated meals.

In short, I’d been in a food rut.

The main issue is that I have little time or interest in planning and shopping days in advance. I like to tell myself that I’m bold, but the truth is I buy 90 percent of the same things, week in and week out. I know what works, so I grab only the tried and true ingredients that I know will get my family through the next week.

Of course, the problem is, if you only have the same ingredients, you never make anything new. (In fact, if you expect different results when you buy the same stuff, you could be considered “culinarily insane.”)

I have a very 21st century relationship with my wife of three years, Claudia. I do most of the food shopping and cooking. I teach yoga, while she works in a more traditional office environment. One of our domestic issues historically is that I want her to cook more, but she comes up against the same problems as I do: no time to plan and shop for specific meals. I think we both felt intimidated by the whole process. Recipes are great and all, but you can’t just pick up a cookbook and start cooking. You need to have the raw ingredients and that means you need to plan.

Luckily, some of Claudia’s colleagues started talking to her about how much they liked Blue Apron a few months back, so she signed up. Blue Apron is a company that does the dirty work of planning and shopping for you. They pick the recipes and supply all the ingredients in the exact quantity that you will need for a meal for two. They send you a box once a week (on an agreed upon time and day) with all the goods and easy-to-follow recipes for three full dinners. Best of all, their food is sourced locally and is all seasonal. We both suddenly found ourselves preparing and cooking dinners that we would never have considered in the past.

We are now having real, home-cooked, sit-down meals at least three times a week and most of them are delicious. One of the added benefits is that it gets Claudia excited to get in the kitchen too. We are now making food together and have a common interest and activity that has helped us bond as much as the act of eating the meal together.

From here, I can see how preparing and shopping for specific meals might not be as daunting as it once seemed, and I look forward to the time when I’m able to brave the supermarket with an unconventional ingredient list in hand.

Until then, I’ll keep stoking the fire of my newfound cooking passion, with a little help from Blue Apron.

Editor's Note: update your own kitchen routine with these healthy, delicious recipes:

Black Bean Quinoa Sliders

Authentic Congee

Grilled Asparagus With Miso