Once your time on the campus meal plan is over, unless you’re trying to live on a diet of processed pre-packaged food or expensive take out you are going to have to get your butt off the couch and into the kitchen. You don’t have to love to cook, but life is about the journey right? Why not bring a little bit of peace and maybe some joy into your time in front of the stove. Here are a few tips that can get you a little bit closer to a zen state in the kitchen.
1. Mise-en-place: Getting fancy and french this term simply means “Put in place” it’s professional kitchen lingo for “get all your ingredients organized and prepped before you begin to cook”.
Do this first and you will not be scrambling to mince your garlic while an onion is burning on the stove – because that’s stressful and unappealing to the taste buds.
2. If you’re using a recipe, read first.
It’s like your elementary teachers telling you to read all the instructions before beginning an activity – same concept here. Know what your getting yourself into so you can mentally prep and there are no surprises or long wait periods.
3. Use recipes as guidelines.
Don’t stress over the meticulous details and precise measurements. This relaxed attitude may take practice and experience, but what’s life without something to strive for. Try to get your favorite recipes memorized so you can easily whip those up without a second thought.
4. Use cooking as a time to connect with yourself, it can be meditative.
Zone out while you’re chopping your vegetables, washing your dishes, or waiting for a pot to boil. Release all the stress and chaos of the day and focus on the simplicity of the tasks at hand.
5. Breath in deep, smell every aroma that wafts off of your pan, smell the subtle crispness and hear the crunch of your knife running through a fresh pepper. Use all of your senses to come alive, enjoy yourself.
We live in an internet world – there is endless knowledge at your fingertips on how to do everything from frying an egg to flambéeing a baked alaska. No task is too hard to learn, the sky is the limit. Try and tap into your inner Bobby Flay, Julia Child or other kitchen spirit guide.
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