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Create the right vibe in your kitchen

We all want a good meal at the end of the day! Whether the day was short or long day because nourishing oneself is one of life little pleasures and an activity which is a daily must!

No matter the sort of day we’ve all had, at the end we look forward to a good meal. Nourishing yourself and your loved ones is one of life’s little pleasures, and a daily task. 

Most of us enjoy cooking however, the cooking process can sometimes trigger feelings of annoyance, especially after a long day at work when we’re overwhelmed, tired and just want to rest. On these types of days, the process can be meet with heavy sighs, dropped shoulders and thoughts of defeat. 

These feelings can leave one with resentment and frustration. It doesn’t mean we don’t care, it’s just bad timing.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the goal is to get the job done in the good time with delicious results.

Decision fatigue is a major enemy when it comes to executing not only major tasks, but also when cooking. Time begins to slip away and you don’t know where to start, so it’s easy to jump on the quickest solution and do a takeaway. Just like all indulgences in life, a takeaway here and there isn’t a bad thing, as long as it’s in moderation. Quick fixes are great in a pinch, but it’s important to prioritize our health, financial goals and sleep quality, which are all affected by our food choices. 

Being the sole person in charge of family meals can be stressful as a well-rounded adult with work tasks, a social life and other family responsibilities that utilize a great deal of your mental energy.

We need to shift our way of thinking when it comes to cooking. Instead of approaching it as a chore, look at it as your personal time to decompress and have fun.

Experiment with recipes, challenge yourself creatively, and make a conscious effort to enjoy the journey. 

Here are some few guidelines to follow that will help you create the right vibe in the kitchen. 

1. Plan Ahead

This is always the hardest part of the cooking process, and that’s why it’s the most important.

Ask your family what meals they enjoy and see what’s doable on a week night. Those more complicated recipes can be worked on during the weekend. Ask this question when everyone is relaxed and calm, like on a Sunday afternoon.

Doable meals are those you know to cook that don’t need a complicated recipe. Compare these meals to your work schedule and see what’s easy for you. If you need inspiration check out these recipes tried and tested by me.

2. Turn up the Music

Grab your phone, laptop, speaker or air pods and turn up the volume of your FEEL-GOOD PLAYLIST!! 

Be it uplifting gospel music, the beautiful vocals from Enya, soothing, smooth jazz or the body shaking vibes from your favourite Nigerian beat. Take your pick, pour yourself a refreshing drink and begin to have fun. 

3. Prep your station

Get all your groceries, tools, and a recipe out, if you have one. 

Make sure you have all your ingredients for your meal, including substitutes. Think coconut milk instead of cream or tomato paste if you don’t have fresh tomatoes. Clean, chop and prepare your ingredients and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Use this time to catch up with loved ones as they help you wash the veggies. 

4. Time it out

Be mindful of the cooking process as food items have various needs. Stoves cook differently, and if you allow too many distractions in your kitchen you might end up undesirable results. Without focus, food will end up bland, burnt and uninspired. 

Use this time to reflect and enjoy the journey. Remember, giving your food enough time is not simply following a recipe, but also noticing what’s right for you. A recipe might tell you to fry for 3 minutes, but you notice that it needs less time. Allow your inner chef to succeed by going through the process. 

5. Presentation

If time allows, get your nice serving ware out and play with presentation.Presenting your food is a creative a skill that cannot be perfected without practice.

Look for fun ways to make your food appetizing and appealing. Add colourful mats to the table or finely chop some parsley to sprinkle over a dish.  Remember it’s tweaking the small things that breeds mastery.

With these guidelines, you’ll be well prepared on your journey to turning cooking from a chore to a must-have daily time for relaxation and decompression.

Hannah Rostlund

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