From Pain to Passion: My Cooking Journey

Dear Friend,

What are you passionate about?

Lately, I’m passionate about cooking.

When I was a child I primarily learned to cook from my sister who wanted to be a chef, and from the Food Network which mainly consisted of home-cooking programs. Back then I didn’t cook often, and it wasn’t something I necessarily did for fun. I much preferred basketball or colorguard; things that involved being physically active. Besides, I was an incredibly picky consumer. While some may say that I’m still picky because I’m vegetarian, back then I refused to eat vegetables and even to drink water–I subsisted off of grilled cheese, mac and cheese, soda, and…well…did I mention cheese?

My love of cooking blossomed when I moved out with my fiancé. Because it is something I do every day, I quickly realized that I could either view preparing food as a fun activity or I could dread it as a chore. The latter didn’t seem very attractive to me, so I made a conscious effort to like it. Now? I genuinely enjoy it. I cook all sorts of things, ranging from vegetarian dishes for me, and meat dishes for my fiancé.

Here’s how I transformed my mindset:

  • I started thinking of each step in the cooking process as being a cozy and meditative activity. Cooking is very hygge, for those of you familiar with Danish culture.
  • I acknowledged the important role that food plays in my relationship with my fiancé. Performing acts of service is one of our major love languages, and by cooking wholesome meals I’m helping him to feel loved. Every night we linger over a tasty dish, often spending an hour or more chatting while we devour it.
  • I realized how privileged I am to have good food to eat, and the opportunity to take charge of our health. While we have “cheat” days about once a week, my fiance and I primarily eat fresh vegetables and whole foods as opposed to processed junk.
  • I figured out ways to make cooking easier. While I enjoy cooking, I know that I have my limits–I only cook what I perceive as being low-hassle, such as meals that can be prepared in thirty minutes or less. I’m also a huge advocate of meal planning. I take into consideration our schedules and what ingredients we already have on hand, then decide what we are going to eat that week. This means that throughout the week, I know I have what I need to prepare delicious and easy meals. This also means that I save money at the store, and do not waste as much food (which is particularly important if you purchase things like produce or meat). Maybe one day I’ll post a sample meal plan!
  • My fiancé and I regularly discuss the importance of balancing household duties. We both work full-time jobs, and acknowledge that our spare time is equally as valuable regardless of our gender or who earns more. When I cook dinner, he generally washes the dishes. When I wax the furniture, he scrubs the shower. When you don’t feel pressured to do things, or resentful that the other isn’t, it allows you to find joy in the activity.
  • I ask myself, “How else would I be spending my time anyway?” Since I’m not currently a mother, the answer is that I’d be playing a video game, binging Netflix, or scrolling on social media. While these activities are fine in moderation, I believe that experiences such as cooking are healthier and more fulfilling than anything involving a screen. 

Do you enjoy cooking? Why or why not?

Also, I’d love to know your favorite food! I’m always looking for ideas to spice up our meal plan.

Peace and love,

Paige E.

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