How to Get Motivated to Cook (And Actually Start Doing It)
I’ll be 100% honest – I have to actively get motivated to cook. It’s not something I naturally love doing. I love the eating part of the process, but the cooking part? Not so much.
Thankfully when I lived in Milwaukee I had clients like Emily and Jeremy, Angie and Eric, and Massimo who’d invite me over for dinner on occasion or bring me different foods to try out (Emily you were the best in this regard).
This post is as much for getting myself motivated to cook as it is for getting you motivated to cook.
Furthermore, I have to be upfront with you, I am far from a cooking expert. Hell, I’m far from a cooking novice. However, I’ve survived this long on earth, remained healthy and fit, and have some insights for you on this whole cooking thing.
If you’re reading this, you understand the problem. It’s the reason why you aren’t actually cooking. Sandwiches, cereal, and Ramen Noodles are all too real to you, but you’re a grown up, and you’re suppose to know some basic cooking to keep yourself alive. So here you are.
Let the games begin!
Why Cooking Is Important
You know what you do every day? Eat. That’s why cooking is important.
Of course, there are other reasons why cooking is important:
- Saving money
- Eating healthier
- Impressing that girl or that guy 😉
- Keeping your kids alive
You know, things like that.
How to Get Motivated to Cook
I’m a sucker for a good documentary, so last year when a friend of mine told me about an amazing documentary series about cooking, I had to see it.
The particular episode he told me to watch involved a chef who did a large amount of his cooking outside, in the elements, with big fires. The chef showcased some of the most unique cooking methods I’d ever seen:
- He wrapped a whole fish in paper and encased it in mud then threw it on the fire so all its moisture and juices stayed inside.
- He used a cooking method called Curanto, where he cooked food in a pit with rocks that had been heated.
- He cooked chickens over a fire hanging them from strings
After watching that episode, and all the episodes before and after, I had never been so inspired to cook in my life.
What was the documentary series? Chef’s Table. The episode I’m referring to is episode 3 in season 1 with Francis Mallmann. I’d highly encourage you to check it out as your first step towards getting motivated to cook.
Of course, there was one more documentary that I have to mention that can help get you motivated to cook: Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
This one I heard about on a podcast and decided to give it a go. Wow!
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is an elegant film following Jiro Ono, a 90 year old Michelin Three Star sushi chef in Tokyo. It takes you through the process required to make the best sushi in the world and after watching, it might just inspire you to make more than mac and cheese 🙂
Lastly, The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life, a book by Tim Ferriss that I discovered a few years ago, will not only help you get motivated to cook, but also give you recipes and guidelines for actually making it happen. More on that in a bit.
Before we move on there’s an important point I want to make: You don’t have to be a Michelin Three Star Chef to cook delicious food!
All we’re aiming for right now is getting you to cook a few meals per week, to keep you and your family alive. So enjoy the learning process, be open to new ideas, and have some fun with it!
Getting motivated to cook means nothing if you don’t actually know how to start doing it.
As I mentioned before, I’m not a cooking expert. Far from it. But I do know that the key to successful cooking is the same key to seeing success in anything: Preparation.
Having the right gear, go to recipes, and knowledge about making cooking easier will help you do it consistently.
Don’t think you have time to cook? You do. Because there is always time for things we prioritize.
First of all, I could just tell you to read The 4-Hour Chef to teach you to how to cook. I loved the book, but there are 600+ pages. Instead, I’ll share some of the most beneficial portions I’ve found.
Have you ever tried cooking with just your hands and nothing else? Kind of difficult, right? Yes, yes it is. So let’s get the right gear.
Here are the basics that Tim suggests in the book, based on the recipes he provided:
- Lint-free Surgical Huck Towels
- Lodge LCC3 Logic Pre-Seasoned Combo Cooker
- PanSaver EZ Clean Multi-Use Cooking Bags/Liners
- Rada Cutlery Chef’s Dicer
- Tramontina Old Colony Stainless-Steel 6″ Meat Cleaver
- Dexa Small Grippmats (alternative: Miu Flexible Cutting Boards)
- Bialetti Aeternum 10 1/4″ Saute Pan
- OXO Good Grips 5-lb Food Scale with Pull-Out Display
- Star Peeler from Zena Swiss
- Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler
- Wilton Easy Flex 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set (alternative: Rachael Ray 3-Piece Spoonula Set)
- OXO Good Grips Locking Tongs, 12″
- Kuhn Rikon SoftEdge Slotted 12″ Spatula
- Gray Kunz Sauce Spoon
- Stainless-Steel Mixing Bowls
- Steel-Footed Wire Plate Cake Rack
- Microplane classic Zester/Grater
- Polder THM360/365 Digital In-Oven Thermometer/Timer (alternative: ThermoWorks)
- DeLonghi 380-Watt 2-Speed Hand Blender
- Breville Control Grip Immersion Blender
- Winware 24-qt Professional Aluminum Stockpot
Of course, you don’t need all of these items. However, they’ll give you one helluva start in developing your cooking arsenal. What will that do? Help you actually start cooking!
You can find recipes anywhere online these days, not to mention in books like The 4-Hour Chef which I’ve mentioned. The important part for you right now is to find an easy recipe. Something to get you started. And of course it has to be delicious!
My suggestion is to go to Yummly.com, browse around for 20-30 minutes, and save 12 recipes that you’d like to try. Remember, look for ones that have simple instructions and that are for beginners.
Next, you’re going to pick 1 recipe to try making each week for the next 12 weeks. To prepare for this, you need to do the obvious – go to the grocery store.
The Grocery Store
So you have your recipe. Well done done my friend! You’ve taken a big step. A step past only sandwiches and Ramen. A step that will undoubtedly lead to kitchen domination.
However, you aren’t there yet.
Weekly grocery store trips are a must for actually being able to cook real meals. Make these trips a ritual. Pick the same day every week to grocery shop and stick to it.
Hell, you don’t even have to go to the grocery store. You can get groceries delivered right to your door! Thank you internet.
Whatever method you choose for getting food from the store to your kitchen is up to you, but keep your fridge, freezer, and pantry stocked consistently! It’s kind of hard to cook without any food.
Remember that whole “I’m not an expert on cooking” thing? Yeah, that’s still true. So I’m not going to pretend to know everything about the actual cooking process. Here’s what I do know:
- Recipes don’t always go as planned
- You’ll make mistakes, but it’s a learning process
- You can experiment and create your own recipes
- Pay attention while you cook, or you burn EVERYTHING
- Use a Crock Pot or slow cooker… It may be considered “Cheating” but who cares? You need to eat.
Other than that, follow a recipe, and have at it!
Thanks for reading! Can you do me and thousands of other people a favor? Leave a comment below on one suggestion you have for getting motivated to cook or for how to actually do it! Or, let me know your biggest struggle with cooking. Let’s do better than Ramen!