Create the right environment for cooking success
To have the greatest success in the kitchen you need to have the right environment. You can’t cook with a messy space, no groceries or bent utensils. But that’s only part of the story. Read on to see how you can create the right environment for yourself by having the right people, the right mindset and the right equipment that will lead to your ultimate cooking success.
Right Environment = Right People
Having the right people in your corner always makes things easier because you have people who encourage you. That’s why professional athletes have coaches – to help them learn but to motivate and encourage them as well. And it’s no different in the kitchen. If you want to start cooking your own meals each night you need to hang out with the right kind of people. If all your friends grab takeaway or love frozen meals then you’ll grab the same things and become discouraged that you’re not achieving your goals.
It’s not just about having people around you who actually cook. It’s also about having people around you who have the right attitude. If the people around you are telling you that you’re a terrible cook and you’ll never be able to do it then they will start to influence your thinking and you’ll start listening to them. Even if these are people who cook themselves they still might think badly of you.
Assess the people around you
There’s a famous quote that says you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Wouldn’t it be nice if those 5 people actually believed you could cook and encouraged you to do just that? Take a minute and think about it: do you have these kind of people around you? If you’re not sure, start a few conversations about cooking with others and take note of who cooks and who doesn’t, and more importantly, who encourages you to do it too.
If you discover that the people around you aren’t the right people to help you create the right environment for cooking then don’t stress. You can find the right attitude and encouragement through online blogs like Spiced Anecdotes. I’m here for you 24/7 and I’m rooting for you! I know you can do it, cause if I did it then you can too. And if you need more help there’s also some interesting podcasts and TV cooking shows to help motivate you too.
I can tell you from experience that the right people make all the difference. I wasn’t encouraged to cook at home when I was younger nor when I first moved out of home. It wasn’t until I met my husband that things took a turn for the better. He really enjoyed fresh foods and was willing to support me as I learnt to cook. He was willing to eat the slightly burnt, the overcooked and the bland foods I made until I flourished. Because of his encouragement I now make amazing meals 90% of the time (yes, I have my bad days too – like the bland spaghetti we had last night).
Go find the right people
Do you have someone like that in your life? Do you have someone that thinks you’re awesome and can see the potential in you? If not, go find someone who’ll eat your early attempts and tell you the truth about them while encouraging you to keep going. Go find someone who thinks you’re awesome and wants you to succeed no matter the hiccups you’re having now. Trust me, it is guaranteed to make a difference!
Right Environment = Right Mindset
While the first step is always to have someone around you who will encourage you, the second step is to encourage yourself. It can be hard to start something new and often we can criticise ourselves harshly and essentially shoot ourselves in the foot even before we begin. Therefore, having someone else tell us we can do it first helps us to realise that we can do it too.
Make a pledge
And realising you can do it too means you can make a pledge to yourself about what your goals and intentions are. Stop and think about it for a moment. What are you actually trying to do here?
- Learning to cook from scratch?
- Cooking healthy meals?
- Wanting to cooking every night?
- Learning new cooking skills?
- Cooking for a family?
- Trying to make better use of your time?
Whatever it is you are doing, you need to make a pledge and say it out loud and tell someone else about it. My pledge was this:
“I will cook every night from Monday-Friday for myself and my husband.”
I had my husband to keep me accountable to that pledge. Maybe you have a flatmate, friend or parent who will keep you accountable. By telling someone else you make it more real and you look bad if you don’t do it. So make the pledge then tell someone. This is non-negotiable.
Essentially the pledge is all about making sure you have the right mindset. I think mindset is so important to becoming the cook you want to be that I reshuffled the blog and created an entire section of articles related to having the right mindset (link). Check out the articles in that section if you’re struggling so you can find some extra ideas on how to motivate yourself.
Hang the pledge where you will see it often
A really great idea I saw recently was to hang your pledge close to where you work – so for us we’d hang it in the kitchen because we want to cook. Paste it on the front of the fridge, on the pantry doors, or wherever you will see it when you’re in the kitchen. Each time you see it you’ll be reminded of what you’re trying to do and be able to find the right mindset to get started.
Mindset is crucial to your success because if you don’t believe you can do it, the you won’t be able to. So make that pledge now and turn your mind around, because cooking for yourself and your family is worth the time and energy.
Right Environment = Right Equipment
So far I’ve really only talked about the right environment being the mental environment. Getting your thinking right is the hardest part, but there does come a time when the actual physical surroundings need to be right as well.
And in the kitchen it means that we need some basic knowledge and some basic equipment to get us started. For instance, there’s no point in being really enthusiastic about cooking a lamb roast when you don’t have an oven. Without the oven you won’t get a real proper lamb roast so you’ll be discouraged that the meal didn’t turn out as hoped. Don’t set yourself up for failure by forgetting to have the basic equipment and knowledge on hand.
To ensure you stay motivated you need to make sure you have certain equipment on hand before you begin. By equipment I mean both the cooking tools (utensils) as well as some basic ingredients. The following posts will get you started:
- Basic stock items for your fridge and freezer.
- Basic stock items for your pantry.
- 26 essential tools for setting up a kitchen.
- Same same but different: fresh vs frozen vegetables.
There’s also some basic knowledge that will help you get started too. These posts will help you learn everything from recipes and ingredients to planning your time and cleaning:
- How to keep your kitchen clean even if you’re not good at cleaning.
- Your 3 part plan to improving your cooking skills.
- 5 ways to get more time in your day to cook.
- How to cook vs what to cook
- Basic food storage rules.
In conclusion I just want to say that there’s more to cooking than just heating up some food. Before you even get there you need to have the right environment, so that means you have the right people, the right mindset and the right equipment ready. These are the keys to success and without them you will never be able to achieve what you set out to achieve.
So take a few minutes and think about which of these steps you’re missing. Then follow my advice and make sure you have all 3 ready to go next time you step into the kitchen. Did it make difference? Let me know how it went in the comment or via Twitter @SpicedAnecdotes.