I normally do not enjoy cooking and preparing meals every night. Ed and I enjoy going out to dinner but since mid-March, that came to an abrupt halt and cooking at home every night became “a thing”.
I had to get with the program and find ways to learn the pleasures of cooking meals that would not only sustain us, but be delicious. Or I could rely on takeout that was causing us to gain weight and that often times didn’t even taste good.
Over the summer, it seems we will still be staying at home with only an occasional night out at restaurants with outdoor seating, so cooking meals every night will continue.
So what is a girl to do that doesn’t like to cook? Find ways to make it enjoyable is what. That is what I have been trying to do and in the process, I find in a small way that I am…… turning into a foodie.
I looked up the definition of a “foodie” just to be sure. A foodie can be defined as someone with a keen interest in food rather than being a connoisseur. A foodie is just as likely to be interested in food truck fare as they are in bouillabaisse. Viewed another way, they have the adventurous spirit of a wine geek as opposed to the refinement of a wine connoisseur.
A foodie can also be defined as that person who has to take a deep breath to calm their excitement before entering a store like William Sonoma and being immersed in all things cooking… to browse through the cookbooks and gadgets, pointing out “have it, have it… have it… ooh! Need it!”
Yes, these definitions describe my growing interest in food the past few months. Finding meal inspiration, recipes, preparation methods for – simple food, prepared deliciously and seasoned just right. The kind of food that makes a memory in your mind as the most delicious thing you have ever eaten.
Back in April, I started to find ways to enjoy preparing a meal every night. I gathered my recipe box and my iPad, where I can easily read food and recipe blogs and even bought a few cooking magazines at the supermarket.
I organized my kitchen tools and gadgets, placing the ones I use the most in their own drawer for ease of use. And while I was at it, I couldn’t neglect the decorator in me and lined the drawers and wood tray with wipeable gift wrap.
Having the right tools as I prepare a meal gives me that feeling you get when you walk into a William Sonoma or gourmet food store and see the incredible array of cooking implements. It is hard to not be inspired to want to cook better, armed with the best tools to whip up almost any dish.
My Kitchen Tools That Make Me Feel Like Cooking
- Mini Strainer– Having one of these little cup size strainers comes in very handy when working with small amounts of foods where it would be overkill to use a regular size strainer/colander.
- Spreaders – I have had these white ceramic handled spreaders for years. I use them for anything that needs to be spread and when entertaining. If I ever need to buy new ones, these spreaders made by French Bull are eye-catching.
- Immersion Blender – I wrote about this blender in a recent Style Scouting post. It is my favorite of all my tools. I make a lot of soup and this allows me to blend a chunky texture soup to a creamy texture right in the pot it is cooking in. No need to transfer to a standalone counter style blender.
- Lemon Juicer – I don’t know how I lived without this handheld lemon/lime juicer. It was in ab “attendees swag bag” I received from a Martha Steward event in NYC I attended a few years ago.
- Herb Snips- These really aren’t officially a “kitchen tool, but I made them into one as they are the perfect size to snips herbs from a garden.
- Herb Chopping Shears – These shears are the newest addition to my kitchen tools. After snipping herbs from the garden with the above mentioned herb snips and bringing them into the kitchen, these shears make fast work of chopping the herbs right into whatever I am making.
- Microplaner – I bought this back when we still lived in Pennsylvania. It is an Ina Garten recommended tool. I use it to finely grate citrus peels and hard cheeses.
- Chef’s Knife & Knife Sharpener– I learned how to use a chef knife by chance when walking through Bloomingdales one morning about 20 years ago. A Wüsthof knife rep was doing a cooking demo and showing how to cut with a chef’s knife. I was so happy to learn how to use a knife the right way. It makes food prep a whole lot easier. This Knife Skills Guide provides a good overview of the requisite knife skills.
- White Fluted Ramekins – I like using small 1 – 2 oz. ramekins to hold measured ingredients.
- Wooden Spoons – Mine are getting old. I can usually find basic ones at HomeGoods, but I am thinking about splurging on this set.
- Mini Food Chopper – My brother gave me this little chopper over 30 years ago. It may be yellowed with age, but is still going strong. I use it to chop nuts, carrots and other tough to chop food as well as grind coarse ingredients to a fine texture.
And I can’t forget…
- Stemless Wine Glasses – With a glass of red wine in hand, I feel elegantly French while I prepare, chop, simmer, grill or sauté. :-)
Food Prep on a Kitchen Island
Since adding this small, but very needed island to my small kitchen has made a big difference in the way I can prepare food.
Just last week I restyled the cart/island so I feel like I am a chef in a popular bistro. I will share what I did with it next week. It looks a little different from the above photo.
Before March, I had never been that interested in food, except for finding good recipes for entertaining. Most of these I have gotten from friends and family and not from cookbooks or watching the Food Network.
The only real “foodie” thing I have ever done is enjoy Ina Garten and her cookbooks, not only for the simple recipes, but also for her Hamptons lifestyle.
2 More Ways I Have Found To Enjoy Cooking
- Having fresh herbs and a small veggie garden is something we created when we moved to the lake. It is nice to be able to add fresh herbs to everything I make and pick a vegetable to prepare and eat right away.
- When Ed and I were in France last fall, I bought some French pantry staples to bring home. My two favorites are this Mustard and this Sea salt. Buying these made me feel a little like Ina with her Metro-shelf lined pantry filled with gourmet brands and condiments.
As the saying goes…
Having the right tool, makes any job easier.
Making use of the right kitchen tools, I am starting to feel more like a foodie and can say with each passing day, I am getting into it. No worries though – DIY and Decorating will always be my “main thing”. :-)
What cooking tools do you use on a daily basis that make cooking more enjoyable for you instead of a chore?