"I am a horrible cook!"
"When I try to make something new, it always turns out awful!"
"What if I mess it up and no one likes it?"
Guess what? We have our share of "failures" too. As you can imagine, we cook A LOT! Are they all winners? No way!
Remember, all of the recipes we include on Eat REAL America have been adapted, taste-tested and must taste delicious! They must also be healthy, easy-to-prepare and affordable. In case you were wondering…not everything we try is “website worthy” and not everything makes the cut!
Here are just a few of our “failures!”:
We have actually been told many of them still look very appetizing, and we thought a few of them even tasted “OK,” but Eat REAL America recipes need to be more than just “OK”…we want them to have the flavor and “WOW factor” that our members enjoy so much!
We recently hit a streak of several “failures” in a row. Talk about frustrating! But we kept going, and the next few meals were absolutely fantastic! So, if you ever get frustrated or discouraged, remember a breakthrough is likely around the corner!
Eggs Benedict Burger with Avocado Hollandaise: intrigued by the concept of making a hollandaise with avocados, we tried this and EEK! It wasn’t terrible, but it was NOT a winner! Didn’t even come close to the typical rich and creamy hollandaise!
Spring Inspired Pot Pie: we were so disappointed…the filling was good, but the topping?! Let's just say, it resembled cardboard! UGH! We will keep trying!
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore: we expected this to be bursting with flavor after cooking low and slow in the crockpot with a wide variety of spices. While it wasn't terrible, it just wasn't as flavorful as it needed to be to make the cut. We will adjust and try again!
Guess they can’t all be winners!
Overcome the Fear!
If you have anxiety in the kitchen, it is a real fear. There is even a name for it..mageirocophobia, or the fear of cooking. You may not have mageirocophobia, but you may have a fear of trying new things in the kitchen. Unfortunately, these fears can keep us stuck in our comfort zone, with a limited rotation of meals we know our family will eat. And, they can also keep us from enjoying some truly spectacular meals, experiencing new foods and living our lives with the good health we deserve.
Believe it or not, we used to view cooking as something we had to do…we did not love it. But once we started cooking new foods and discovering the incredible flavors we had been missing, our fears disappeared and cooking was no longer a chore. It became an enjoyable (even relaxing) experience and is all worth it when the end result is an incredibly flavorful and healthy meal!
Trust us, we have been there…we know what it feels like to have anxiety about cooking or for it to feel like a burden. If this is you (or someone you know), we know it can be very frustrating — we are here to help!
Why is cooking important?
- Cooking can change your life! There is more and more evidence that cooking your own meals…using REAL ingredients…is absolutely critical to good health.
- Your meals will taste better and become more enjoyable!
- Believe it or not, you can also save money and time!
- You will become a mindful eater. According to one Eat REAL America member, “Now, I am in control of the food and the food is not controlling me. It helps us pay attention to what we are eating.”
Take Small steps…
No doubt about it, there are many “failed” meals when you continually try new things. But, it’s these failures that make us better and more confident in the kitchen! The best way to face your fear is to try. If fear wins, nothing happens and nothing changes. The great thing is that you don’t have to have it all figured out…you just need to be bold enough to start. Take one very small step at a time.
Will there be flops, failures and mistakes? Absolutely! But you will also experience many successes along the way and you will experience new tastes that will amaze you!
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Be open-minded. Avoid thinking that cooking is a burden and a chore. Realize it is an important part of being healthy…and as the quality of our meals improve, the time spent preparing these meals becomes more enjoyable.
- Don’t stress. Start with the right recipe. Pick something that is simple and, if you are feeding picky eaters, choose a recipe that might be a healthier version of a meal that is “within their comfort zone.”
- Allow enough time. This will help reduce stress. You may be able to make your stand-by spaghetti recipe in 15 minutes with your eyes closed, but a new recipe may take a little longer. Keep in mind, the result will be well worth it!
- Before you cook…read through the entire recipe a few times to really understand what you will be doing. Don’t let it overwhelm you, but help you visualize how it will go. You might even get all the ingredients ready, such as prepping and cutting the vegetables beforehand, which can make the process even easier.
- Enlist help in the kitchen. Don't be afraid to delegate some of the chopping to teenagers or a spouse. The time together in the kitchen is bound to turn up a great conversation you may never have otherwise had, let alone teach your kids invaluable life-skills.
- Don’t be afraid to substitute! It may seem intimidating at first, but as you gain more confidence, don’t hesitate to substitute ingredients. If you don’t want to use capers, use olives. If you are not crazy about kale, try spinach. Not a fan of cilantro? Chances are, you can leave it out, or use a different fresh herb. Feel free to be creative…it will help build confidence!
- Keep trying! If at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up! If that new recipe isn’t a hit, understand why and try again. Don’t fall into the trap of reverting back to your stand-by recipe and giving up on new creations.
In the past month, at least two of our meal ideas are examples of transforming "failures" into successes! The Pizza-Inspired Chicken Skillet and the One-Pan Fish Shakshuka both fell short of being "website worthy" the first time we made them. We made some adjustments, kept trying and they both ended up being meals we were super-excited to share with all of you!
Is fear holding you back in the kitchen?
Or, have you had some breakthroughs recently?
Please tell us your stories!
“Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and, above all, have fun!”
- Julia Child