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04.09.2007

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beat the kitchen blahs how to make cooking more fun
by Yee-Fan Sun |
1 2
continued from page 1

4 Grow a veggie or herb garden. Thereís nothing quite as satisfying as eating food youíve picked fresh from your own garden. Not only will it taste a billion times better than what you could get a the supermarket, but hey, itís free and easily accessible too. You donít need a big backyard to grow some lovely edibles either; many veggies and herbs grow just dandy in pots, which means that as long as you can find a spot that gets a decent amount of sunshine Ė a small balcony, the front stoop, even a spot by the window Ė youíre ready to start a-growing.

5 Learn a new cuisine. One of the best ways to get over your reliance on takeout? Learn to cook your favorite foods yourself. Whether your weakness is Chinese or Thai, Indian or Japanese, get a cookbook on some world cuisine youíve always loved, but never cooked yourself. Youíll have fun shopping for exotic ingredients and learning new cooking techniques; meanwhile, after a few tries, you may soon discover that your own efforts produce food thatís even tastier than what you can get at your local cheap takeout dive.

6 Invite a friend over and get Ďem to teach you their prized dish. Some of my very favorite things to cook are things that I learned from family and friends. As handy as cookbooks can be, thereís just nothing like having an experienced cook show you the step-by-step in person. Even more importantly, the dishes we pick up from folks we know and love end up having sentimental value associated with them as well; simmering up a big pot of gumbo, for instance, always brings happy reminders of hanging out with my Louisianan friend Kim, who sadly now lives way on the other side of the continent from me.

7 Cook something the slow way. Even those of us who view cooking as a genuine passion will concede that cooking isnít all that relaxing when youíre doing it because itís 8 pm, and youíve had a horribly long day at work, and you just need to get something into the stomach before it begins to auto-digest. Being able to throw together the no-brainer, 10-minute meal is, indeed, a useful skill to acquire, but fun? Eh, not so much. To discover the joys of putting together a homecooked meal, sometimes, all you need is a little time. The next lazy Sunday that swings by your way, try something novel: make something from scratch, the nice, leisurely old-fashioned way. It could be a homemade pizza, a proper meat sauce for pasta, a rich stew, or some scrumptious baked good.

8 Start building up a cache of good cookware. Yes, decent pots, pans and knives will cost you a pretty penny, and itís easy to think itís the sort of thing you should put off until it comes time to put together a wedding registry. But having a pot that actually heats up quickly and evenly, or a knife that chops quickly and smoothly without a struggle, makes the cooking process so much more enjoyable (and in the latter case, a heck of a lot safer too). Treat yourself to one good piece of cooking equipment whenever the budget so allows, and youíll soon find yourself with a kitchen set-up that you actually look forward to using.

o

check out these related articles:
how to cook more | cooking without cookbooks | myth of the bad cook | how to eat better

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