It’s not irrational, but it’s not final, either. Your cooking anxiety may be conquered!
There’s a difference between a dislike of cooking and anxiety over doing it. If you don’t like to cook, no big deal, you just don’t (assuming you have that freedom). But if you have kitchen anxiety, you may desperately want to cook but for one reason or another you simply have zero confidence. Some people are just too easily overwhelmed, it’s not their fault. But the truth is even the most experienced kitchen veterans can get nervous from time to time when they’re under pressure or trying something completely different. If you are of the easily rattled variety, you are in good company, and it’s time to join them as people who overcame their fears for the greater good. What’s more important than feeding people?
The easiest rule of thumb to help make you comfortable is to just keep it simple. You know you don’t need to invest hours to prepare and cook a tasty meal. Start slow, bake something or make sandwiches – just get yourself accustomed to being busy in the kitchen. Once you’ve got a handle on things and have established a bit of a comfort zone, take on an easy recipe. For starters, pick one that is less than five ingredients. It will be additionally helpful if you know the ingredients pretty well, so you know what to expect. The idea is to take on something that is easily manageable for the most part, so you can move on from there.
You will gain much by learning from your mistakes. Embrace them, make them part of your experiences that help you grow. Enter the kitchen with good cheer and optimism. Graduate to all-new recipes, perhaps even ones that have always intimidated you. If possible, experiment on your own time and not with meals you prepare for people (Not yet, anyway). This way you aren’t disappointing any hungry mouths in the possible case of a recipe gone awry. On the other hand, if your work is a huge success, simply reheat it for lunch and dinner!
Just as in any endeavor much of your success depends on preparation. Make yourself very familiar with the recipe you are going to take on. Look it over a number of times, to ensure there will be absolutely no uncertainty – or surprises. If necessary, take some notes. You can never be too prepared. Have every ingredient that is called for on-hand and ready to go. You may need to cut veggies and measure ingredients ahead of time to prevent any unforeseen delays. You want to be so fully prepared that there is practically no room for error.
While you’re at all of this prep work, why not make it fun? Invite a friend over to help. Maybe you can find the time to join a cooking class and meet some like-minded folk, or perhaps you already have friends that would simply love to help out. Having someone who is supportive around will help quell nearly any anxieties you may have. Never underestimate the positive influence of a friend. Cook a new recipe with the help of a buddy and next time you’ll just be that much more confident about undertaking the same recipe on your own.
There are also ways to ensure quality. You’ve taken measures to be successful, but not over-cooking something is an achievement much different than actually creating a delicious meal that will melt in the mouth of an appreciative recipient. When buying veggies for instance, take your time and pick out the most fresh and ripe. You know what difference freshness makes! Take a tomato for instance – a nice ripe red slice is a treat unto itself! The results of course will vary when using out-of-season or not-so-fresh fruit – it’s a disservice to the taste and appearance of a meal! That‘s a little trick of the trade – the more tasty your ingredients already are, the less work you’ll have to do, but you will reap the rewards of a culinary hero! Live the dream!