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Why you hate cooking (and what to do about it)

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Cooking can definitely be a chore, but if you absolutely hate cooking there’s definitely something you can do about it.  Read on for the 10 reasons you might hate cooking, and what you can do to solve those problems! 

frustrated woman with pan and apron with text overlay why you hate cooking and what to do about it

The other day I was chopping cilantro and basking in it’s wonderful smell, and I started pondering WHY people hate cooking. 

frustrated woman stirring a pot in kitchen with text overlay why you hate cooking and what you can do about it

Now, I’m not going to say that every time I’m in the kitchen is butterflies and rainbows, but in general, cooking is a positive experience for me.  I absolutely love the smell that fills the air when I chop fresh herbs, the sizzle of the skillet when you saute onions or sear a steak, the squoosh of perfectly kneaded bread dough, the awe of watching cream or egg whites get whipped up. 

…now this isn’t meant to be a judgment episode.  I get that it’s not everyone’s thing, but I DO want to help you like it more, especially since it’s a chore that most of us can’t escape at least some of the time. 

The thing I’ve noticed is that when people say they hate “cooking” they usually aren’t talking about cooking at all.  They usually say something like “I hate cooking, my kids are so picky…” or “I hate cooking, there’s always so many dishes…” or I just hate “meal planning, it never ends…”

So a LOT of people can relate to hating cooking, but most people actually hate things that they feel go along with cooking. 

Another thing I’ve noticed is that some people say that they hate cooking, but they never stop to figure out what exactly it is that they hate and troubleshoot the problem. 

9 times out of 10 your cooking woes are solvable problems! …and when you solve the problems you will feel smart and empowered in the kitchen (instead of frustrated and stuck…) so that’s what I’m going to do in this episode.  

I’m actually going to piggyback off of another post from scary mommy titled “10 reasons why I hate cooking for my family.”  In the article the writer states all the reasons cooking for her family is the worst.  I’m going to assume that if these are problems for her, they might be problems for you, and even if they aren’t, hopefully as you listen to me break down these issues you’ll be able to troubleshoot your own and find some solutions that do work.  

10 reasons you hate cooking (and what you can do about it!)

So let’s dive into reason number 1.  “Everyone wants to eat every night.”  I love this reason.  Feeding a family every day is exhausting work.  Not only does everyone want to eat everyday, they want to eat 3 meals and endless snacks every day.  Cooking can be monotonous even if you like it.  My biggest advice for this is to batch your work as much as possible.  Just because everyone wants to eat everyday, doesn’t mean you have to cook every day.  Make big batches of things and freeze them, try no-cook meals, or take turns cooking with a spouse or older child. 

Reason number 2. “It’s time-consuming” while cooking can definitely be time-consuming, I learned early on that I set my boundaries when it comes to cooking, and I don’t let it be any more time-consuming than necessary.  You get to do the same.  If chopping is taking too long, sharpen your knife, practice your knife skills, or outsource your chopping to the grocery store.  If it’s cooking the meat, buy a rotisserie chicken or frozen shredded chicken.  There are loads of shortcuts you can take without compromising the health or quality of your food, you just have to find them. 

Reason number 3. “It’s boring” …now I’m not exactly sure I can agree with this one, but there definitely are cooking tasks that are tedious.  Most of the tedious tasks are chopping to make this better I suggest batch prepping.  Don’t chop onions every day, chop all your onions for the week at once.  It doesn’t stop the boring, but it does get the most boring tasks done in one fell swoop.  Turn on a podcast or your favorite jams, get it done, and enjoy fast and non-boring cooking the rest of the week with the prep tasks done! 

Reason number 4. “It’s messy”  This is probably the complaint I hear the most, and another issue that meal prep and ingredient prep solves.  If you chop onions every day, that means you will be cleaning your knife and cutting board every day.  If you prep well you can chop all of your onions in one day and you don’t even have to get your knife or getting board on the day you actually cook (or assemble) Also, remember you set the boundaries in your kitchen.  If a certain task is too messy, you may want to find a way to stop doing it by buying something pre-made or choosing different recipes. 

Reason number 5. “It’s stressful” This is definitely a complaint I hear a lot, but one that will be harder for me to solve for you, but you can work to solve it yourself.  The reason I can’t solve it is because I don’t know the reason for your stress.  Are you stressed because your kids are at your feet? Stressed because you feel like you aren’t good at cooking and you’re going to mess it up and waste money? Stressed because you feel like people are hungry and waiting on you?  If you feel stressed in the kitchen regularly I urge you to try to be extra mindful next time you are cooking and try to pinpoint the triggers for your stress.  Once you know your triggers try to come up with solutions to minimize those triggers so the kitchen is a more pleasant place to be. 

Reason number 6. “It’s hard” …this is another one that I am not sure I can get behind, cooking takes practice but with a well-written recipe it shouldn’t be hard.  There’s bound to be some failures along the way, but each of those failures will help you learn to not make that mistake again.  I have definitely learned from experience that I can’t add cornstarch to hot liquids.  I’ve also learned that a rice cooker is the only way I can consistently make good rice.  If there is something that seems confusing or difficult, there are so many free resources available to teach you exactly what to do.  Youtube is your oyster 😉

Reason number 7. “No one eats it anway” …I’m not sure I should even touch on this one because this is a completely separate problem from cooking.  I will drop a link to my episode about feeding kids, and remind you that your responsibility is to provide, their responsibility is to choose whether or not they eat.  My kids ignore (or even complain about) many meals that I make, and it doesn’t bother me one bit.  It’s a mindset shift for sure, but if you can stop defining the success of your meal by whether or not people like it you will find a lot more peace at the dinner table. 

Reason number 8. “There are always dishes” …okay, the author might be right on this one, but there don’t have to be a TON of dishes.  Meal prep drastically reduces the number of dishes you use.  Get in the habit of having your kids put their own dishes in the dishwasher every night, and it won’t be too bad. 

Reason number 9. “Food prep takes a lot of time” …I think this is true for a lot of people, but in reality I think a lot of us overcomplicate it.  We can have the same meals we know and love over and over, we can buy the same ingredients at the grocery store, we can embrace the monotony for weeknight cooking and have fun when we have more time.  The more you do a task, the more automatic (and faster) it becomes.  The more we learn to work smarter and not harder in the kitchen, the less time cooking takes.  Yes, it’s inevitable that cooking will take some time, but it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. 

Reason number 10. “Leftovers”  Leftovers do have a bad reputation, but they really don’t have to! Listen to this episode about managing leftovers and learn to use your leftovers to work smarter, not harder in the kitchen, like we just talked about. 

Alright my friends, there you have it…was the reason you hate cooking on the list?  Can you come up with some solutions to lessen the burden of cooking in your life?  Is there anything you actually do like about cooking? 

Next time on the podcast is episode number 100!!! I can’t believe it! To celebrate, I’m going to be sharing the top lessons learned in the last 100 episodes and almost 3 years of the planned, prepped, and productive podcast.  I can’t wait to celebrate with you! 

Until next time, happy planning! 

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