On a positive note, in the midst of this pandemic people are cooking at home more than ever. It’s a great daily habit to get into, supporting your health during COVID-19, and an all around good skill to have. What “cooking” means to each of us is very individual and definitely runs the gamut. For one person it might mean opening cans, thawing frozen foods or adding fresh vegetables to an already prepared meal. To someone else it might include mise en place and an elaborate multi-course spread. Wherever you fall along that line – “good on you!” Start where you are. Cooking is a skill that takes time and patience.
Trying a new recipe is a great way to improve and expand your cooking skills. Pull out that cookbook you got for Christmas in 2006 or dig into the internet on a site like Pinterest and explore. Once you find a recipe that grabs your attention, safely procure your ingredients. This might mean a trip to your local grocery (with social distancing, of course) or ordering online. We all know that shopping right now can be hit or miss, so you might not find all the ingredients that you need. And that’s ok!
A great cooking skill to learn is improvisation. Unless you are baking, most recipes are pretty flexible. Can’t find the exact ingredient? Try something else.
- Can’t find kale – look for something else green – what about chard, collards, or mustard greens
- Can’t find garlic – try garlic powder or use onions
- Can’t find black pepper – leave it out or find another spice and add it in, chili flakes or cayenne?
- Can’t find potato – how about sweet potato, parsnips, or cauliflower
- Can’t find chicken – use fish or beef instead
- Can’t find fresh tomato – use canned diced tomato, tomato sauce, or marinara
Take a chance! It might not turn into the exact meal it was supposed to be, but see how it goes. Maybe it will be the best meal you’ve ever made, or maybe the worst, but you will learn to play with ingredients in the process. And if it’s awful… please support a local restaurant and order delivery, they need the love right now.