How to Become the Next Giada or Die Trying

Okay guys. Before we jump into this, I need to disclose something: I am not a chef. Not even close. I once considered cooking a hobby that I didn’t have time for. My specialties included half-assed salads and mac and cheese from the box. (Perfect combo, right?!) 

When people say "Oh man, cooking is so therapeutic for me" or "Whenever I'm stressed, I bake," I just think....mmmmm no that doesn't hit home. Happy for them, don't get me wrong, but I'm just someone who likes efficiency and the quicker I can cook, the sooner I can eat. YUM!

Over the past year, I have transformed from an emergency-only food preparer to a kinda amazing home cook. And let me tell you, cooking is still not my favorite thing to do. Not by a long shot.

So if you're me a year ago, you probably don't cook very often because people who don't truly enjoy cooking try to avoid it. I hear ya! But listen up. Even though it's not your favorite thing in the world, you gotta do it anyway. It's really important for a couple of reasons:

#1 Cooking your own food is SO MUCH BETTER for you health-wise than eating out. Restaurants pour salt, sugar, and butter into literally every dish and it's impossible to escape. Even if you use these items in your recipes, I promise you it will be drastically less than you eat when you go out. You will lose weight from cooking your food AND you will feel better. no.questions.asked. 

#2 Cooking your own food is better on your wallet!! In NYC, people are spending between $500-600 a month just eating out. Think about how much you can save if you cut that in half! I feel so rich now that I cook most of my meals and have been able to go on so many more trips because of it. What could YOU do with that extra cash? Go on a trip? Get a monthly massage? Sign me up!

Alright, enough soap boxing. If the cooking gene somehow didn't make its way into your XX chromosomes, what can you do to get started?

Pace Yourself

If you're new to cooking, it's going to take some time to figure your way around your kitchen! Don’t try to be the hero or cook out of your league. Start with simple recipes and build your skill-set up over time!

Pro-Tip: Read the recipes all the way through before starting so you know how much time you'll actually have to devote - a lot of recipes don't add in their prep to the cooking time! We're all busy and don't have hours to cook so I can’t stress that enough. 

Prepare Yourself & Your Food

If you're cooking dinner and you really don't want to be doing it, you're food is going to come out badly. You are what you eat kinda thing. So make this fun for yourself! Pour yourself a glass of wine and put on some happy, dancy playlist. Maybe a podcast if you're the intellectual type. Maybe some trashy TV if you're that good at double-tasking (PS: I'm not!). 

Pro-Tip: Prep all of your ingredients before the cooking process begins. Wash and chop all your vegetables, preheat the oven, measure out spices, season the meat, etc. The idea here is that once you start the cooking process, things can get stressful pretty quickly if you don’t feel organized or ready for the next step. If you prep everything before you start, all you have to worry about is adding in ingredients at the right times! Cha-Ching! 

Love Yourself + Keep At It

Spoiler Alert: You're not going to be great at this straight out of the gate. Cooking, like every life skill (managing a budget, relationships, annoying your siblings) takes practice. You'll get better and better as time goes on so KEEP.THE.FAITH. 

Celebrate the wins! Even if things don’t come out EXACTLY like the picture or taste as you envisioned, find 3 things that you liked about what you cooked and focus on the good. Be kind to yourself.