There is no faster way to squelch creativity than to order someone to be imaginative. Same goes for fun. So if I say “have fun” is a rule, don’t take it as a directive. Listing it among the 10 rules for meal preparation success is just a reminder that making the process fun is almost as important as getting nutrition from food.
It's fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That's what human life is all about-enjoying things. Julia Child
There are things we all have to do in life that aren’t enjoyable. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do those things. But cooking and baking shouldn't be in that category.
Cooking can be work, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun too. Whether work means “I have to get to work – ugh” or “I had a great time working it out” is really about attitude. What brings joy is personal; there is no formula or set of directions for how to make cooking (and baking) fun for you.
Here are just a few suggestions for how to bring fun into your cooking life:
Find a Recipe You’d Love to Try
If the cooking process is not yet fun for you, maybe it’s because you don’t yet have recipes that make you smile at the prospect of eating the results. Ask your mom or dad for favorite dishes they make, buy a cookbook with mouthwatering pictures and easy-to-follow directions, or find a food blogger who is on your wavelength. There are many ways to identify dishes that would be a joy to eat, as well as to make.
Cook to Music
French singers – Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf and Georges Moustaki - do it for me, as do the Chieftains, Aretha, and Rebecca Loebe, among others. Turn up whatever sounds take you to your “cooking place.”
Cook with Friends and Family
Whether it is one BFF, a group of raucous former roommates, a parent or a sister/brother, find folks you can enjoy cooking with and go to town. It always helps if someone knows the basics, but no matter how much they know; invite them to the cooking party.
Take a Cooking Class
Maybe a class at a cooking school you’ve heard about or a class focused on a particular dish would suit your fancy. Living Social, Groupon, and similar sites sometimes offer deals on short courses that may be just the right combination of fun and instruction to get you going.
Do a Themed Potluck with Recipes Shared at the End
It may not provide food for a weekend, but the memories will keep you inspired. The theme doesn’t have to be fancy and the contributions need not be complex. The fun is in who comes, what dishes they bring , and the new ideas you’ll get for recipes to make later on your own.
Set up a Dinner Club
I’ve come across several variations on the dinner club idea. One group in my neighborhood gets together (with families) once a month for a dinner prepared by one member family. They’ve made it a tradition that has gone on for years and friendships have built while food is shared. Whether one member/team takes on the entire dinner or it is a regular potluck, the dinner club model works for singles or couples too.
These ideas are not permanent solutions if you are bound and determined not to enjoy yourself. But if even Ebenezer Scrooge could get in the Christmas mood, I’m betting that even the most cynical, scowling, I-don’t-cook-and-you-can’t-make-me person can learn to smile while preparing a lip-smacking-good dinner. It’s just attitude adjustment, really.