Coming out of winter, I found I’d lost my inspiration for cooking a little bit. Cold snow is still on the ground and soups and stews just aren’t cutting it. Plus, traditional spring fruits and veggies are of marginal quality in the store. And while cooking outdoors is always fun, it’s challenging in 20 degree weather. Ever felt that way? I empathize…to solve it, just step outside.
Back to Nature-Inspiration for Cooking
I am one that has always been inspired in every aspect of life by nature and the time I spend outdoors. And that applies to foods we enjoy cooking. Maybe it’s that good food has always been an integral part of an outdoor lifestyle. We cook a menu to correspond to what’s planned, enhancing the experience. Hearty soups for a day of skiing, Dutch oven chicken, potatoes, and cobbler for a family camp-out, fresh seafood for a day of fishing. It’s a multi-sensory blended experience.
I can tell when I’ve spent too much time indoors working or fussing around with the details of life. Our daily menu goes flat. It was a trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon for spring break that finally broke the cooking, doldrums. Staring out at the ocean, listening to waves crash on the shore, feeling coastal mist on my face, and tasting fresh Dungeness crab re-awakened the hibernating chef. The desire to cook, (more specifically gobs of seafood and blackberry cobbler) flooded back as senses were awakened. I’m cooking now baby!
Finding your inspiration for cooking
What moves you? Maybe it’s not the outdoors, but something like time spent with friends and family. Or perhaps visits to favorite places, or perusing photos of days gone by. The point is, go to those motivators, and engage your senses and emotions to get creative cooking juices flowing.
Maybe there’s a skill you’ve always wanted to learn that would bust you out of a cooking rut. I’d be at least $100 richer if I had a quarter for every time someone expresses a desire to expand their cooking horizons to Dutch oven, smoking and grilling.
If that’s your case, then take the time to learn. There are so many sites out there, including Fresh Baked Alaska, that beginners can learn the basics on with simple recipes and techniques. Take this one for example for Dutch oven Blueberry Cobbler or check out Cherry Crisp. It doesn’t get much easier than these. To quote the famous shoe slogan: Just Do It!
To summarize, start with a walk outdoors in fresh air somewhere beautiful to activate your senses. Find foods they are leading you to. Then seek to broaden your cooking horizons. Try new flavors, ingredients or ethnic foods. Cook outside and add those wild, smokey flavors to your menu. Last but not least, take the time to savor the recipe experience as a whole…I promise, you’ll get your inspiration for cooking back in no time at all.