Discovering your Inner Foodie
About seven years ago, my husband officially dubbed me a “foodie.” It took me by surprise at first, but when I let the idea sink in, it felt right. When I think back on how I came to this point in time, I realized it didn’t happen overnight. It took years ... many years.
Interestingly enough, it came at a time when I felt more free. In my case, most of the kids were off at college and I was working from home while homeschooling our youngest. I had also made the decision to be 100 percent organic – or as close as possible. Being a foodie can happen at any age or season of life. But one thing I learned is, your “inner foodie” needs to be cultivated.
As a child, I started cooking with my brother out of necessity. Our family had a small farm as a lifestyle choice, yet both of our parents had full-time jobs elsewhere. In order to get the farm chores done before dark, my brother and I had to cook dinner early before our parents got home.
Our mom would leave us instructions on what to make and prepped some of the food in advance. But before long, my brother and I started modifying the instructions. We wanted to try different tastes and techniques. And so … two home cooks were born. So whether you’re new to cooking, somewhere in the middle or a bona fide foodie already, here’s how you can develop and grow your “inner foodie.”
It starts with a decision
The answer is to just start ... where you’re at. Whatever your age, circumstance or skill level, just decide that cooking is an important life skill that’s worth cultivating your entire life. I find that the healthiest homes have either great cooks or great cooks in training. Cooking is a life skill that yields one of the greatest dividends of all - Health! As my Granny would say: “Without your health, you have nothing.” So, start … and then keep on cooking.
Tools of the trade
Like any activity, you need to make sure you have the basic tools in order to succeed. First, cookbooks ... no matter your level of cooking skill, have a variety of them to choose from. I have everything from an old 1957 Betty Crocker cook book to several vegetarian, seafood, Paleo, Gluten-Free and farmers’ favorites cook books. Also, be sure to save recipes from magazines, blogs or websites that cater to your style and experience level. Oh, let’s not forget about TV cooking shows either! There’s something for every style, mood and taste bud.
Next, kitchen tools. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of fancy gadgets, just a few high quality ones. Find a set of commercial grade pots and pans (NO Teflon!) in your price range. You can find really good bargains out there in the outlet stores, on internet sites and even garage sales. A decent set of knives is next. And lastly, a brand name food processor or high speed blender, like a Vitamix®, is priceless, as it makes prep time fast and easy. Anything else is up to you.
Find other foodies
A great piece of advice I heard at a business conference years ago was that whatever you want to do in life, find other like-minded people. For me, it started by finding a local Farmers’ Market. That’s where serious foodies go. Chatting with the vendors there is awesome. They have great recommendations and you get to build trust with them over time. Become a regular at their stand and you’ll be treated like gold.
Finding “Foodie Towns” or foodie sections of a large city is another way. Restaurants that care about food sourcing are really popular as are farm to table places. They proudly display their sources, use clean ingredients, and work with you if you have food sensitivities or allergies.
Cooking classes are another way. Look for advertisements in places like Farmers’ Markets, grocery, kitchen and health food stores. Community colleges, tech and cooking schools are other places to look.
View cooking as art
Have you ever felt that cooking was a drudgery and a “time suck”? I know I have in the past. The way I grew beyond that kind of bad thinking was to view cooking as art instead! Art is beautiful, desirable and enjoyable. Cooking can be that too, if you let yourself be creative with it.
Pass it on
Passing down cooking skills and knowledge to your children or anyone interested is vital. It used to be a given, but it’s still an essential life skill. Teach your children ten simple, healthy recipes that they can always fall back on when they find themselves in a new living situation. Just the act of them learning will make them more discerning about food, its value and how to be healthy and have a healthy relationship with it.
Cooking is a skill that takes time to develop, so be patient with yourself. Yes, there are times you’ll burn dinner to a crisp, mess up the recipe somehow and become frustrated. There will be time when the recipe just didn’t turn out right and you come to realize how important quality ingredients are. There will be less-than-glowing feedback from family and friends. Hang in there. Your health … and the health of your family … is worth it.
Leave me a comment below about which one of these 6 steps to growing your “inner foodie” are most important for you now!