Finding joy in cooking has not always come easy to me! I grew up in a family of five where my mom was a true southern cook. We did not lack for a good meal by any means. My mom would even make breakfast for dinner (one of our favorite meals). Needless to say I had a full tummy most of my adolescent life.
However, I did not carry this on once I reached college and well into my married life. I really had no interest in a home cooked meal, prepared by me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good home cooked dinner made by someone else, but for me I never wanted to take the time to really find the joy in cooking.
After my college years and enough microwavable dinners I got married to the love of my life and sure enough, I married into a huge Italian family. Even hearing the words, “Italian family” you think yummy, homemades! I was surrounded by amazing cooks! I was a little intimidated by all this! When we would have family get togethers I would offer to bring something I knew I couldn’t really mess up--maybe a salad or cookies (from the store). Thankfully my husband is an amazing cook, and he loves it! So before our family grew, Paolo would come home from work and make us an amazing dinner. I knew that wasn’t going to last once we started having a family. I would really need to step up and try harder.
Years go by and two kids later I was still having a hard time finding joy in cooking...let alone the TIME to cook. Then something shifted. It wasn’t too long ago that I decided to really look at some cookbooks and write recipes down and get excited to turn all these ingredients into a yummy meal for my family.
I remember reading an article by Joanna Gaines in her magazine about how she too, needed to change her views on not only cooking, but laundry and even cleaning. I am paraphrasing here, but she talked about how having little kids made it hard at times to enjoy cooking. She then started to make it more fun by lighting her favorite candle, turning on some music and then start cooking (usually with a baby on the hip and I’m sure more on the floor). And she would think of doing laundry not so much as a chore but something she’s doing for her kids. And the clean smell it would leave throughout the house.
I think if we can change our views of “chores” or our “to do list” into something actually enjoyable it’ll help a lot. I am a stay-at-home mommy and I am so thankful I am able to do that. But there are times I find myself really complaining about a lot. Cooking was one of them. I dreaded thinking about what I was going to “try” and make. Where now I look forward to cooking for my family. I also noticed a shift in my husband when he’d come home from work. A lot of times he’d come home and I’d say “take out...again?” But when he comes home and smells a yummy home cooked meal I can see his excitement and I learned it was part of his love language.
Since we have young boys, my husband and I wait to have our dinner after they are in bed (around 7). It has been a nice little date for us. Soon we will have family dinner once they are a little older and go to bed later, but for now we get a little date. So after I get both our boys in their jammies and ready for bed I sometimes pour myself a nice glass of wine, I light a candle and I start the process of cooking. It has now turned into a joy.
I would love to hear about your favorite, or your easy go-to recipes. I went ahead and posted one of my favorite, easy, go-to recipes from,The Pioneer Woman. Happy cooking friends!