Speaking as someone who is learning to cook for a living, I’ve got a sad, embarrassing confession for you: I’m just not that into cooking meals at home these days. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’m on my feet at 5AM and I’m baking biscuits by 6. Or maybe it’s an over-saturation of the senses, the intoxicating smell of pan-caramelized apples wafting up at me, and the constant bombardment of sauteed garlic, homey herbs, and savory braise smells of the creations from another cook, desensitizing my desire for good food. Whatever the cause, when the time to cook when the day’s end rolls around, I’ve been struggling to muster much enthusiasm.
I’ve come up with a counter-intuitive solution to my problem by challenging myself to only cook dinners that I’m genuinely excited about eating. They don’t have to be hard recipes or take hours to make, in fact most of them so far have been made up on the fly. They do need to be dishes I’ll look forward to eating, meals worthy of opening a moderately priced bottle of wine to enjoy midweek. To select these recipes, I pause and ask myself, as I’m heading by the store on the way home, “what am I hungry for?” And then, I make that thing. So far, it’s been a success.