Written by Courtney Eby
Perhaps you are reading this and thinking that your favorite thing to make for dinner is a reservation. If that is the case, you might want to sit down and stay awhile. While there is something to be said about dining under the culinary expertise of local chefs, I want you to know there is really no replacement for the little chef inside of you. If you are not convinced by a rat, maybe you’ll hear me out when I reiterate the reality that anyone can cook.
Premade meals and restaurant deals can satisfy, but there is so much more in store if you take the time to come into the kitchen. Every one of us is one recipe and a few Google searches away from preparing a meal to the caliber of British chef Gordon Ramsay. So often, my friends say they can’t cook. The real problem is not that they can’t, but that they don’t know how. The reality is we’ve all been there. That being said, there is hope for all of us. The only thing stopping you is yourself. Technique will come as you find what flavors you enjoy and allow your experience to build your confidence. If you like precision and artistry, try out baking. If you like experimentation and trying various methods, give cooking a try. Yes, some recipes are destined to fail, but that’s a necessary part of the adventure. Chefs rarely get it on the first try, hence why we see them so often taste-testing everything in their kitchens. It’s all about trial and error.
I recognize some of us simply do not enjoy being in the kitchen, but even if that is you, there is so much more to cooking than what seems to bore you. With cooking comes countless opportunities. You get to decide how to make it fun. If that means listening to ‘80s songs on repeat as you dance to the stove, do it. If it means experimenting with new seasonings and spices, go for it. If it means making meals according to certain themes and cuisines, make it happen (and invite me too). Cooking is not only for nourishment but also for fun, fellowship and freedom.
And real talk: Food directly intersects with our faith. I am a firm believer that food is an integral way to glorify God each day. The way foods taste, the skills needed to prepare a dish, the fellowship at the table — all these things are created to point us back to God’s glory. Every bite we take and every meal we make is a direct reminder of God’s goodness, creativity and purpose. What a blessing it is that we can be fueled by such flavorful, fun foods like an Acme smoked salmon tartine on seven-grain toast with triple cream brie, fresh chives, dill and pickled red onions. What’s even cooler is that every one of us has the power to prepare it. I believe preparing and sharing a meal is a discipline so close to the heart of God. He has given us the capacity not only to taste but to create and, in doing so, bless others with good fellowship and food.
It does not take a rocket scientist to read a recipe, nor does it take a culinary degree to search a YouTube video on “How to sauté chicken.” So don’t be the chicken; cook the chicken. It’s time to start thinking outside of the boxed brownies.
For those of you who do not know where to get started, I encourage you to fill your plate with foods from a few of my favorites: Half Baked Harvest, Gimme Some Oven, Life Love & Sugar, I Heart Naptime, Carl’s Bad Cravings, Live Well Bake Often, Pinch of Yum and The Recipe Critic. Bon Appetit!