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No-one is born a great cook, one learns by doing…

During our wedding speeches, there were numerous comments about my lack of domesticity, particularly around cooking; did I know where the kitchen was, did I own certain kitchen utensils, would I give everyone food poisoning etc. At this point my husband did all the cooking, as I was teaching I just did not have the time to do it every day. This meant I really did not have a clue what I was doing, and for me, that meant I just avoided it rather than looking like I couldn’t do something. I would tell people I hated cooking, but the simple truth was; I didn’t even know!

After leaving teaching I was now at home first every day, and so it seemed fair that I was the one to now cook. This started with keeping safe and sticking to the basics (even learning some basics), but over time I have branched out and am learning all sorts of things: zucchinis are full of water and need the excess squeezed out, chicken bakes better with something on it, you can make chocolate mousse using avocado, and my potato salad really is the best.

Learning little tricks, new recipes, ways to sneak vegetables into my husband’s meals and the timing to put a meal together have all been documented in a recipe book my Nana made me last Christmas. I have to document these creations these days, as now I don’t even use recipes. I have learnt enough about flavours, cooking times and textures to put new things together – who would’ve thought!?

I found that when I was working 80 hours a week, cooking simply was a chore, and something that I viewed as taking up work time. Looking back at this, it makes me sad that my priorities were in this order. Now that I am working from home, have decreased my stress, exercise daily, and have reprioritised my life I have discovered not only do I have the time to cook, I have the head space to enjoy doing so.

This journey has also reminded me it is ok to try something and fail. Things can burn, taste wrong, be ill-timed, it is all part of the learning journey. This is how we learn! And lets be honest, how many amazing things in the kitchen were discovered with an “Oops..”

I would love to hear what new things/skills/hobbies people have taken up or learnt, or what your favourite recipes are!

Mel H x

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