Reflections on My First Year Cooking

In January of this year, I decided to start cooking for myself. I honestly don’t remember how I fed myself before. Maybe lots of trips to the WholeFoods hot bar. Yeah, that checks out.

I had signed up for Workweek Lunch (WWL) months before. WWL is a subscription meal prep service that provides yummy recipes that are fridge and microwave friendly.

Around January, I finally decided to start using my subscription and learned how to cook a few basic meals including vegetarian stuffed peppers, fish tacos, and chicken tikka masala. These recipes taught me a few skills such as how to make lentils, how to cook fish, and how to cut meat uniformly.

A few learnings:

  • Meal selection
    • It’s okay to make super basic meals. My go-to during the pandemic was sautéed black beans with cumin and vegetables.
    • Find foods you like when you go out to eat and try to recreate them at home.
  • The act of cooking
    • Clean up as you cook.
    • Taste as you cook.
    • Read the recipe beforehand to understand what tasks are grouped together (cooking is basically project management)
    • Prep ingredients beforehand by cutting vegetables and measuring out liquids and spices. This makes cooking less chaotic.
    • Make everything twice. The first time, write out your learnings.

Cooking is one of the only tasks that completely engrosses my mind. I need to be present and focus on the task at hand, while being flexible and adjusting flavors.

Overall, working from home during the pandemic has been so helpful to my eating habits. I have been able to cook or reheat every meal and feeding myself has become a special self-care ritual.

I am thankful for this opportunity to work from home and have developed a new appreciation for food.