I hear this a lot. Every cooking class I do.

“That seems like a lot of work”

I wonder when cooking became “work” or even worse a “chore?”

Maybe here is the culprit. The actual definition of the word chore.

Chore:

1. A routine task, esp a household one.

2. An unpleasant but necessary task.

Damn, we are screwed. That might as well be the definition of cooking at home. No wonder everyone has freezers full of processed food and lunch boxes full of plastic sealed food-like products that just pop from the pantry to the lunch box. Bam. No work there. I work hard all day at my job. I can’t be expected to come home and work more. Well, I hate to be the one to say it but yes you can. You come home and take care of the yard, laundry, pick up endless toys, take out the trash, and cook food. Just life. Unless you can afford to pay someone else to do all those chores then there are only two choices: live in a dirty and messy house with overgrown grass and trees while eating processed foods or….and this is a big or…figure out a way to look at chores differently.

By now you might have expected something like that from me but, really, this can change your life. Not just in cooking but your whole day. Everything. I have spent years trying to practice a sort of Zen type thing with cooking and it really works.

Basically, you have a choice. Look at cooking like a chore, bunch of work, ugh, no time, life sucks, can’t believe these kids are hungry again, pour on the guilt, stress, yuk, forget it.

Or, just take a step back and look at it another way. Remember, you can choose how you look at it. Don’t say you can’t help it. You can.

I do a few things. Main one is just look at all my chores as my meditation time. I just breathe deep, slow my mind, put on some music, and simply do the chore slowly and carefully with gratitude that I have this time to get centered and calm. I try to only focus on what I am doing in that moment. Yes? I try to do this with everything. Pulling weeds, laundry, traffic, dishes, cooking, sweeping the floor, working out, running, whatever. It really changes the day. Yes, it takes practice but you can start small with just one or two tasks a day. Just try it. What could it hurt. Or you can be grumpy and stressed and still have to pull the weeds.

Another thing I like to do is while you are cooking pretend you are doing a cooking show. You are on The Food Network! You can do this out loud but just doing it in your head works fine and may make you look a little less crazy. You are cooking and explaining what you are doing and having fun and guess what this does? It keeps you right in the moment thinking about only what you are doing. This is just a tool to help get to the place I just described in the paragraph above. Try it. It is fun and it can’t hurt. Or you can cook mad and think about all the other stuff you have to do. Yuk, life. Your choice.

It really is just that simple. Take all the things you label a chore or work and just change the way you look at them. If this seems a little woo woo new age crazy to you that is fine. But, I just ask you to at least try it. Pretend you are a little open for a bit and just give it a shot. You don’t have to tell anyone. You can still pretend to be stressed, busy, and get all the attention you think you need. I know it is hard to change and actually be happy and calm all day. People will hate you! They will say, “Must be nice” in a sarcastic tone for sure.  Well, guess what?

It is nice.

More advice to myself.

Much love,

Chef Greg

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