It’s not a secret that life is stressful. I myself recently felt a lot of stress and wanted to start smoking, but instead, I started cooking as a way to unplug and disengage from the world around me and connect with myself.
Before I started actually cooking for real, I used to watch cooking shows like MasterChef and Chopped and admire the chef’s creativity and calmness while cooking. We all have to eat, so I thought to myself “why not have fun with it”. That’s when I began cooking an actual meal, not the usual pasta with tomato sauce or frozen pizza, once a week.
There is something so therapeutic about cooking. Some days I have no energy or motivation to put together something delicious, but then I remind myself that this is my “me time”, which I’m sure other people will agree with me on. Chopping and peeling helps to get out some of that aggression or anxiety I’ve been harboring during the day. The amazing smells of garlic and spices help the stress melt away and brighten my mood. The intense joy I feel after plating a dish and tasting it is something unparalleled; that feeling of accomplishment elevates just your spirit. The power you feel over being in control of the food you put into your body and how it’s prepared gives you confidence.
Cooking is also a way to connect with those around you. There’s something really special about making a meal and then being able to share it with others. Almost every time I made a dish, I always made enough for my roommates so that we could share. Being able to sit down with others was a wonderful way for me to decompress from the day. And to add a personal note, when I made my great-grandmother’s beef stroganoff, I felt more connected to my family than ever before and felt so elated to have made something my great-grandmother prepared for years and years.
Here are some great recipes for beginner chefs to try out (and tested by myself):
If you’re feeling stressed, try making one of these recipes that are tailored to a beginner chef, like myself. Your brain and tummy will thank you.
Also published on Medium.