Several years ago, a gardening workshop I attended with some girlfriends nearly sent me to the floor of my closet with a blanket pulled over my head. The very sweet presenter spent an hour chatting merrily about planting bulbs and potting soil and the merits of various fertilizers. She showed us stunning arrangements of vibrant annuals and extolled the benefits of planting various perennials for a lush and colorful backyard. I sat there smiling and nodding and taking copious notes. I bought tools. And gardening clogs. And bulbs. And potting soil. And I never planted a thing.
I left that workshop so completely overwhelmed by information and so intimidated by the prospect of failure that I just gave up altogether. That adorable lady who ran the workshop would be so disappointed if she knew this. She’d be sad. She’d wonder where she went wrong!
When you’re already good at something, it seems so easy. You excitedly share your passion – be it gardening or fashion or quilting or scrapbooking – with anyone who will listen. You could go on for hours sharing all sorts of inside information that any self-respecting friend of yours would be lucky to learn.
When you’re the one trying to learn, however, it’s anything but easy. You yearn for someone to tell you just what you need to know and nothing more. You wish everyone would stop throwing around complicated terms that you don’t understand and acting like it was a piece of cake. It’s not a piece of cake to you. Far from it.
This is what used to happen when I started to talk to someone about cooking. People nodded politely. If they were a client, they took notes. They enthusiastically oohed and ahhed over suggestions I made. They said things like “That sounds delicious!” and “I can’t wait to try it!” But more often than I’d like, when they got in their car and drove home, they never turned on the stove.
Once I caught on to this, and got over my sadness and merciless self-criticism, I was bound and determined to change the outcome. I don’t want people to listen to me talk about cooking – I want them to actually cook! The research is so clear that cooking for yourself at home is one of the very best things you can do to improve your health and well-being. It’s why Nourish places such an emphasis on healthy eating out of all the healthy lifestyle habits out there for you to adopt! Being able to turn a few simple ingredients into a nourishing meal makes it far easier to control your weight and your overall health.
So now, when I get into a conversation about cooking, especially with a novice, I try to remember that gardening class. I don’t throw around fancy cooking terms like braise and simmer and blanch. I don’t spout off ten adaptations she could make to the simple recipe I’m sharing – I just share the recipe. I write it down. I tell her to call me if she gets confused in the middle of making it. I send her pictures or videos if I have them. Or, better yet, I offer to cook with her.
If you’re one of the sweet followers who has read the Nourish blog for a while but who hasn’t actually gotten up the nerve to cook anything, will you reach out to me? Post a question in comments below this post or any recipe post in our archives. Drop me an email. Send me a message via Facebook. I am here for you, and so are the hundreds of people reading this blog or in our Facebook community, many of whom are accomplished home cooks who would be delighted to demystify healthy cooking for you. We’re all here to help. So please, don’t panic….just cook!