July 14, 2024
News Opinion

LAURA WARREN: ‘From culinary virgin to cooking up a storm in 12 months’

WHEN it comes to cooking, I’m living proof it’s never too late to start!

Flashback to just 12 months ago and I was struggling even to boil an egg properly. Now I’m creating gourmet fish dishes, making my own recipes and loving every second of it.

It’s fair to say my poor mother’s attempts to teach me to cook fell on fairly deaf ears when I was a terrible teen. I was your typical tomboy – far too busy climbing trees and building camps to be bothered with the likes of baking. In secondary school I was my home economics teacher’s worst nightmare. Our relationship probably wasn’t helped when I locked her into the pantry room! She did not see the funny side of that one …

Fast forward to this decade, and the main problem I have when it comes to cooking – like many people – is simply trying to find the time. Most of us have pretty hectic lifestyles these days. I barely get time to draw breath on weekdays trying to juggle college, gym and looking after my hairy sons Harry and Homer. Oh, and then there’s the day job …

So sometimes the last thing I feel like doing of an evening is to come home and put the apron on. But I’ve learned to master (well, sort of) the art of choosing the right dishes that are nutrient dense and delicious but don’t take too much time.

But in case you think I’m making myself out to be some sort of domestic Goddess, I still haven’t quite learned to master that whole clean-up thing. By the time I’m done creating my latest culinary masterpiece the kitchen looks like a bomb site. Thankfully, for me anyway, Himself has a touch of the OCD so it all balances out in the end!

As regular readers will probably have gathered, I steer well clear of processed or packaged foods. I love to buy fresh and make most things from scratch. As everyone who knows me knows, I love my grub – but I also like my food to look fresh on display. Nothing beats looking at a veritable rainbow of vegetables on your chopping board and a healthy fruit-bowl on your counter top knowing that you’re fuelling your body and mind with the best ingredients and nutrients.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. Life is so fast paced now for many people the thought of meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking when you’ve got a full-time job and family on your plate can be daunting. Preparation is key – plan ahead and you will succeed. Sunday is my ‘Prep Day’, when I book in for gym classes, go food shopping and focus on the week ahead. It sounds like I’ve sacrificed my Sundays, but I enjoy it anyway and it goes a long way to getting rid of those dreaded manic Mondays! Sundays are a bit like my Monday Eve, when I prep and plan for the week ahead.

After just 12 months of learning to find my way around the kitchen, I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without cooking now. Sure I’d have nothing to talk about, and no mess for Himself to clean up! I wouldn’t have the satisfaction of cooking a dish from scratch and watching someone truly enjoy every morsel. And, I have to admit it, I do love the auld pat on the back every now and then when someone compliments me on my cooking.

So it’s never too late to learn how to cook. Don’t be afraid of it, make loads of mistakes and laugh at them – you’ll eventually get it right and you’ll discover a whole new love affair with foods you’d probably never have experienced before.

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