When there’s a word to properly describe what you’re feeling, you automatically believe that it’s okay to be afraid of it. I’m not belittling the actual fear of cooking, but most of the time the issues stem from you not knowing how to do something as simple as mix milk and cereal to feeling like you have to live up to the expectations of your family who can cook in their sleep.
Yes, Mageirocophobia is the ‘fear of cooking’. But it’s not limited to just the basic cooking process, it’s also about the things that could happen because of your cooking. It’s a complicated fear to get over and most probably won’t. I can’t even say that if you give it a try, it’ll get better. I always had a problem with cooking, but it was never a fear as much as it was just nerves and worries that I’d make something and it’d go to waste because it’d taste really horrible.
I come from a long line of fantastic cooks. Both my grandmothers were known in my hometown for their extraordinary cooking skills and one even introduced the wonders of brownies and chocolate chip cookies into the town. All of us girls in the family are going to be asked these questions for the rest of our lives, because our grandmothers passed on their cooking genes to their daughters and obviously we should have inherited it, right? All I inherited was an absolute and unfailing love for food. My grandmothers passed away within a year of each other and I realized (quite late, I might add) that if I could get off my ass and get cooking, I could make them proud. And if they were still around, I know that they’d be pretty impressed with what I can do and how determined I am.
Start Small, Start Simple
When you start cooking, don’t jump into complicated and long recipes. Start small. A two ingredient dessert, a dip or a salad; things that require just a little concentration and a lot of waiting. The waiting might seem tough, but given that it took you 10 minutes to put together, sometimes it’s totally worth it. If you’ve watched your mother or grandmother or sister or wife make something, give that a go. If you already know what the dish is supposed to taste and look like, then you won’t struggle so much. Use recipes, consult websites for more information, ask the right questions and when all else fails call someone who can help you to get the whole thing right.
That’s an important thing – don’t be afraid to ask people for help!
Research and purchase
Just before you make your dish of the week, do all the right research. You might not find the ingredients that the recipe asked for, so find things that you can replace them with. Make sure you have all the right cooking equipment, because it wouldn’t be fun to get started on your dish and find that you don’t have a non-stick pan! Plan ahead and buy everything just in time for the cooking, so that everything is still relatively fresh. A lot of recipes will have a long list of ingredients that you need, but it’s all about trial and error and you can replace and/or skip some things if you’re not comfortable or sure about things.
Trial and error
Nobody, not even your mother or grandmother or even your favourite chef was successful the first time they made something. You’ve got to make a few mistakes before you make that perfect final product. You might burn your sandwich or overcook the rice or even mess up a simple pasta dish, but trial and error is the best way to figure out how to make what you like and what you want. Just be glad that Gordon Ramsey isn’t standing in your kitchen yelling at you as you make mistakes and start over.
Get out of your comfort zone
Eventually you’re going to have to step away from what you know and focus on the stuff that you don’t. Make all the dishes you’re aware of and comfortable with and then get the hell out of that place. Find more complicated and intricate recipes, invite friends over, throw a party, make a big deal out of it!
And like Julia Child said, “I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” It’s never too late to start cooking and experimenting. Plus, think of all the awesome stuff you can buy for your kitchen!