8 Clever Ways to Cure Your Kitchen Burnout—and Enjoy Cooking Again
Remember the way your heart used to flutter as you showered your countertop with flour, preparing to knead sourdough bread dough you made from starter you'd been parenting for weeks? Or how it felt to come home—metaphorically speaking, because you never left—to a kitchen that smelled like fresh-baked banana bread? Served alongside a whipped Dalgona coffee or don't even bother.
While we'd like to forget most everything that happened in the early days of the pandemic—when face masks were discouraged, social distancing was novel, and toilet paper was MIA—we really wouldn't mind revisiting the enthusiastic motivation we felt in the kitchen. Cook every meal at home using just pantry staples? How fun!
Yeah, I think sometime around June that How fun! attitude really took a nosedive. Summer was hot, exhausting, and the last thing anyone wanted to do was stand it a humid kitchen for hours painstakingly rolling out homemade pasta noodles or baking cinnamon buns. Here at Real Simple, we saw a surge in our readers' interest in healthy frozen meals, baking mixes that come from a box, returning to restaurants, and how long you can keep leftovers until they're borderline unsafe to eat. Understandably, the cooking malaise persisted through the taxing "back to school" season and the holidays. (I get it—roasting a full-size turkey and baking three pies for four people is sufficiently ridic.)
Indeed, as we quickly approach one year of living in a worldwide pandemic, Americans are feeling less inspired than ever to forge ahead with their ambitious culinary exploits of last spring. Heck, many are ordering pizza several nights a week and living off frozen food from Trader Joe's.
But before you decide to subside solely on packaged ramen noodles for the rest of your restaurant-free days, we're here to kindly reacquaint you with the pleasures of cooking. Hopefully a few of these little fire-starters will help you feel inspired to revisit the kitchen without a long, forlorn staring contest with the interior of your refrigerator. It'll be fun, I promise.