4 Strategies for Falling in Love with Cooking at Home

America, we have a problem. For too many people, cooking has transformed from a beloved necessity to a hassle to be avoided, and we're paying the price. But it's not too late to make a change. Adopt these four strategies to fall in love with cooking.

Familiarize Yourself with the Basics

If you've never cooked before and don't know where to start, consider signing up for a beginner's cooking class. You'll learn the foundation skills — how to follow a recipe, definition of techniques, food safety tips — right alongside others who hope to do the same.

Start with Individual Recipes

The initial buzz that comes with any new hobby applies to cooking, too. It can be tempting to dive right in and snag cookbooks by big-name authors full of recipes you're not even sure you know how to prepare or want to eat.

But, before you fill an entire library, start slow. Use online resources to get a better feel for the kinds of recipes you're interested in preparing and eating regularly. Once you know your preferences and initial limitations, invest in recipe collections that match your specific tastes.

Experiment with Ingredients

When you're first starting out, even if you cook occasionally but not on a regular basis, stick to ingredients you are already familiar with. Once you've given yourself time to get more comfortable in the kitchen, start adding ingredients and recipes you are less familiar with. This simple act of veering from your norm can make cooking an exciting activity.

Get Friends and Family Involved

This could be as simple as offering to bring a snack to share with coworkers in the break room, or asking to prepare a meal for your family. Do your friends like to cook? If they don't, offer to teach them how to make your new favorite recipes. If they do, ask them to teach you their favorite recipe!

The dread of cooking and lack of basic food preparation skills is a widespread problem — but, fortunately, there is a simple set of gratifying solutions. You don't have to be an experienced chef to prepare healthy meals. Allow yourself the freedom to be creative, and grant yourself permission to fall in love with a pastime you once considered a chore.

Meg Dowell on Twitter
Meg Dowell
Meg Dowell is one biochemistry course away from a bachelor's degree in dietetics. She recently graduated with a B.A. in English, blogs for Kitchology.com and is the health/fitness/nutrition editor for College Lifestyles magazine. She hopes to begin her master's program at Benedictine University this January, pursuing an MS in nutrition and wellness with a concentration in nutrition entrepreneurship. Follow her on Twitter @MegDowell.