I love cooking, baking and barbecuing, and I even appreciate more when I can cook, bake or barbecue entirely naked, with just an apron for safety. With the current lock down, I have more time to cook and bake, and I grab any opportunities to do so, to the delight of the family.
So here are a couple of ideas, even if you are not good cooks, to discover new cooking recipes and find ways to increase your cooking knowledge.
Look in your Pantry and Fridge
The first place to start is your pantry and then, your fridge. Look at what you have available. Yes, a can of tuna or some pasta may be the start of a great meal. You can actually cook great tasty recipes with very simple basic food items. So make a list of all the different food items that you have in your pantry and in your fridge. Look in those dark corners as well.
Check the expiry dates on all boxes and cans. If you are past beyond expiry date, generally get rid of the item. Do not take any risk with old items (this article on msn.com gives a list of 20 food items you should never eat after expiration date for instance). Some food can be consumed after the expiry date, as this list of 15 items shared by the Food Network, and the following post from Consumer report provides with good rules to tell whether expired food is safe to eat.
Once you have a complete list of all food items that you have available and are ready to get consumed, you can move to the next step: finding a recipe. One intermediate step before moving on, though! I love a good glass of wine while cooking (always drink alcohol responsibly). So, whatever your preferred beverage is, pour yourself one glass of it. Cooking should be a happy and fun moment, let’s celebrate it with a good glass. And of course, get naked if you are not already (you should have been since the beginning, but hey, it costs nothing to remind ourselves how comfortable being naked is).
Find a Recipe
It’s interesting to see that we generally cook almost the same things every weeks or months. It’s because we are creatures of habits. However, once we start looking for new recipes, we expand our horizons and find great dishes to cook and share. I’m personally using AllRecipes.com quite a lot, as I like the recipes I’m finding here. However, there are lots of other web services that propose recipes based on ingredients you provide, like Foodcombo, which tracks what is in your pantry, or MyRecipes.com, just to name a few.
Of course, the first time, you may realize that you lack some ingredients or do not have enough of another one. If a recipe makes you salivate but you don’t have all that it takes, bookmark it and note down what you are lacking for your next shopping spree. Continue looking until you find something you can cook with what you have. Sometimes, you can substitute one ingredient by another one, for instance one type of herb by another one, or one type of oil by another one. Skipping a non essential ingredient is also sometimes possible. Don’t get stuck in a dead end, be creative!
Once you have made a choice, it’s time to put your apron and start cooking!
Cook and Have Fun
Cooking can be a fun activity. Sometimes, we are 2 or 3 in the kitchen participating. One chopping herbs, one frying onions and another one just chatting. Cooking together is fun, cooking together naked is funnier and more relaxed.
However, a couple of word of caution. Cooking can lead to injuries: you can cut yourself with a sharp knife or burn your skin while frying for instance. So, always protect your skin with an apron, particularly if you cook naked, always grab hot saucepans or skillets with a protective glove and have a cloth available (I put mine on my shoulder) to swipe your hands if necessary.
Another intermediate step, after the glass of win: your preferred music! Whether you like Chopin, Heavy Metal or crooners, put music that inspires you and makes you feel good. You should be feeling great now, don’t you?
Now, you’re completely ready: follow the steps of the recipe you found. Unless you’re experienced, don’t try to improvise. Religiously follow the steps and have a sip of wine between each (don’t exaggerate though). If you need to wait for a cooking step to end, sit down, relax, and continue chatting with your friends and family.
Near the end, you need to set up the dining table. If preparing food is a fun moment, sharing it is another convivial one. Set a beautiful table, one that makes you feel like you were in a restaurant. It may be a dramatic change from your day to day habit, where people, me included, tend to eat quickly on the kitchen counter. Today, make your lunch or dinner a feast.
Sometime, your recipe will fail! Yes, that happens too, even to the best chefs. It’s not because it’s not beautiful is not good. This is rule number one. Rule number two is if it’s not good, then have a plan B, and that could be just reverting to something simpler or just a phone call to the pizza delivery service. Cooking is an art and requires some time to get right. Don’t make a fuss if you did not succeed the first time. With time you’ll get better!
Share your naked cooking experiences. Do you like cooking naked? How does this differ from clothed cooking? Do you cook naked with friends around or alone? Do not hesitate to share your experiences in the comment box below.
Get Naked, Stay Naked, Live Naked and Share the Naked Love!