Do you often tend to assume that other people are impressively brilliant at things while you’re just average…or plain rubbish? Most of us have an unfortunate tendency to put others on a pedestal while castigating ourselves for being inadequate.
Now that I’m a health coach and posting the odd culinary pic on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/peppermintwellness/), I find that people are suddenly jumping to the conclusion that I’m an intimidatingly fabulous cook. The truth is that, yes, I can cook the things I like. I certainly won’t be in line for winning any awards for my baking and I have my fair share of things that end up being burnt or in some way inedible but, then, don’t we all?
You might conclude that I’ve always been OK at cooking and that all this has come naturally to me. You would be wrong.
My husband’s best friend, Andrew, can attest to that. Let me take you back 23 years. One evening, when I’d been married for a year or so, he popped in one evening to find me “preparing dinner” in the kitchen. This involved me:
1. Pouring boiling water from the kettle over a packet of cheese and onion Smash (for the uninitiated or those under the age of 30: this is dehydrated mashed potato).
2. Pouring boiling water from the kettle over a boil-in-the-bag cod in parsley sauce.
This combo was actually one of my favourite go-to dinners at the time and, indeed, was what we generally ate on a weekday evening. Andrew, who fancied himself as something of a sophisticated foodie even as a teenager, could not disguise his horror nor his concern for the wellbeing of his best friend.
But I was oblivious to anything being unsatisfactory about our instant meal. You see, despite both my mother and mother-in-law being wonderful cooks, I just hadn’t picked up any culinary skills by the time I got married. None whatsoever. Nor had I grasped how to do a useful weekly shop. Or prep food to have it to hand after work. In short, I was clueless. I handed the entire thing into the waiting arms of the convenience food industry.
I share this with you because I look back and see how far I’ve come from my boil-in-the-bag days. If I’d have defined myself as a hopeless cook from back then, I would not be doing what I’m doing now.
I bet you’ve come a long way too if you stop and think about it. It’s useful to remember that cooking, much like any other skill, is something we can get better at. We’re never stuck with what we know or what we’ve been taught. We can always have a go, try a recipe, try again when we cock up and, bit by bit, get better at whatever it is we want to do.
So, what are you going to get good at this year? Is there something you’ve always considered yourself poor at without giving yourself a chance? If so, feel free to leave me a comment below.