I have Issues about cooking

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Aya-non, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. Aya-non

    Aya-non Well-Known Member

    Okay, this has officially gone past slightly annoying and all the way to interfering with my life.

    Cooking stresses me the heck out and to, like, a weird degree. Today was my day off from work and I spent most of it unhappy because I was trying to (a) pick out something to cook for the next week (b) shop for it and (c) cook it. I only really got the shopping done; I ended up picking a default recipe instead of finding anything new (even though I spent an hour-and-a-half trying) and by the time I got that done I just felt...fried. I still feel fried. I'm going to feel even more fried after work but the food's still going to need cooked, ugh.

    Part of it is that I'm just not very good at cooking. Like, I learned late, and I'm still learning a lot of things. Part of it is that recipes that are not very specific and exact screw with me. For now, at least, part of it's just the sheer amount of effort involved.

    And as of more recently, my stomach has something or other wrong with it, and I don't know exactly what will set it off anymore. Well, okay, not eating sets it off too, but...I don't know which foods are going to end with me in pain. This has led to at least one or two experiences of cooking for an hour or so only to be unable to eat more than one serving of the results. This has not helped my stress levels one bit.

    Even so, I feel like I'm overreacting. Like, it should not be stressing me out so much. This is a part of adulthood I should be able to handle it.

    Anyhow, has anyone else had the experience of really hating or being stressed out by cooking, and do you have any advice that might work for me?
    • Like x 1
  2. Saro

    Saro Where is wizard hut

    Cooking can be pretty stressful for me too, and I've had a bad GI tract basically forever, so I'm totally there with you in feeling fried by the whole thing.

    Some things that have helped me, not sure how helpful they'll be:
    • Have some recipes/meals that become second nature to make (so it's not so stressful to make them, you can always turn to them)
    • Try to keep the ingredients for those around all the time, and replace them as they get used up (will make shopping easier)
    • It sounds like you're already doing this, but making multiple servings ahead of time and then having them available to reheat later
    • How To Cook Everything
    • This is pretty vague and probably not helpful... but the more I actually do cook and try new things, the less I care about perfection and specificity in recipes. Maybe it's partially just getting used to cooking and feeling more confident? I don't know
    • INSTANT READ THERMOMETER (if you cook meat and worry about it being cooked through, or if you cook anything that you need to know temp for)
    • Rice cooker (toss in the rice and liquid and let it go, the best thing ever if you like rice or other grains)
    • Similarly, slow cooker or crock pot
    In regards to stomach stuff, maybe a food diary would help? You might be able to see some patterns and what sets it off or not. (I have a lot of sympathy and empathy for the situation; while my gallbladder was bad, I could only eat super bland food, it was not fun.)
    • Like x 1
  3. Aya-non

    Aya-non Well-Known Member

    Thanks! A lot of that's actually really helpful, especially keeping ingredients in stock--I need to get back into the practice of having backup things around at all times. Thank you for the cookbook rec, those are always useful. I'm gonna see if I can turn up a copy at the library.

    I will say that my new crockpot is actually part of the problem, though. I just got it and I have zero idea of what to do with it, because I have used a crockpot once in my life, but it's a gift so I wanted to be able to tell my mother, "Hey, I made a thing in it," which...yeah. Might have been biting off more than I could chew.

    The food diary is actually a really good idea. I was keeping one forever ago, but that was back when I was both super-anemic and in grad school, so I had a lot of trouble keeping up with it. I now have a smartphone I could get an app on (and iron supplements) so the second time might be the charm.
  4. Void

    Void on discord. Void#4020

    Ooh! Crockpots are super handy for doing things such as making a soup, or meat. Really they're one of those things where you dump in ingredients and leave it for a while! So you could dump in stuff like... say, a hunk of pork. Some water, and seasoning. Leave it for a few hours, then you have some really nice tender slow cooked pork!

    Give me a bit and I can probably find you some recipes for crockpot stuff!
    • Like x 1
  5. Enzel

    Enzel androgynous jrpg protag

    This is more of a stopgap measure, but it might be good to have some frozen meals on hand, or things like granola bars or applesauce, for days when it's too difficult to cook but you still need to get food in you.
    • Like x 1
  6. Void

    Void on discord. Void#4020

    • Like x 2
  7. budgie

    budgie not actually a bird

    My favourite pasta sauce is really straightforward, doesn't involve any sort of prep, and is almost entirely made up of shelf-stable ingredients, so I often make it when I have no clue wtf to eat rather than stressing out over coming up with something. (Assuming pasta does not stress out you/your stomach)

    2 cloves chopped garlic (I get little jars of chopped garlic suspended in oil; you'd need a little bit of oil in the pan if you're using fresh)
    1/4 cup water
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp oregano
    dash pepper
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    1 8oz can clams+liquid/tuna/salmon
    2 big handfuls spinach/half a block of frozen spinach
    1 8 oz can tomato sauce

    Heat frying pan to medium-high. Add garlic and cook until golden. Slowly stir in water. Add salt, oregano, pepper, lemon juice, seafood (including liquid if you're using clams), and spinach. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes (if you're using fresh spinach, it should all be wilted at this point), then add tomato sauce and heat it through. Toss with pasta.
    • Like x 2
  8. Aya-non

    Aya-non Well-Known Member

    Thank you all so much! And yeah, pasta's good. I like it a lot, but it's complicated and sauces are like, a fifty/fifty crapshoot--there's a sauce that I know doesn't bother me and I've been buying it in all its overpriced glory since the week I tried it on sale a year ago.

    @budgie I might scale the recipe back to one or one-and-a-half cloves of garlic, because garlic and I have a bit of a fraught relationship; do you think that would mess it up badly?
    • Like x 1
  9. budgie

    budgie not actually a bird

    I am super fond of garlic so I add it to everything, but I'm pretty sure you could cut back without impacting the recipe too much. (Apparently chives are a good alternative if garlic upsets your stomach but you're not allergic to the allium family. Never tried them in this recipe, though.)
    • Like x 1
  10. Void

    Void on discord. Void#4020

    yeah usually most recipes with garlic you can reduce it a little bit and not really mess it up that much!
    • Like x 1
  11. Aya-non

    Aya-non Well-Known Member

    Okay, that's good to know! Also I'm trying the chives thing, that amazing miso soup the grocery store doesn't sell anymore was full of them and it did nothing to me, so I can probably eat them with impunity.
    • Like x 2
  12. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    Another cool thing about crock pots - there are a ton of recipes that you can prepare in advance and stick in bags in the freezer and then dump in the crock pot in the morning as you're on your way out the door. This could potentially reduce the number of days you have to do food prep in a month, since it'd just already be prepped?

    Also they make crock pot liners so you don't need to scrub anything. They are a little pricey - like $4 for 3 where I am, but I find them worth it on low spoons days.

    I have some recipes from when I ran a cooking blog, too. Possibly not super useful, as I have a very haphazard approach to measurements, but I also try to detail the logic of the heuristics I'm using. I also have a tag specifically for 'quick and easy'.

    Other tips - I tend to prep my grocery list over the course of however long, as we run out of things or I see a recipe I want to try. I find grocery stores to be kind of a horrible experience (the acoustics are ughhhhhhhhh), but one of the local grocery stores does free delivery over a minimum threshold, and that is becoming a more common service, I think? Details would be on the grocery store's website. That takes a lot of the stress out of shopping, at least for me.

    Also my moirail has cooked like 1 thing in the last year, when I specifically asked her to (it was steak. it was both overdone and cold. i have no idea what happened but i love her for trying). She can reliably cook grilled cheese and a chili recipe that is mostly cans of stuff. She is still very much an adult! And so are you, even if you're struggling. You don't need to be able to handle every little thing perfectly.
    • Like x 2
  13. NevermorePoe

    NevermorePoe Nevermore

    For crock pots, we have a really good recipe for pulled pork I could share, but i'll have to get it tomorrow I think. I made a general kitchen advice thread a while back, you could ask technique questions there, and maybe find some tips!
    • Like x 1
  14. electroTelegram

    electroTelegram Well-Known Member

    one thing that might help is a routine? like for me saturday nights are pasta nights. i dont have to think about what to cook, and because it's the same each week it's easier to remember what i need to get in order to cook it. also i can make leftovers for days.

    i have a pasta sauce that i like but if im really tired i just dump a can of tomatos into a frying pan with salt and pepper, then add pasta + cheese if im feeling like it.
    • Like x 1
  15. Aya-non

    Aya-non Well-Known Member

    Ahhhh, this is all so useful, thank you.

    Also, pulled pork, yes I would love that recipe. I'm pretty sure I can eat that. But I haven't cooked pork in forever because I have zero idea how to cook it.
    • Like x 1
  16. NevermorePoe

    NevermorePoe Nevermore

    Three ingredient pulled pork!

    Tldr version:
    1 (2 lb.) pork tenderloin (pork shoulder or butt can also be used)
    1 (12 oz.) can root beer (I used diet)
    1 (18 oz.) bottle barbecue sauce

    For serving:
    8 hamburger buns
    Pickle slices, optional

    Place pork tenderloin in a slow cooker and pour root beer over meat. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until pork shreds easily with a fork.

    Once cooked, drain and discard liquid. Shred pork and place back into the slow cooker. Toss with barbecue sauce and serve immediately, or keep warm in slow cooker until ready to serve. Serve on hamburger buns.

    • Like x 1
  17. Cook what sounds good to you. If it's something you'd like to make and something you'd like to eat, go for it!

    You'll probably fuck up, but cares? It takes practice to get good.
  18. EulersBidentity

    EulersBidentity e^i*[bi] + 1

    It's not an option financially for lots of people (including me), but my old housemates had really good times subscribing to one of those recipe delivery services. They send you a precise recipe and all the ingredients you need to cook it once or several times a week, so the spoon drain from choosing a recipe and grocery shopping is just...gone.
    • Like x 1
  19. Aya-non

    Aya-non Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's not really a financial option for me, either, though it's a nice thought if I ever get into a better financial situation. I've considered trying to use a grocery delivery service, at least occasionally, because shopping is stressful and time consuming and not having to do it physically would help, but despite living in the biggest city in my state, none of them deliver here.

    ETA: Maybe once Amazon's food delivery thing is more established, they'll be the first? But I don't have Prime and I'm not sure I wanna get it just for groceries...
    • Like x 1
  20. sirsparklepants

    sirsparklepants feral mom energies

    In the US, Kroger has started offering a service at some stores where you put in your grocery order online and pick it up the next day. I live in suburbia, so I'm not sure how it works without a car, but I use it on bad pain days or if I know it will be a spoon draining week. It's $5 an order, I believe. It helps me to have stuff on hand and also not have to go in - I really hate the grocery store.

    A website that I love is Budget Bytes - lots of cost friendly recipes and some good techniques. You can sort by ingredients, by type (breakfast, dessert, etc), cuisine, and there are sections like slow cooker and quick.
    • Like x 2
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