The 5 Best Reasons Why Cooking Makes Me Happy


Some people see cooking as a chore and they dread having to do it. Others may have magierocophobia, the fear of cooking that keeps the out of the kitchen. Many people have given up all together and just eat take-out and convenience foods. To these people cooking is difficult, it's time consuming and the results aren't worth it.

happy-chefBut, that's not me. I love cooking, it makes me happy. I get great enjoyment from finding new ingredients, combining flavors, making sauces, and accepting the accolades that come with a meal so good that it rivals any restaurant in town.

fearWhy do so many people hate and fear cooking while I love it? What could the difference be? Yes, I'm a professional Chef and Certified Culinary Educator, but since it's my job you'd think I'd need a break once in a while. When I go on vacation from my "job", I cook even MORE. How can that be? Why would I cook while on vacation?

The answer is obvious to me, and can become obvious to you as well. Cooking is not a chore, and it's not feared when it becomes fun and easy. How do you make cooking a stress-free, fun and easy hobby?

First, you forget about written recipes. Stop trying to cook line-by-line. They'll just confuse you with their variables and photography that can never be duplicated. Don't concentrate on WHAT to cook, focus on HOW to cook.

The next step is to think of cooking as a standard, repeatable method. Whether you will saute, roast, steam, grill, or broil, there are steps that can be duplicated again and again no matter what the item you're cooking is.

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This removes the chore and fear in cooking. If you are cooking by recipes, you have to re-learn cooking every night. You have to figure out what the author's opinion of what you should be eating tonight should be. This creates the stress of whether "the recipe will come out or not". Evidently, some recipes work and others don't. The fact is that NO recipes work correctly and you shouldn't depend on them.

Once you start to look at cooking the same as driving your car, working at your career, or practicing your hobby, the things you do without thought every day, you will enjoy the same benefits of cooking that make me happy.

NRLcartoon1) Freedom - I have the freedom to cook ANY ingredients I can find, even if I don't exactly know what they are. I can create fantastic meals from the items I have on-hand and don't have to run to the grocery store for food that the recipe commands. I make recipes from what I already have.

2) Confidence - I have the confidence to know that my meals will be a winner every single time because I repeat a standard process on a wide variety of foods. I can saute many different ingredients, or I can cook one ingredient in many different ways. Confidence makes you happy.

3) Health - I'm happy because I know I'm improving my health with wholesome foods that I cook myself. I love the farmers market and the nutrient rich fresh foods they have there. I've experienced more energy, more brain power, and better sleep patterns because of good food. I know how to cook fresh foods!

4) Family - Cooking is a social skill. My family is excited when I cook because they know it will be exciting and interesting. I attend more parties because of my cooking skills, and I can talk about food topics because I've been behind the stove and seen what happens when I apply heat. Being around friends and family with a good meal makes me very happy.

5) Money - I save money because I can cook. The meals I make at home would cost me $20 a plate or more at my local restaurant. Plus, I save money on the BEST ingredients by purchasing at the farmers market. I'm happy because I know that cooking at home saves me empty calories, bad ingredients, and lots of money over restaurant and convenience foods.

If you're watching Food TV, buying cookbooks, or searching the internet for recipes from bloggers, you're not learning HOW to cook. You're being exposed to entertainment about WHAT to cook. (They often leave out the HOW when it comes to recipes).

However, if you're a curious person who wants to know the HOWs and WHYs behind things, you'll seek out the best information about cooking METHODS over recipes. When you know the 10 steps in grilling, or the 9 steps in a basic saute procedure then you can create meals from the ingredients you have and the creative inspiration in your head. Then, you'll be happy like me.

Does cooking worry you or make you happy?
What do you love about cooking, or what do you hate?
Please "vent" to me with a comment below:

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About Chef Todd

Chef Todd Mohr is a Certified Culinary Educator who has empowered home cooks all over the world with the reliable, dependable, repeatable METHODS behind cooking that build confidence, generate creativity and enable anyone to cook with the ingredients THEY desire.

18 Comments

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  • Chef Todd Mohr
    Chef Todd Mohr
    3:59 PM - 30 September, 2016

    Hey Richard!
    Yes, there are many other people working in the food service industry that have doubts. They question whether all the effort is worth it. If they decide the effort is NOT worth it, they no longer work in food.

    But, you sound like you have a curiosity and passion for making other people happy through food. You want to invent new things, put your own personal mark on your cooking. SO DON'T QUIT!! You are still learning and EVERY experience (good or bad) will help shape the type of chef you'll be in the future.

    I was a chef at a very large government institution. We fed 30,000 people every day. My first jobs were cutting onions for 8 HOURS PER DAY! After I cut onions all day long, then I'd cut peppers all day long. I HATED this job while I was doing it. I couldn't understand why I had to do this horrible task and thought they must hate me.

    Years later, I realized that was the BEST job I ever had. I have amazing knife skills because of the job I hated. I learned about the kitchen and cooking, but also learned about MYSELF and the way I can take the pressure and keep on working.

    You're going to be an amazing chef, as long as you stick with it where other people quit.

  • Richard Avila
    Richard Avila
    4:11 PM - 29 September, 2016

    Dear Chef Todd

    Greetings,
    After I read your post. I began to questioing myself " Do I really love cooking ". My current situation is, right now I have an internship in one of the best 5 stars hotels in Indonesia. However, reality hit me hard when I know that they treat most of the interns / trainee badly since they're short on people. Yet I always hesitate to quit, because after work everyday before I go to sleep, I always remember all the stuff I cook that day and all the smiling and satisfied face of the guest. So my question is, do other chefs also felt this way before or I really didn't fit to be a chef.

    Sorry for my bad English and long post.

    Have a nice day,
    Thank you very much

  • Chef Todd Mohr
    Chef Todd Mohr
    5:46 PM - 15 October, 2015

    Hi Ed!
    I like the idea of cooking as therapy. In this busy world, so many people tell me they don't have time to cook. But, they have time to watch TV or play video games. Cooking is much better for the health and soul.

  • Ed Bricker
    Ed Bricker
    6:48 PM - 14 October, 2015

    I wholeheartedly agree with your five reasons to love cooking. I've often called it my couch, even though I don't necessarily know what I'm doing.... it's a lot cheaper than a therapist! With the knowledge you are sharing with me, Chef Todd, my couch is going to become very comfortable.

  • Chef Todd Mohr
    Chef Todd Mohr
    2:55 PM - 27 June, 2014

    Buongiorno Giovannina!
    Thank you for your kind comments. You sound like an inspired cook who enjoys the flavors of great food and expressing your art through cooking. YOU are the best cook because you cook the way you want to. I say "cook like an artist"!

  • Giovannina
    Giovannina
    9:29 PM - 26 June, 2014

    Hello Chef, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. How interesting that there is actually a word for the fear of cooking. I admit I've been a little critical of people who claim they NEVER cook but now I'll be more compassionate for them since they probably are magierocophobic! ( just had to use it in a sentence). It seems there are quite a few reasons to be afraid of cooking, as you state, and I think it's great that you break it down into simple steps to overcome the fear. Your suggestion of simply using a thermometer is a perfect first step.
    I also love to cook and feel blessed that I come from a family with many great cooks so the skill came so naturally and easily for me. However, I still learn so much from reading information like this and utilize the methods I come across to advance my creativity. I love reading about food and I have very many cookbooks that I enjoy using for IDEAS, but very rarely follow a recipe completely. Thanks for sharing your expertise and I look forward to reading and learning more from you. Ciao, Gio

  • Chef Todd Mohr
    Chef Todd Mohr
    3:18 PM - 22 June, 2014

    You are an inspired cook Ingrid! Thank you for sharing your experiences. I especially love your comment "Cooking is play, it is an expression of self for me." I couldn't agree more!

    The best gift you can give a child is the early introduction to good food and cooking. It makes better adults. You are like so many others who've told me how their Mom or Grandma brought them into the kitchen as a child. They are the adults who respect food most.

  • Ingrid Wood
    Ingrid Wood
    10:38 PM - 20 June, 2014

    Thank you! I love to cook too! I remember hanging out in the kitchen with my mom when I was young, and she would give me cooking things to do: getting all the chicken off the bones for curry chicken is what I remember. I cooked the first meal for our family when I was 6 years old: my mom was taking a certification test for swim teacher, and my dad came to get me from playing outside. I burned the potatoes a bit, but the rest was good 🙂
    I didn't use a recipe book til I was in my mid twenties, and I agree that a lot of recipes don't make sense. Cooking is play, it is an expression of self for me.
    And yes, cooking saves lots of money. For a while, we were pretty dirt-broke. I still cooked, got what I could from the church pantries and bought the few essentials. We never went hungry, always had good nutrition. Cooking is healthy. When I was getting too busy in the roaring 90s and went out to eat a lot, I developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This went away when I started giving myself good nutritious food again.
    I love to preserve food. Someone has a pumpkin they don't know what to do with, I'll take it. Roast the seeds, bake the pumpkin, cube it and freeze it. A flat of almost going bad plums, let's make chutney!
    I'm cooking now 🙂

  • Chef Todd Mohr
    Chef Todd Mohr
    7:40 PM - 20 June, 2014

    You've hit it on the head, Mike! Recipes are guidelines, you CAN improvise. There's no "recipe police" to come to your door and insist you follow the recipe exactly. If it tastes good to you, tastes good to your family, it's a great success!

    Thank you for your kind comment and the great contribution.

  • Mike
    Mike
    7:35 PM - 20 June, 2014

    I love to cook as well, I always have. I also use recipes frequently, but I don't look at them as strict directions, but more like guidelines and ideas. If I don't have something specified, I improvise. If it doesn't look exactly like the picture, so what. My only criteria is, does it taste good and does my family enjoy it. The answer is almost always yes.

    I like your point on the social aspects of cooking. As a kid, the gathering place for the family was always the kitchen. That's where mom was, so that's where we would go (that's also where the food was ;-)). With my children it has often been the same thing, even now that they are grown. When they come home, we gather around the food. I get as much joy from the gathering as I do from the food.

    Mike

  • Chef Todd Mohr
    Chef Todd Mohr
    1:42 PM - 20 June, 2014

    Mohammad please stop. You're making me blush. Your words are so kind and will inspire me to reach out to even more people that can feel like you do. (More people should love me, ha ha). For you to say I've changed your life is the highest compliment anyone can give and I'm deeply touched and appreciative that you would share those feelings. I hope I can come to Mauritius one day, we'll have a feast together!

  • Chef Todd Mohr
    Chef Todd Mohr
    1:39 PM - 20 June, 2014

    Thank you, Wayne. I have great days and I have tough days just like everyone else. Some days I don't think I'm helping anyone at all. Then I get comments like yours. To think that I can help inspire you to be passionate about cooking is a great reward. Thank you for taking the time to tell me. I guess I can't stop now.

  • Wayne
    Wayne
    10:50 AM - 20 June, 2014

    Chef,,your style of teacing makes learning fun and interesting. And the way you break it down into very simple easy steps, explaining the "whys" and "hows" that helps us to understand the message. Your love for cooking really comes through and it gets us passionate too.

  • Mohammad Ibrahim
    Mohammad Ibrahim
    5:36 AM - 20 June, 2014

    Oh my dear chef Todd,

    I love you. I love your style. I love the work you are doing. Your are fantastic.

    I was always looking for somebody like you and I've got you.

    I've learnt from you Basic and Advanced cooking; And I have all your DVD series.

    My dear chef Todd, you have changed my life. Please one day come to my country Mauritius (the Paradise Island)

    Warmest Thanks
    Ibrahim

  • Chef Todd Mohr
    Chef Todd Mohr
    4:44 PM - 19 June, 2014

    Hi Kathy!
    Thank you for the kind comment. One of the things a lot of people misunderstand is that the best tasting ingredients don't need as much cooking skill as bland ingredients. Cooking is not about the number of spices you use to change the flavor of the food, it's about how few ingredients you can use to make flavorful food. I always appreciate your contributions, thank you.

  • kathy
    kathy
    3:34 PM - 19 June, 2014

    Hi, Chef!

    I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your bringing CSAs, farmer's markets, and eating local into the discussion along with cooking nutritious food. Many cooks/chefs can cook tasty food, but I think that it takes a special talent to cook food that is both tasty and nutritious. Enjoy all the goodness that summer brings!

  • Chef Todd Mohr
    Chef Todd Mohr
    1:04 PM - 19 June, 2014

    Hey Wayne!
    Wow, it took me 1500 words to say what you have in just a few! Thank you for the kind comment, you've captured EXACTLY what I hope to motivate and empower others to do. Congratulations on your 1 year survivor anniversary, I'm confident that good food, good family and good cooking will help you stay healthy!

  • Wayne
    Wayne
    12:30 PM - 19 June, 2014

    Cooking used to be a "chore",,much like washing dishes afterwards. But as i got older and began to better understand the benefits of cooking my food instead of buying it,,then it quickly became fun and interesting. Now I love to see what I can create in my kitchen,,using fresh ingredients that i purchased myself from local farmer's markets. And the food is much healthier as well,,I am in control of the foods I eat,,and can avoid the "bad" things that are not good for the body. As a 1 year cancer survivor, watching what i eat has become a huge consideration. So continue your awesome work Chef,,,,show us how great it is to be a cook in our kitchens !!

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