I’m always searching for new cooking ideas. Sometimes they come from my local farmers market, other times I have to travel great distances to discover something inspiring.
I’ve been bored with my cooking lately, it’s not exciting me anymore. I find myself preparing the same meals again and again. I gravitate toward the same ingredients at the market every Sunday, bringing home a duplicate of last week’s menu of green beans, broccoli, chicken, beef and potatoes.
My cooking has gone the easy route, the path of least thought, the easy and comfortable. I’d even call it cowardly. I used to be brave in the kitchen while trying new cooking ideas, but now I’m lazy and meek.
You might feel the same way in your home kitchen, the flame has gone out.
It’s not that I don’t know HOW to cook. I think I’ve established that fact from the Executive Chef positions I’ve held and the tens of thousands of people that benefit from my cooking instruction every day.
The cooking part isn’t the problem. WHAT to cook has become the problem.
Geez, I can cook chicken 25 ways. You might think that’s exciting, but every one of those 25 chicken dishes are still made with chicken! I need even MORE variety than chicken done two dozen ways.
I need new foods and cooking ideas to combine with the cooking methods that I rely upon every day. I don’t want to change HOW I cook because that’s never let me down. What I need is a new ingredient, a new outlook, a new way of looking at the same old same old in a new light.
So I went to Spain. It might seem like a long way to go just to refresh my cooking, but I know the greatest inspirations I’ve had in my cooking career have come from other cultures, other countries that use ingredients I’ve never heard of, and treat food differently than I have.
What I’m finding in Spain and my tour of Spanish cuisine has changed the way I think about preparing food in my home and has immediately given me dozens of new cooking ideas to bring back with me.
Within minutes of getting off the plane, I had discovered “Tapas”, the two-bite food items that are everywhere in Spain. I love tapas because there are no rules in preparing them. Just about ANY ingredient paired with ANY other ingredient makes a tapa. This thought was liberating!
It’s made me think that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to adding variety to your cooking, and that good things can come in small packages if you know where to look for the new cooking ideas.
You can join me to see some of my other inspirations from Spain and other Global Food Finds when you join me for my FREE online webinar workshop, “International Food Finds: Discovering Global Inspirations for New and Exciting Meals at Home.
TODD, you are so hilarious! Typical of something you would comment is this title to this video about eating in Spain and you’ll never go back! Haha, you’ll never go back to Spain?lol??????
Thank you for your kind comment. Sometimes I’m funny on purpose, other times by accident. I hope I DO go back to Spain very soon because the food there was so fantastic.
One of the sad restrictions in the US is finding FRESH foods to create ‘Tapas’ with… Yes, we have a Farmer’s Market once a week, but sometimes even those are not so fresh. Whereas, in Spain, and elsewhere in Europe, you can easily find Good, Fresh Produce and Meats for reasonable prices. What was your Favorite Combination, Chef?
You’re correct. I can bring the IDEAS home from Spain and bring new excitement to my home cooking, but it’s still not the same as BEING in Spain and tasting that great fresh food.
I found myself eating a lot of Duck for some reason in Spain. There were tapa with duck breast and strawberry jam and bleu cheese that was outrageous. Patatas Bravas were everywhere and fun to see the differences. I had shrimp pancakes in Seville with fried peppers and onions that was fantastic.
There can’t possibly be a favorite because every time you taste something new, THAT becomes the favorite!