Finding The Inspiration To Change Your Family Menu!
Kick the gender stereotypes to one side - it doesn't matter - if you're a parent, you're going to spend a great deal of time making meals for the family.
Whether it's meatloaf, fries & nuggets, pasta and meatballs or a chicken caesar salad, meals need to be made.
But sometimes, things can get a little stale - making a great meal sometimes descends into a boring task if you're making it weekly for months. It's important to vary things up.
Most might simply research articles or watch cooking shows, but buying new equipment or ingredients and throwing yourself into the deep end is a great way to start. After all, it's all well and good following recipes, but if you want to make something special - put your own twist on it!
Searching around for inspiration isn't hard if you want to up your cooking game and add some new recipes to the family dining table. There are plenty of bloggers doing great and wonderful things and they are only a google search away. There are also plenty of sites that allow you to search by ingredient, just in case the family fridge is looking a bit empty!
One cool thing to do if you really need some inspiration is to look into food tours. It is a bit of an 'out there' option, but people like Emilia Delizia are taking foodies on food adventures where you can experience some truly authentic cuisine and learn to cook like the locals do. You could be looking at Parmesan production one day, before moving onto balsamic vinegar and pasta making. It’s a great way to expand your horizons and focus on food. If you can make proper pasta from scratch, you might never be stuck for meal ideas again as long as you’ve got the bare minimum needed to make it!
Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with some basic meals. This gets classed as 'mom cooking' and that's such a horrible little label. It implies that moms cook dumbed down meals for kids - but that's really, really unfair. It’s hard work being a mom and sometimes that leads to some improvisation, that’s where the true test of your cooking comes in. Being a mom is stressful and you're doing enough by just getting foods on plates. Maybe that's 'real cooking' as this mom had to say on Epicurious:
"The truth is, it takes enormous skill, patience, and ingenuity to churn out meals night after night. Real cooking means looking into a fridge stocked only with rice, shredded cheese, and cucumbers and being able to turn it into a meal in 15 minutes. Real cooking is the ability to wash lettuce while a crying toddler hangs off of your leg. Real cooking is repeating this routine every single day—no matter how tired you are—and still getting excited to try a new recipe. Before I had children, when I had the time to make things like homemade herb-printed pasta from scratch without worrying about keeping a hungry kid up late, I thought being a good cook meant making ambitious, multi-course meals. But I was wrong. Being a good cook means being able to think on your feet, to improvise with food, to instinctively know the most efficient order in which to prep each ingredient in order to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible. Before kids, I was an okay cook. Becoming a parent turned me into a good one."
It's a great idea to figure out around ten staple recipes that your family loves and you love cooking. You can then try to vary these recipes a few times and add variations of these dishes - this could potentially set you up for life and ensure that your family are always eating good. It's also a bonus if these recipes have the same foundation of ingredients so you can bulk buy and save money. The variations are amazing as they will keep your recipes interesting and ensure that no-one is tired of eating the same food over and over. Basic chicken and vegetable dishes are amazing for this as you can mix and match cooking methods, veggies and spices to achieve a new recipe each time that is truly, truly different!
Whatever you choose to do, you'll just need to do right by your family and cook the food they want to eat!