We all want to prepare great meals for our friends and family because we care deeply about them. We also prepare great meals because we want to be complimented on our abilities to get stressed out, throw a fit, and rip our hair out because we burned the 30-ingredient “savory” pizza and now have to order from Domino’s – if our friends and family want something edible.
Believe it or not, sometimes, less is more. Let’s take a look at how less in the kitchen can be more.
Simple Meals can be hearty
Think of the stews you had when you were a child. A simple combination of meat, potatoes, carrots and corn and you had a hearty meal that was filling, good for you and tasted great. Not every meal needs to be impressive with as many ingredients as you can name and twice as many that you can’t name. How about a meatball sub with mozzarella cheese for a cold day? Simple, tasty and quite easy to prepare.
Less ingredients is less stressful
The fewer ingredients you have, the less you have to chop, peel, dice, cube, clean, or even grind. With fewer ingredients, your stress levels will be lower and as your stress comes down, the work of your taste buds are able to rise to the surface of your consciousness. This means that not only do you receive the benefit of less stress, but you are able to enjoy your meals more.
Having less ingredients also means there is probably less to clean up. Most of the time, fewer ingredients mean only one pot or pan. This makes cleanup a cinch and can usually be done while cooking. Fewer ingredients also mean there is less chance for packaged food to end up in your cooking, which can elevate oxytocin levels, which is produced when you are stressed.
Not as stressful to plan or implement
Speaking of stress, does the endless list for the grocery store begin to stress you out? What if you were to cut that list into thirds? Would it be less stressful? If so, try cooking with fewer ingredients. Yes, it does take a little more thought to come up with recipes, rather than pouring some milk into processed pasta and cheese sauce, but it is much easier to plan out once you get used to it.
Planning with fewer ingredients means you can quickly change your mind about what to cook and you don’t have to worry about a lot of food going bad, plus you can also mix and match different ingredients, as you like. This makes for an interesting dinner if you can pair two or more new foods together.
If you are used to putting on a show or buying large amounts of food, try working with less. I bet you will be surprised with how much better the food tastes and how must stress you lose during the process. Get into the kitchen, grab a few ingredients and start cooking.