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How to cure culinary anxiety?

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Not About Food 19

How to cure culinary anxiety?

babette feasts | Feb 1, 2011 09:21 PM

it's not me, it's my boyfriend, and it's kind of frustrating sometimes. Today I stopped by after work and he said he had steak, portabello mushrooms, and asparagus for dinner. I thought that sounded great (even though I don't like steak, which he should know by now, but if someone else is cooking I wasn't about to complain). A little later that somehow seemed like an incomplete meal or too much work or something - his comment was, "I guess when I shop I need to think about things that will go together as a meal" - so we had some mediocre leftover take-and-bake pizza instead. It wasn't meant to be a dinner date, so no problem, but I am trying to sort out how I can help him be a more confident cook.

He is an adventurous eater and will eat just about anything, yet gets paralyzed by decision-making in the grocery store and gets too intimidated to cook for me. I have a hard time understanding the paralysis (but do understand the intimidation) because I've been cooking professionally for 15 years. He is also younger (late 20's) and doesn't have quite as much experience just plain cooking for himself. When we cook together he has OK knife skills but lacks focus and seems to have a hard time seeing how the raw ingredients will end up as dinner, what needs to happen and how long it will take to transform them from the raw state to something delicious. I really do try not to be harsh about his efforts, and compliment and thank him for things done well, and he has learned a few things. Maybe I just don't understand how cooking can seem like such a chore to someone when I find it relaxing and satisfying and you end up with something to eat. I suggested the other day that he should sometimes pick a recipe (I gave him a pretty simple-but-tasty looking Jamie Oliver book last summer and i think he has an app or two on his phone) but I wonder if that will happen.

Any tips to bridge the gap between enjoying food and making it? And especially how to make the grocery store an easier place for this guy. I realize that not everyone is going to love to cook, but I would really like it if he did more than just chop a few veg every now and then!

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