You come back home after yet another tiring day at work. Exhausted mentally and physically, how does the idea of unwinding yourself in the kitchen, cooking a fulfilling meal for yourself and your loved ones sound?
I am sure many of us would find it one of the least appealing activities post work but think twice. If you enjoy cooking and have been indulging in occasional weekend kitchen escapades, then “cooking as a stress buster” is definitely worth a try.
Most people love food. Food is one of the things that connect people. When people meet somewhere, they always meet over drinks or food.
If you love food, the best way to follow your passion is to get into the kitchen and try out as many recipes as possible. When you love food, you will concentrate more on making good food, and you will have no time for stress.
So why will cooking help you relieve stress? Stress relief is all about relaxing your senses, releasing your emotions and indulging in activities that give you unconditional joy and happiness.
The sights and smells of an active kitchen are a great way to engage all of your senses. Whether you’re chopping ingredients, listening for a pot of water to boil or catching a whiff from something inside the oven, this sensory experience is an effective way to temporarily detach from the rest of the world around you.
For many, food holds an emotional value. It is a way to celebrate special occasions, observe cultural practices and bring joy to your near and dear ones.
Because cooking engages our senses, it has the ability to activate memories. The smell of a dish might remind you of your grandmother’s home, or perhaps your favorite restaurant or vacation.
Allowing yourself to be immersed in these memories as you cook is a therapeutic way to relieve stress and boost your mood.
Cooking together with your family is also a great way to bond and make new memories. It invigorates your equation with people in a new way and this can be a fun recreational activity as well.
Don’t be afraid to call the kitchen your domain. If you find that inviting additional cooks into the kitchen stresses you out, then it’s OK to convey so.
Cooking can be a therapeutic and personal experience and it’s important to do what works best for you.
Creativity in cooking opens up new horizons. Whether it’s experimenting with an original dish or recreating a favorite with new ingredients, try to get creative. The next time you go to the grocery store, choose a fruit or vegetable you’ve never used before and lookup ways you could prepare it.
Getting creative is a great way to release stress and stimulate different parts of the brain. I for one try fusion foods- how about an Indo-Italian pasta with a tinge of tikka masala.
Watching cooking shows and experimenting them is another great way to make you feel satisfied and excited. Being able to create what you saw your favorite chef create on a TV show will certainly boost your adrenaline and there is no greater joy when you match your champion chef with your version of the recipe that excites you.
Cooking what makes you happy is extremely important. While there is value in a nutrient-rich meal, not everything you cook has to be “healthy.” Prepare meals that excite you.
If you’re only picking dishes you know you won’t enjoy, what is supposed to be a stress-releasing activity can quickly turn into a draining, overwhelming exercise.
Corporates are recognizing cooking as a platform to bring together employees. Microsoft Corporation recently published a cookbook, “Cooking from the Heart-6 feet apart” compiled by their employees with a charity clause tied to it. Employees contributed their recipes. Shortlisted recipes were published and the proceeds from the inter-company sales went to “Feeding America”, USA’s largest hunger-relief organization that provides food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 meal pantries and food programs.
If you are contributing to a noble cause while enjoying your passion, what better stress buster could you ask for.
The writer, Amit Anshu is a Principal Project Manager at Microsoft and here he shares one of his favorite recipes for my blog.
Grilled Turnips in Honey Mustard Sauce
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Turnips- 3 medium-sized, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rings
- Honey mustard sauce-8 tbsp (You can regulate as per your taste)
- Turmeric powder- 1 tbsp
- Fresh lime juice- 3 tbsp
- Fresh ground pepper- 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Red chili powder- 1 tbsp
- Cooking oil- your choice
- Wash turnips and nicely peel off the top skin.
- Slice the turnips into rings of 1/4th inch thickness.
- Marinate the turnips with turmeric powder, salt, lime juice, and red chili powder. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.
- In a saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Add the marinated turnips to boiling water. Simmer the stove to low and let the turnips get boiled for 5 -7 minutes.
Keep the marinated spices aside. (They will be added to the honey mustard sauce.)
- Take out the turnips, pat them dry and keep them aside.
- Take a grill pan, add oil and when the oil is hot, add the turnips. Grill the turnips (Should take not more than 3-4 minutes on each side.)
- As the turnips get grilled, prepare your honey mustard sauce. You can use it from the market, but make sure, you add the leftover marinated spices, salt, and lime juice to the sauce.
- As the turnips get grilled, pour the honey mustard sauce over them in the grill pan, and grill on low for another minute or two.
- Serve hot.