booberry85

How do you keep from getting burned out from cooking?

booberry85
last month

The last month or so I have been in a canning frenzy. First it was tomatoes, now it's peaches, with apples to follow (if I don't run out of jars). Quite frankly after having some canning marathons, I don't feel like cooking. I don't feel like doing much of anything. I read an article on Epicurious today about this very thing. What do you do to prevent cooking burnout?


Here's a link to the article.

Epicurious - Cooking burnout

Comments (27)

  • Lars
    last month
    last modified: last month

    One thing I do is to buy some new tools or gadgets, if possible, but only one at a time and space them out. Getting new knives always inspires me, and I boughta new vegetable cleaver recently for our house in L.A. It was a bit expensive, but I did find it very inspiring, and I took my cheaper Mac vegetable cleaver to our house in Cathedral City; thus I did not feel like I was being too extravagant, as I needed that knife in C.C., or one like it. Sometimes just getting a new pan is inspiring. I had to get new bread pans and a new wok for the house in C.C., and I have enjoyed using them.

    I guess it helps that we have been splitting our time between the two houses. I also bought a new sewing machine so that I can have one in each house, and I've been working on a lot of sewing projects. I always have to be doing something creative, and that can be sewing, cooking, or designing.

    For me, there is the challenge in cooking of having to work with whatever ingredients I have on hand. It sounds like you did that with your canning marathon. I think it would be best for you to take a break and enjoy what you have already made and think about how you will use the food you canned in the near future. Spend some time relaxing and contemplating. For me that is very easy to do, but I am a very relaxed person, and not everyone is.

    booberry85 thanked Lars
  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    last month

    I had a rather full harvest processing day yesterday. And most of the weekend. Fortunately whatever I'm prepping also becomes the nights meal in some form. While roasting a big pan of tomatillos garlic and peppers I put a sheet pan dinner on the lower rack, etc. Two more trays to go but now I have tomatoes ripening that need processing. Kraut and kimchi to make. Most important I have a few pounds of mushrooms to make a ragout that can't wait. And will be dinner tonight. Lunch tomorrow.

    ^^Now that looks like burn-out. Not really. Though once a month during this mess, I hit a wall of frustration. Usually a household string of events happens every 15 minutes all the same day. TP out in both bathrooms and none in the hall closet or under the sink. The sinks are all out of hand washing soap, dish washing soap container empty. Tissue boxes down to the last, Ptowel empty. RO sink drinking water stopped working...this all happened one day last week.

    Up and down the stairs to garage hoarding storage. On-line trouble shooting for water, batteries needed for kitchen scale, water tester, and both car keys needed battery changing.

    My solution is having a dozen different homemade fully cooked meals in the freezer that just need a saucepan, a sheet pan, or into the steam oven straight from the freezer. No prep or dirty kitchen. On top of that I made a dozen charcuterie kits complete with a few cheeses, pate, prosciutto, hard salami, nuts, dried fruit....about 4 of those left in the freezer and a few pizzas I froze. I make extras when we have pizza night. Last month lost power for a week. Freezer meals were perfect.

    Large family with picky kids?, and if my parents also lived with me?....I would be a muffin tin prep-ahead cook. Frittatas, Mac-n-cheese and mashed potato cups. Sandwiches prepped straight from the grocery bag haul and into the freezer. Ham and Swiss or whatever wrapped, frozen and straight to the griddle. Quesadillas, soup and chili pints. Breakfast English muffin egg and ham and cheese, easy sheet pan dinners...weekend waffles. Make an extra 1 or 2 dozen and freeze. etc.


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  • seagrass_gw
    last month

    I'm close to terminally bored with figuring out what to eat. I don't shop for groceries very often because of the pandemic. My husband will pick up things here and there. I miss browsing markets - always got inspired that way. Now, we're lucky if we can find ingredients we want. I have been ordering essentials from Amazon. We live in a remote, seasonal home location - a lot of restaurants haven't even opened this year. No delivery, limited take out. We did have a lovely meal last night at a restaurant that has outdoor seating but it's getting to be too cool for that soon. We don't feel safe eating at indoor venues.

  • Lars
    last month

    seagrass_gw, don't the restaurants have outdoor heating? The ones here do, but it's not used that often. In Palm Springs it does get a bit colder in the winter, however, and in the summer, they have misters to cool you off for outdoor dining.

    There is a large area of downtown Palm Springs that has been closed to traffic so that people can dine in the street, but I haven't gone to that yet either.

    All the restaurants that I've been to in San Francisco that had outdoor dining also had outdoor heating - and it is used all year, as August can be quite cold. A friend there told me that some restaurants have been moving tables into the streets where the city has removed parking for them, but of course this area will not be heated and therefore uncomfortable. Also, I really would not want to be sitting in a street with constant buses going by.

    I did go grocery shopping today and found a nice selection of seafood, but I never stock up on that and only buy it fresh. They had a lot of nice vegetables too, including Brussels sprouts and green beans that looked particularly nice. It is always inspiring to find nice fresh vegetables. I should have bought some Napa cabbage to make kimchee, but maybe I'll do that later.

  • plllog
    last month

    I've been in a cooking frenzy because I have a deadline to get through my current projects. Yesterday I was totally burned out. I didn't cook so much as toast (there was plenty of cooked food to grab and go). Instead, I cleaned. Today, I'm making chicken stock. And If I have any oomph this evening, I'll be making meatloaf and meatballs, so I can bake tomorrow. Then I get the whole weekend from Thursday through Monday off. In other words, when I get burnt out, I make sure there's plenty to eat, and quit. :) Or order in and quit.

    Now boredom? That's another thing entirely. Ordering in something I'd never cook, like Chinese or Indian (I would cook Indian, but don't have the experience to do it without dedicating a whole week to one meal...).

    But for just please don't make me peel another onion kind of burn out, I take a break. :)

    booberry85 thanked plllog
  • seagrass_gw
    last month

    Lars - restaurants on the outer Cape have had a very rough go of it this year. Some of our favorites chose not to open for lunch. Some didn't open at all. Not just restrictions because of the pandemic, but also lack of J1 visa workers from Europe. Very severe staffing shortages. And no, we don't have restaurants with outdoor heating as we have experienced in Europe and as you describe in CA. Outdoor dining here is mostly either seasonal clam shack picnic tables or cobbled together pandemic blacktop venues. Much of this end of Cape Cod is National Seashore and it's not highly developed.

    booberry85 thanked seagrass_gw
  • beesneeds
    last month

    Not really burnout, since I still wanted to cook... but last fall I hit a point of cooking blahs. I was just bored with cooking the same ole stuff.

    So, I decided I wanted to get better at some cooking. Got a bunch of fun seasonings and mixes of the hispanic/latino/spanish family- Central and South America, Spain and Portugal, a bunch of the islands. Peruvian is now a fave to cook :)

    Ordered up some garden seeds to get back into micro greens and try unusual stuff I don't usually grow. Damn fun to grow and eat!

    Ordered up some other spices and teas in bulk... yummy!

    Tried a couple of the boxed dinner services- to break up my usual with recipes from somewhere else to shake things up. That only lasted a few months between two services, lol. I moved past that.

    Some of the Asian street foods and soups, watched on Youtube and watching Anime- well then, I wanted to get to excel at those techniques and tastes since we got nothing like those around here.

    Watched a lot of street foods and fests from all over the place in general, lol. A bunch of odd stuff where people try strange recipes and MRE's, cheap cooking, wartime cooking, jailhouse cooking.

    Brushed off my old Southern and soul skills, ordered up some cajun stuff, and now back on top of that. I had almost forgotten how yummy and how good at those styles of cooking I am. Remembered how much I wasn't fond of cleaning whole shrimp all gritty from the gulf, lol.

    Got my Middle Eastern and Indian skills and foods back up to snuff... still working on getting a few things right.

    Was introduced to Royal Corona beans here on GW... which led to getting a whole bunch of other beans I hadn't tried yet and really enjoying working with.

    Decided to try copycat of a few of my favorite things from Chicago- Reza's mushrooms, a particular mulligatawny soup.... the garlic stewed mushrooms from Bristol faire.

    Cleaned up and re-evaluted my cookbooks. Ended up getting rid of a bag full of them... made room for the few that are more recent additions :) Also cleaned up and re-evaluated my kitchen stuff. Got rid of a bunch, and also picked up a couple new pans. I LOVE my newer 4 quart soup pot.

    Re-perfected my knife skills, I bet my chefs would be thrilled with my cuts again. Really got good at using my instant pot along with the pot in pot cooking, and also my sous vide stick- both were presents.

    I do get canning burnout though- I get tired of doing it, and tired of cooking while doing it, lol. So a bunch of slow cookers and made stuff for the freezer to pull out without having to cook.

    booberry85 thanked beesneeds
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I guess I don't do anything to prevent it, in fact I can't figure out if I even get burnt out on cooking. I certainly have days where I don't feel like cooking anything, or have been too busy to do so, and when I do cook, I try make enough to last more than one meal, so there's something in the fridge for the days when I didn't cook.

    I'm not somebody who has to have a lot of variety in my meals. I'm happy with tried & true favorites, and luckily hubby is as well. Neither of us object to eating the same thing for 2 days in a row.

    I think I have a pretty good repertoire and occasionally try something new. I like to use up what's on hand, rather than shopping for special ingredients.

    For instance, right now there's a batch of pasta salad & some chickpea salad in the fridge - made yesterday - & I made a couple of new things too: cornflake crusted chicken legs & apple cinnamon muffins with Martha Stewart recipes. I had the last piece of chicken & chickpea salad for my dinner tonight, because this was a no-cook day.

    I'm planning on cooking more stuff tomorrow, and hopefully everything will last a couple of days.

    After reading that article, I reflected that I bundle my cooking and kitchen tasks with listening to podcasts - which I love. Maybe that's why I don't feel burned out - that and not cooking every day.

    booberry85 thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • artemis_ma
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Lars, I've never heard of a restaurant with outdoor heating!!! It's not a "thing" in New England. (Maybe this year some places will try that??)

    Anyway with cooking burnout... yes, I'm getting that. I do some dining outside at restaurants, but with cold weather coming, that's not to last too long. Take out is problematic - fine for a breakfast sandwich or a BLT one can eat in the car, or pizza one can re-heat upon getting home - but any real meal will be unpleasantly tepid after taking the 30 minutes or more to drive it back. The purpose, after all, is to avoid always-cooking.


    booberry85 thanked artemis_ma
  • Islay Corbel
    last month

    Outdoor heating will soon be banned in France, I imagine it's a European directif and a very good one too. It's a bit ecologically dodgy to heat outside! Personally I would boycott a restaurant using it.


    I live with a Frenchman so not cooking isn't an option 😂

    I get into my books for inspiration. Or, good old egg and fries. Who doesn't like that!

  • booberry85
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks everyone! Lately, I've been trying to find inspiration in my own freezer and cabinets. A couple days ago, I made peach bbq sauce. So I pulled out a pork tenderloin from the freezer and used the bbq sauce. Yum! I had made clam chowder and froze it over the 4th of July holiday. So I pulled that out for last night's dinner. DH bought chicken chili at Costco's which will be tonight's dinner.


    DH doesn't eat leftovers. He came from a family of 8. So leftovers were rare. After 24 years of marriage he still can't grasp the idea of leftovers! So I can't make or buy a roasted chicken and make several meals out of it. He won't eat it. Grrr!!! Lasagna or Thanksgiving dinner are about the only things he'll eat leftover.

  • Marilyn_Sue
    last month

    If I want to eat, I have to cook. :)

    Sue

  • plllog
    last month

    If I want to eat and don't want to cook, I make a sandwich. :)

  • ediej1209 AL Zn 7
    last month

    DH is diabetic so not fixing meals is not an option. Obviously I've had to adjust to a more restrictive menu. We used to eat very carb-heavy. Now I reserve most pasta dishes for my lunches. It does get very repetitive though.

  • Gooster
    last month
    last modified: last month

    New (and old) cookbooks are a source of inspiration for me. I've also been guided by what's coming in the box, and looking for ways to turn foods into something new.

    But really, takeout is a nice break, especially something that takes some effort in ingredient acquisition or special cookware to get right. When we had Indian the first time after months, it was like fireworks went off. Just having the complex curries, naan, dosas, samosas and other chaat that would have taken hours to prepare and source (let alone the tandoor) was a big treat.

    Outdoor heating is common where I'm at, despite the environmental impact. They used to offer lap blankets in winter, but I'm certain that will be suspended. We've not eaten outside, however.

  • Lars
    last month
    last modified: last month

    No gas outdoor heaters are used, but instead the more Eco-friendly infared quartz, which heat tables only when occupied. In Palm Springs, a lot of the electricity is from wind and solar power, and so I do not see how that affects the ecology. I think some also comes from the hydroelectric plant at Hoover Dam. These do not affect the carbon footprint.

    Which types of outdoor heaters are being banned in Europe?

  • moosemac
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I cook dinner for 6 people, 7 days a week plus make lunches. We used to dine out at least once each week and do a couple of take out lunches but since COVID that is no longer the case. I am sick of cooking. My solution is I scour the internet for new recipes and ideas. I work full time so I cook and prep my meals for the week on Sundays. That at least gives me a break during the week. Over the summer the grill and main dish salads were staples. As we transition into fall, I have added more sheet pan dinners and one on pot dinners to the repetoire. Soups and stews are next up on the hit parade as the the weather turns much cooler.

    Last week I made a Shrimp Boil Sheet Pan meal that was easy and amazing. Last Sunday I cooked a beef sirloin roast and a pork loin in the smoker so we have meat for the week for meals and sandwiches. I also made a big pot of BBQ Beans and another pot of rice for side dishes. I will foodsaver and freeze a portion of the meats and side dishes for later use.

    booberry85 thanked moosemac
  • krystalmoon2009
    last month

    I have to grab some kind of takeout once a week or I would go crazy. I like cooking but every day I get tired of it. I don't really like leftovers, but hubby will eat them.

    booberry85 thanked krystalmoon2009
  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    last month

    Wow 6. I do the same for two. NOTat all considered leftovers. It is meal planning.

    Pre-covid, weekends involved simple early morning mixed grains/bean for the week...well three-4 days. (I have a limit unnecessarily...as to me food changes after 2-three days but DH will eat it). Easy lunches for him.😜

    Grains and beans hold up fine. Some proteins. Veg not so much. All my veg is fresh from the crisper, but that is an easy prepped one side dish and salad.

    I've become covid inventive. MisfitsMarket did not impress so many here but I'm a scratch cook that need a challenge. Keeps my brain spinning and morning wake ups-after a bad dream?...think 'whats for dinner'. (crazy dreams😬)

    I have the next 4-5 days planned loosely. Flexible, but need to do a crisper drawer inventory. Stock in my immediate future. No waste.


    booberry85 thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    last month

    Intrigued by that shrimp boil sheet pan dinner & wishing hubby liked shrimp - I love it!

  • plllog
    last month

    It doesn't work for burn-out prevention, but if you already have burn-out, chocolate helps!

    booberry85 thanked plllog
  • DawnInCal
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I love to cook. I avoid burnout by planning for leftovers a couple of times a week. Knowing I don't have to go full out meal planning every day ensures that I continue to enjoy planning and cooking meals.


    booberry85 thanked DawnInCal
  • amylou321
    last month

    Sometimes I do get burned out. Not really cooking but more so the deciding what to make and the clean up. I just press on. On those days I really am over it is when I just do something very simple. Sandwiches or quesadillas,maybe a burger or something.

    booberry85 thanked amylou321
  • Islay Corbel
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Lars, as far as I understand it, it's any outdoor heating. It is as silly and bad for the planet as exterior air conditioning in places like the qatar stadium. We are killing off our planet.

  • nicole___
    27 days ago

    All I have to do is buy something ready made from the grocery store freezer or canned. Yuck! That gets me wanting to cook....to eat wel! ☺

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    27 days ago

    From what I understand, the outdoor heaters are propane. They burn clean? Some restaurants here have back outdoor patios that use them. Enclosed by four walls but outside. Seems ridiculous to heat outside and not necessarily legal in plain sight. They do radiate downward. We have a fire pit in the mountains. (wood fired) Similar radiating heat. 40ºF but blazing warm sitting around close. Night sky. Priceless.

    I read today that NYC may allow them. To extend the outdoor eating season on closed off streets. Bubble tents and mini greenhouses are gaining popularity.

    We will not be restaurant dining anytime soon. No need or desire even before covid. For those that do, the aerosols will be killed anywhere near that heat source.

    May be the carbon footprint if propane is traveling a long distance. Fuel choices are chosen based on availability. Natural gas is a direct line here. Sits and waits until we need it. Not traveling far. Our best choice.

    I don't like that our local farm share is not taking back their expensive insulated bags that were such a good system pre covid. So easy to clean them. Even an extra zippered bag foil inside. So frustrating. But we will reuse them for years if they will not take them back in the future.

    We are evironmentalist fence sitters. I need both sides of the arguments and the impact studied. We need lives living with commerce. And safe. Wake-up call about excess.