Motivating young adult to cook
I have a 23 year old intern who finds the kitchen scary and intimidating. She did not learn to cook while she was growing up. Her mother did everything, she went to college then her first job meals were included. I really want to giver her some basic skills but if she is scared, can this be overcome ?
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Find out what scares her about the kitchen and start from there. For example, knives can be scary. We teach our children that they are dangerous and should be avoided, when we should be teaching them that a knife is your best friend/ally in the kitchen. If treated with respect. Then teach about a good sharp knife and basic knife skills. Respect, not fear.
It's a shame home economics is not taught in school (that's what I've been told). I grew up in the 80's and remember that it was one of the most fun classes. I made pizza from scratch and it was delicious. Which brings me to my next point, teach her to make her favorites. She already knows what it should look, feel, and taste like. Keeping the food in familiar territory can help her be more comfortable and lessen those fears.
Lastly, repetition. The more you do, the easier it gets. Even if it is as simple as boiling water for morning coffee or tea.
Good luck! I don't even know this young person, but I am rather excited for her and wish her the best :)
We’ve done a whole roasted chicken which is a KEY skill. With that, roasted potatoes, sautéed green beans, you get the idea. We have also done chicken thighs on a sheet pan. One night we made queso, guacamole, and pico de gallo, and easy enchiladas.
Next time she wants to do seafood and risotto, so we’ll probably sear a couple of scallops, some shrimp, and make a very simple risotto.
Cooking together makes it easy and I can catch her if she stumbles!
Was going to suggest similar - provide delicious home cooking and an enjoyable meal, let the person enjoy the occasion and maybe learn bit along the way.
In effect, imitate a good hone upbringing around food or a good small participation cooking class.
But to the original poster, I'd ask you to stop for a bit more reflection.
You want to teach her and help her overcome her fear in the kitchen.
But does she want to learn and to overcome?
Even if yes, but especially if there are strong negative food experiences or associations in her past, I would proceed with caution.
As MMH pointed out, some people find the meal kit services useful. There are enough "simple quick meals" cookbooks to sink an aircraft carrier. There are plenty of classes as well.
But what it really comes down to is this young woman being motivated to learn, to make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. No one cooks Michelin star meals just starting up, not even the chefs who have Michelin stars.
This is not much different than learning any other skill in life: knitting, Linux system administration, auto repair, woodworking, building Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, whatever.
Some people will gravitate to more structured coursework and curriculum, others might be fine just puttering in the kitchen with random recipes or maybe watching a YouTube video. All great cooks learn the craft of cooking and are able to improvise with what they have.
If she lacks personal motivation to improve herself in this area, it will be very difficult. She *MUST* want to do this.
You don't need to attend Juilliard to be a great musician but for sure you won't be one if you aren't motivated to improve yourself.
It starts with her motivation.