It was around two and half years ago, on a sunny spring morning that I sat on my balcony in Beirut deshelling fresh fava beans. My mom calls me a perfectionist, and as much as I try to prove her wrong, that morning was a great example of my perfectionism getting the best of me. As a dietitian, and wife of one year, I was trying to do things right. Fresh and seasonal, full of nutrients, home-cooked with love – yes deshelling fava beans to make Riz B Fool ticked all the boxes. A slow hour later, a hungry husband waiting and hardly enough fava beans to make more than 2 portions, I realized how bad of an idea this was and thought: “Seriously, WHO HAS TIME?!” I always received and made sarcastic comments about my cooking and about being a great house wife (! أوف شو ست بيت شاطرة), and that day, I thought “rightfully so, it wasn’t a title I wanted anyway.”
[This post is written by Nadeen Haidar, Co-founder and dietitian at Healthy Happy Us, a nutrition and sports diet center in Lebanon.]
Cooking didn’t seem to be my “thing,” at that time, it was a chore – something I had to do because, as a dietitian, as a wife, as a future mom, it is the “right thing” to do.
As we count down the days to start 2017, I can’t help but think of the change of heart I’ve had about cooking. This December, my husband and I prepared around 150 meals and sold them for a charity event, and oh how much we loved it. Today, preparing a meal is an experience that engages all of my senses, each dish is an exploration, a marriage and a story. It a process of changing dull and sometimes even poisonous ingredients, to a wonderful, delicious and nutritious creation. It is as close as this world comes to magic.
Here are four lessons I learned about cooking in 2016 that helped me find my path to a more enjoyable cooking experience. I hope you find inspiration in them: