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Fight the Home Office Blues with these 3 Cooking and Eating Tips

    3 easy tips to combate the home office blues..with Food!

    Cooking. Do you cook? You either love it or hate it. Do you eat out? I’ve cooked. A lot. I’ve spent a great deal on restaurant meals too. I don’t eat out much anymore. I’d rather go out three times a year for an amazing meal than twelve times a year for an average one. But you’ve got to eat. Home office and homeschooling mean we’re eating at home more than we were. Are we getting fatter? Probably, but this isn’t a post about exercise. Read on, though, because I actually do include an exercise tip.

    How Many Meals Do We Eat Each Year?

    Think back on how many meals you make for yourself and the family, though. Mind-boggling. Think about it. If we live for 80 years and eat three meals a day, we’re eating about 90 000 meals. Not including snacks. That’s a lot of grocery shopping. It’s also a lot of dishes. Does your grocery store have a point system? Mine does. It makes it better. I wish I got points for all the dishes I wash.

    What about the meals we cook we don’t eat? For the kids, parents, friends. I trained and worked as a chef for many years. I’ve lost count of how many meals I’ve plated. Let’s just say it was more than a few. From Canada to Europe, from McDonald’s to 4-star hotels, for more than a decade.

    Chocolate Recipes Can Help Sweeten the Pot

    Do you cook from the hip, or do you use recipes? Recipes, right? Fuggetaboutit! Who hasn’t got a shelf of recipe books? I’ve got fewer than I started with. Do you use yours? Want some more? You can check out my 2009 book “Art in Chocolate” or any of my recent novels and have some more.

    “Not Now, Katrin” contains the most recipes of the trilogy. Chocolate Bacon Truffles, White Chocolate Goat Cheese Parfait, Chocolate Espresso Sponge Cakes with Sweet Onion Marmalade … these recipes are not your grandmother’s apple pie, but I guarantee they will kick your recipe regimen up a notch.

    Cooking and Eating for Our Physical Health

    There’s a real upside to actually cooking a meal. Cooking lets you control the ingredients. You also take more time preparing a meal than you would if you open a bag of cheese puffs or go to a drive-thru. It’s a healthier alternative. It can also be fun. Find the right person, and it can also be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Maybe you only get as far as the wine. There’s the exercise tip I promised. Sex burns on average 101 calories for men and 69 calories for women, burning an average of 3.6 calories per minute. Men seem to be doing the heavy lifting in this study.

    Cooking is not only good for our physical health. A 2018 study published in Harvard Health noted that “A growing body of scientific evidence supports teaching patients how to cook meals at home as an effective medical intervention for improving diet quality, weight loss, and diabetes prevention.”

    I can tell you from painful experience that the kitchen is also where many accidents happen. I’ve burned and cut myself on more than one occasion. So. Take the sex into the bedroom.

    “Two-thirds of home fires start in the kitchen, 480 people die a year in kitchen fires, and 350,000 people are injured by kitchen knives each year.”

    Cooking and Eating for Our Mental Health

    This isn’t the first time you’re going to hear that cooking has more than a positive impact on our mental health. Whether baking your own cookies, crafting jellies and jams, or making a pot of oatmeal on a cold morning, spending time in the kitchen does our souls a favour. Turn on some music or an audiobook while preparing a meal, and enjoy the time you have to spend in the kitchen.

    The act of cooking or baking puts us in a different state of mind. We become completely focused and absorbed in what we are doing. We forget about ourselves in the process, and we largely lose track of time. In this state, the mind and body work together in harmony.

    Cooking strengthens our mindfulness, too. It lets us focus on the here and now and satisfies our creativity. Whether to help your memory, relieve stress, or sadness, cooking and working with food can be very therapeutic. You can even participate in a chocolate workshop.

    Home Office Cooking and Eating Tips

    These three tips can be used alternately. Try one a day. See? Now half of your week’s cooking is already done.

    • * Follow Tip 1 if you are bored and have a lot of time on your hands.
    • * Use Tip 2 if you have to plan one more meal, you may very well go stark raving mad. You need a break.
    • * If your TV is broken, and you need a way to be fine with that? Then Tip 3 is the tip for you.
    • * Bonus Tip: Make toast.

    “Toast is a generally underrated vehicle for all manner of delicious passengers. I’m so obsessed with putting good things on toast that it’s now an all-consuming passion in my kitchen.”

    Home Office Cooking and Eating Tip 1: Plan Your Meal Carefully and with Consideration

    Idea 1: Make it fun and use Food Tarot Cards. Place three cards down in front of you. The card on the left is your starter, the middle card is your main course, and the card on the right is your dessert. You MUST eat what the cards say; otherwise, something bad will happen. It’s best to separate the cards into categories, so you don’t end up dealing beer, wine, and scotch cards as your meal.

    Idea 2: Do you have any back issues of newspapers or magazines? You can make a recipe you’ve wanted to try. Better yet, Google a recipe from the year of your birth. Google recipes for your favourite vegetable. Google campfire recipes from the Klondike years.

    Idea 3: What is your favourite colour? Buy only green ingredients. Or red. Or blue. Blue food is really hard to find. I recommend blue only for professionals; otherwise, you will end up with a tub of blueberries, and they’re actually purple.

    Idea 4: What did you love to eat as a kid? What did you always want to eat as a kid but never could? I always swore I would eat an entire package of sausages when I grew up. There were three kids in our family, so we had to share the package. I’ve done it since then. It’s the best.

    Idea 5: Go to your store and buy one of every food product that begins with the first letter of your first name. I’m sorry if your first name is Zolanda or Xoran. When you get home try and figure out what to make.

    Idea 6: Open your novels. The characters are always eating something. Choose something from your favourite book and try to recreate it. Warning – “Money”, by Martin Amis, is full of junk food. Best to stick with “Brideshead Revisited” by Evelyn Waugh, where you find nice soups and wines.

    Home Office Cooking and Eating Tip 2: Prep Your Meal Simply and with Amusement

    Most of us like eating, but not many enjoy shopping or preparing. We all know how great a lasagna tastes, but all that work! Even a juicy hamburger needs to be seasoned, formed, and cooked just right. And all those condiments. All that slicing.

    How about trying the German Brotzeit or bread-time? The British call it simply Tea. Open the refrigerator and pull out the pickles, the cheeses, the cold cuts, the left-over chicken. Empty the bags of crackers into a bowl. Want something hot? Put the veggies into a pot with some water to boil. Boil some pasta and toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper. You don’t need to crack open a recipe book each time you cook.

    Sometimes the best meals are those that prep themselves. Use the time to take stock of your pantry and your refrigerator. There are no rules, so be creative. You are the Muse in Amusement.

    Home Office Cooking and Eating Tip 3: Eat Your Meal Slowly and with Respect

    It takes about fifteen minutes for food to reach your stomach, and you begin to feel full. Eat slowly. Chew and consider. Be mindful of the food you are placing in your body. Food you might possibly also have killed earlier. If not you, then someone did. You also spent an hour thinking about the meal, another hour shopping for the meal, and another hour making the meal. Try and take more than ten minutes to eat it. Have some wine. Don’t eat in front of the TV.

    Before we had TV, in fact, before we had plates, food was placed on dried slices of bread, called trenchers. You would grab some food from the pot and place it on your piece of bread. This was never a good way to eat soup, but everyone had a spoon back then. Often spoons were passed down from generation to generation. It was messy. You can see why sushi is such a good idea, right?

    That’s another reason not to eat on your lap in front of the TV. Juices. If you have a large piece of dry bread in front of you, the food’s juices soften the bread, which you can also eat. After meals in the Days of Yore, if you didn’t eat your trencher, it was often collected and given to the poor.

    Short story long? You don’t need to wash up if you are creative.

    Cooking and Eating for Our Life

    We spend about five years of our life eating. Just eating! We probably spend twice that much time cooking. We also spend a lot of time exercising to get rid of the food we just ate too much of, right? But, as I said, this isn’t that type of post. For something we spend so much of our lives doing, it’s all about keeping a healthy balance.

    All this eating probably comes at a price. Indeed. A huge price. The average American spends half a million dollars on food and drink. I was shocked. I live in the EU and spend a bit less (maybe), but now I know where all my money goes.

    We read about food, and we photograph it. We shop for food, prepare it, eat it, and clean up after it. We raise it in our gardens and on our farms. We sit in restaurants surrounded by food. Sometimes we even dress up as food for parties. We love food, whether it be chocolate, gelato, caviar, ramen, lasagna, burritos, or Delmonte pudding cups.

    Cooking and Eating for Our Job

    Dressing up as a hot dog for Halloween might be fine. Taking photos of our food and posting it on social media may be a tad extreme. I know. I long for the day that I don’t feel the urge to do this. It’s my work, though. I do it; I teach it, cook it, eat it, and arrange it. I know for many of you I’m preaching to the choir. However, it’s not just food. It’s content, it’s marketing, and for the most part, it’s free. So let it work for you.

    An apple is pleasure. Food is culture. Food is togetherness. Food is mindfulness. Lightness – and joy! With that thought, my friend Kerstin and I made a video back in March 2021. We had planned a simple lunch together when we decided to make a few videos out of the blue.

    Check it out:

    Eating to Live and Living to Cook

    According to popular sources, we’ll consume 35 tons of food in our lifetime. That’s a lot. So, how much of that do we really enjoy? How much of it is healthy? I mean, let’s talk tacos, right!? Then, there’s that tub of ice cream in the freezer, and we’re sad, and zoom meetings suck, and we’re getting fat, and often we’re our own worst enemy just trying to be happy. I guess being happy is a good enough reason to eat.

    I’m not saying you should set up your phone and record a video every time you make lunch. Maybe a TikTok video eating ice cream at 2 am is also not the best decision either. I’m saying that if we have to cook and eat to live, then we should try to leverage what we cook and eat and make it right. Especially during the continuing home office and home school months. Years?

    Have fun. Just do it.