Do you cook frequently for yourself or your family and question “What should I cook?” bothers you from time to time? Worry not, cooking inspiration is everywhere, let’s have a look at five main sources I draw my cooking ideas from.
This social network is full of food pictures! My guilty pleasure is mouthwatering feed scrolling. Start following chefs, restaurants and food bloggers you like or just search by hashtags. Instagram food sometimes looks too pretty to be true or too intimidating to make at home, but it can be just an inspiration, you don’t have to recreate what you see exactly. My favourite accounts for inspiration are meerasodha, ottolenghi, minimalist baker, plantd.co, wickedhealthy .
Farmer’s market/ grocery store
Find the vegetable that visually appeals to you the most. Something that begs to be noticed and taken home. Once you spot this central veggie (or fruit) “star” you have an inspiration for the dish and can shop and cook accordingly. If something caught your attention but you don’t know what to cook, get it anyway and experiment by checking the internet and cookbooks. Don’t be afraid to try something new, buy some seasonal vegetables you don’t usually cook with. Even dare to get a vegetable you don’t like and challenge yourself preparing it in a way you might enjoy. Have fun exploring!
Another popular platform for food inspo and wisdom. Youtube can be a massive time-killer but also a great space to learn something new and get inspired by chefs and foodies you like. A gareat thing is it recommends you similar videos to the ones you are watching which are great to discover new interesting channels. I follow several Youtubers but from time to time search for specific recipes. My favourite channels are Avantgarde Vegan, Happy Pear, Pick Up Limes, Edgy Veg, Sorted Food. The last one is not vegan, but you can get plenty of tips and ideas.
Let me tell you a secret – I (almost) never cook according to cookbook recipes, unless it is baking. And I do love and own a bunch of cookbooks! It is a great source of inspiration for me, I get the recipes and iterate adding my own twists and ingredients. Fiction books can also stimulate your cooking creativity – maybe you decide to cook up a feast your favourite characters would enjoy or explore the cuisine of a certain culture described in the book.
I also find it very useful to read books about food and cooking which are not cookbooks, but more science or explanation books like Lateral Cooking, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen and similar as well as books about a plant-based diet. This will deepen your food knowledge and you will feel more confident and creative.
I often get an idea of the dish which is evoked by a certain person – a friend I met after a long time, memories of my grandmother or some famous chef. Inspiration can be based on where the person is coming from or what dishes they like or cook. It can also be about their appearance, personality, anything. I love dedicating dishes to certain people because every time I will cook it it will bring me some memories. Of course, those should be people you like.
Majority of my food inspiration I get from travels. New ingredients, flavours, cuisines. Especially nowadays when travelling is very restricted, cooking a meal you had on vacation or having a dinner inspired by your favourite travel destination is a way to travel at least with your tastebuds. You can also draw ideas for cooking from your favourite restaurants, the resulting meal might not be the same but adding your own creative take will certainly make it special.
Inspiration for cooking is all around, just look attentively and don’t let the meals you make be boring and uninspired. Need some extra boost? Check my Unrecipe Book.