I‘m a huge believer in the power of habits for helping to put everyday decisions on autopilot, making it much easier to live a healthy life.
One of the things I’ve learned in my study of habit formation over the years is the power of public commitment.
Earlier in the year, I joined Febfast and committed to a month without alcohol.
It was tough. Especially the night we were staying with friends in Sydney and everyone else was drinking really lovely wine.
One of my friends tried to persuade me to have some. They weren’t going to tell anybody…
It was tempting.
But you know what kept me from caving?
The thought of having to sit down here and admit to you that I had broken my promise.
While Febfast is long gone, I have a few bad cooking habits that I’ve been trying to kick on my own. And if truth be told, I haven’t been having much luck.
So today I’m ‘outing’ myself on my 3 worst habits. I’ll report back in a month or so to let you know how I’ve gone.
BAD HABIT 1. Picking While I Cook
As I mentioned in my interview with the lovely Darya Rose a few weeks ago, picking at food while I cook has long been my worst cooking habit.
Now that I’m getting dinner ready for Fergal before I start cooking for my Irishman and me, it’s been getting worse.
I hate that feeling of sitting down to dinner and not being hungry.
Darya had some brilliant advice around setting boundaries for snacking, like using a plate and only doing it sitting at the table. I’ve been working on implementing this for a few weeks now, and while I have made some progress, there have been times when I have had my official snack and still picked while cooking.
I need a bit more help with this one.
BAD HABIT 2. Dull Knives
Even though we have top quality knives and the easiest sharpening system ever, I’m very embarrassed to admit that I can easily go weeks if not months without sharpening.
I know dull knives are dangerous. I just can’t explain this terrible habit apart from being super lazy.
So I commit to sharpening my knives at least once a week on Sunday or Monday. I’ve started this week off with sharp knives. It feels great.
BAD HABIT 3. Not Washing Leaves and Herbs
I think this habit started when we were buying most of our veg from the supermarket. Those pre-washed bags of salad leaves and herbs are just ‘oh so easy’.
Now we buy the lions share of our veg from the farmers market. I’m loving the increase in quality and freshness but have honestly been ‘pretending’ to myself that the leaves don’t need washing.
When clearly they do. I know.
I can’t believe I’m going to put this in writing, but we had a guest staying who found a slug in the salad. Even that mortification hasn’t wrenched me out of my slothfulness.
It’s definitely time for a change. So when I report back I’m planning on my salad spinner being my new best friend.
What about you?
Do you have any bad cooking habits that you’d like to break? Or even some good habits you’d like to form?
I’d love to hear about them in the comment below :)
OK so if you’re a purist when it comes to the naming of dishes, you’d better block your ears. I know that cabonara traditionally includes egg yolk and no cream, but I really liked the sound of kale ‘cabonara’ and I felt more in the mood for cream than egg yolk… so that what we have.
Enough for 2
4-6 slices bacon, chopped
1 bunch kale, ribs discarded (if tough) & leaves sliced into ribbons
1-2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons cream
2 large handfuls grated parmesan + extra to serve
1. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook bacon on a medium high heat until well browned.
2. Remove bacon from the pan and add the kale and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring every few minutes until the kale is wilted and deep green in colour. It will take about 5-10 minutes. If it starts to burn, add a splash of water to help generate some steam.
3. Return bacon to the pan and add cream. Stir over the heat to warm through then remove from the heat and add the cheese.
4. Divide between two plates and serve with extra cheese if you like.
more substantial / carb lovers – toss in some cooked pasta at the end. A drained can of chickpeas or white beans will do the same job without causing blood sugar problems.
paleo / more classic cabonara – replace cream with 2 egg yolks. Add the yolks with the bacon off the heat. And see the dairy-free option.
dairy-free – replace cream with 2 egg yolks and replace parmesan with grated brazil nuts and if you like a teaspoon of nutritional yeast.
vegetarian – replace bacon with chopped smoked tofu – a really lovely ingredient. OR serve with a big handful of smoked almonds or other nuts.
different greens – as much as I love kale, any leafy greens such as spinach, baby spinach, chard or silverbeet can be used.
vegan – cook sliced kale with garlic in olive oil and serve with more olive oil and a good few handfuls of roasted nuts or cooked legumes.