My 3 Worst Cooking Habits

kale 'cabonara'-4

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I[/dropcap]’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 :)

With love,
Jules x


kale 'cabonara'-4
Kale ‘Carbonara’ recipe here.

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  • I’m terrible about washing salad! I don’t have a spinner so I know it’s going to be a hassle to rinse it and then shake it out in a colander. This sometimes even keeps me from bothering to make salad, which is terrible.
    I think my biggest sin is impatience. I put things in the oven before it’s fully preheated. I crowd veggies in the pan for stir fries because I don’t want to bother doing 2 batches. My marinades have hardly touched the food before I throw it in the pan. My soups simmer for 1/2 the time they’re supposed to.

    • Get a salad spinner…and plan to get another in 2-3 years. (I can’t keep mine clean enough longer than that and a dirty spinner doesn’t seem right.) It makes rinsing and especially drying SO much easier!

  • Having a small apple or any fruit before you start cooking won’t get you all tempted by the aromas and pick food. I had this habit and this really helps. When you are hungry you end up eating while the food’s getting ready and are not really hungry at the table.
    Hope this helps,

  • I’ve washed salad greens and STILL had a guest find a spider–alive and kicking!–in them! I just tell myself A) it’s extra protein, and B) if insects don’t want to eat something, then I don’t want to eat it, either! :)

  • Yes on the leaves and herbs. I’m terrible about washing them. I have a salad spinner but it’s so big and bulky and plastic. I hate to wash it, I hate to dry it. And the plus side, we’re eating leaves and herbs!

  • That kale looks delicious–love the idea of a creamy kale dish.

    As for me, I’m with you on the slack sharpening practices. Good idea on the weekly sharpening date, I might have to steal that idea!

  • I was just planning a carbage carabonara this weekend. I love carabonara, but would like a low carb version.

  • I never wash my iceberg lettuce, I just peel off the leaves and use them. Unless my potatoes are for mash, I never peel them, I can’t be bothered. In fact if I can get away from peeling any veg, I do.

  • Do you know you can get parasites on the brain from ingesting slugs/slug slime particularly through unwashed salad veg? Knowing that motivates me to wash every time! I don’t really trust things are really washed properly in salad bags at supermarket either!

    I can’t be bothered with recipes that require creaming butter and sugar or using an electric mixer. If I can’t mix wth a spoon I can’t be bothered. And i’m impatient too, so muffins rather than cakes for me!!!

  • when i read that unwashed fruits and vegetables helps you to get enough vitamin b12 i feel reassured not washing or only very short
    i always try to buy organic and so i think the benefits top the risks
    yes i’m very lazy :)))
    lg birgit

  • I always wash my veggies even though I got it from the grocery. It doesn’t hurt if I re-wash it right? LOL Anyway, your Kale Carbonara looks so good and yummy. I can’t wait to cook and try it this coming weekend with my hubby, who, by the way, loves the traditional carbonara. I also like to put on some herbs on my pasta like rosemary and oregano for flavor depth. :)

  • I wanted to share one of my experiences that made me change a cooking bad habit. I have always been really good about washing greens and other vegetables but I rarely washed our fruit. Then, one day as I was walking through the produce section of the store I saw a person, I almost called her a lady but that doesn’t really fit here, smelling the apples. But she wasn’t just smelling. She was rubbing her nose all over the apple then she would shake her head, put the apple down and grab another apple and do it all over again. After seeing her do this and discard 4 apples I vowed to myself that I would ALWAYS wash my fruit from there on out. You never know who has been snorting on your apple before you bite into it. Lesson learned!

    • OMG Rena!
      Thankyou for this story. I’m usually good with washing fruit but you’ve given me some extra (very powerful) visual incentive!

  • Oh the slug. Just shows the produce you served your guests was super fresh and not from a bag. Wear it as a badge of honour in public (okay and wash those leaves in future!). Too funny.

  • Hi Jules,
    I’m not very good at washing veg, salad leaves etc either and I think it’s because it’s after work, it’s 7pm and I’m hungry; my focus is just get the food cooked so I can eat!

    I went away with the friend and I think she has the answer! Wash it all at once(!) and then put it back in the fridge clean. So this is what I do now and I feel way less guilty when I cook.

    In fact, my produce is now staying way more fresh in the fridge, as after I wash it and pop it all in containers, lined with paper towel and have said goodbye to saggy wilted greens in the plastic bags!
    (ps. my friend also does this with bacon -she cooks a big batch and then puts it in the fridge and uses it throughout the week – maybe best not to follow her example in this! lol)

  • I snack on raw veggies when prepping a meal, particularly a less healthy meal that won’t have many veggies in it

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