UNITED STATES—Let’s be frank, most Americans cannot stand the idea of preparing a meal in the kitchen. It’s never easy to craft a dish in the kitchen, but preparation is the key word. The more you prep the easier it is to craft the dish that you want to cook. I recently heard someone talk about meal prepping for the next 6 months, which at first I thought was absolutely bonkers. I mean 6 months of knowing precise recipes and dishes to cook left me floored.

Why? It seems like a lot of work, but then it dawned on me: that’s actually a good thing. If I craft the dishes now, that means later all I have to do is make the dishes. That is the thing about cooking: we procrastinate. I’m someone who cooks on a dime. What does that mean? Inspiration helps me decide what I want to cook for the day or during the week. I can hear someone talk about a particular cuisine, a dish or allude to something. As a result, that makes me want to craft that dish.

However, I’ve learned that preparing some dishes can be costlier than others. Like I love to cook lasagna or sweet and sour chicken, but they are dishes that are not only costly, but requires a ton of prep work. Sometimes the prep work is fun and worth it, at other times it’s tedious. That means, if you are not fully enthralled in preparing the dish that means you should not be cooking it.

Cooking with passion absolutely helps when you’re in the kitchen, because while you can’t actually taste it, you can absolutely feel it in the dish. The preparation, the patience, the love and the excitement about the meal that has been crafted all matters. With that being said, you have to be prepared to purchase basic pantry essentials when needed because those staples will be utilized in more than one dish America. If items are on sale, try to load up on them versus having to entertain that last minute trip to the grocer where you spend more than you hoped to prepare a family meal on the fly.

There are times where there are specific ingredients you need to have to cook, and you’re not always going to get them on sale. So if you can get the item on sale, purchase a little extra if you have the funds in your budget to do so. In addition, don’t feel the need to be the main person always in the kitchen. Get the kids; get your siblings and wife or husband in on cooking. There is a reason some people don’t cook, it’s not because they can’t it’s because they are scared to make a mistake.

When someone sees a meal crafted over and over again, it begins to stick in their memory. That is always a good thing because it might give them the confidence to cook the dish, giving you a break in the kitchen. I’m a cook who loves to experiment and I love various cuisines. I try to alternate throughout the week, but it has become a recent idea to me that perhaps I stick to a particular theme for the entire week. That is far easier to manifest than I like to believe.

The biggest tip I can give when it comes to cooking, is plan ahead, but don’t be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone America. You might surprise yourself.