Women, especially from Africa are often reminde that they belong to the kitchen. They’ve nonetheless, slayed in the kitchen despite the constant reprimand and stood out as excellent cooks and home-makers up till this present time. Women have created recipes, dish varieties, cuisines, cooking processes, food preparation and processing techniques, preservation methods, packaging materials, taught cooking classes, author cookery books, incorporated hygiene values and even designed kitchen utensils and equipment.
Our ancient mothers understood the science of food way before civilization.
Women have also proven to be great meal planners, sensory evaluators and skilled connaisseurs. With or without formal training, she can identify ten or more different food flavors and aromas within a given space of time. An unpublished research has shown that some blindfolded women were able to tell various foods apart without tasting them.
While some women enjoy cooking and have identified as cook bosses in their homes or professionally, some others are averse to it, which is okay. That a woman undertakes kitchen duty, whether she enjoys it or not, doesn’t automatically mean that she belongs there. In fact, no one job, or skill acquisition or profession should be restricted merely to women or to men.
As a 21st century woman, you can slay in your business or career and also in the kitchen. Here are some tips to assist you in balancing your career life with kitchen responsibilities.
Be strategic with planning
For some of us, making lunch, dinner, or breakfast can often times be frustrating, even when we claim to love cooking. Cleaning up after every cooking activity and meals can be another stress on its own. But all these can be handled right if we plan ahead and strategically. You can start by writing down kitchen to-do lists and then allot time to each task. To-do lists may include: meal planning, shopping plans, cooking, cleaning goals, laundry, etc. You should also state by each task, clear plans on how you intend to achieve them.
Prioritizing kitchen tasks would ensure that you have leftover time to attend to other personal stuffs. With the already limited time that you have, it will be wise to focus on the more important tasks first, before attending to the least likely.
Make meal plans during the weekends
Weekends are the best times to plan meals, shop, and stock up and prepare soups, stews, or stock against the coming week. Meal planning does not have to follow a ‘one size fits all’ approach, flexibility and creativity should be imbibed. Plans can also be subject to change and so developing a sustainable system that will work for you and your home is bae. Furthermore, write down your meal plans and make it visual, as it holds you accountable for execution of these plans.
Buy kitchen appliances and equipment
Using kitchen appliances and equipment can help save time and energy. They serve as very useful kitchen assistance. Equipment/appliances such as food processors, pressure cookers, blenders, dish washer, gas cooker, mixer, refrigerators, freezer, microwave, etc., are better alternatives when compared to grinding stones, mortar and pestle, stoves and others. Now, this is not to say that traditional equipment should be completely eliminated from the kitchen, as some of these have proven to be useful at periods when power failure strikes. Also, you don’t have to buy all at the same time, especially in cases where your budget cannot accommodate such. However, you can focus on buying the more relevant ones one at a time.
Do part of the task scheduled for the next day a night before
Start prepping a scheduled day’s task a night before. For instance, if cooking a meal was the task ahead, you could start the night before by preparing meat and meat stock, tomato sauce, etc.
Concentrate on your tasks, leave social media alone!
One of our most embattled addictions today is social media, which sometimes, keep us from reaching our goals and doing other work responsibilities. Know that it is very possible to schedule time for everything – including social media, and then stick to it. If you want to be successful at balancing your work-personal life or at anything, you have to be disciplined. No matter how useful technology is, you must learn to set boundaries, ditch your devices and concentrate on your scheduled tasks!
Admit it when tasks are too much to handle – Ask for help – Outsource tasks
Feeling overburdened by the whole career-kitchen responsibilities is very normal. It’s okay to admit that you can’t do it all alone. Delegating tasks to members of your household is one way to reduce the burden of work, hiring helps and outsourcing tasks is another.
Find an inspiration
Always find inspirations online or offline, to help make your kitchen experience interesting and memorable. From new recipes, cuisines, cooking styles, kitchen arrangement and interior designs, to cleaning aids, etc. A few spots where I gather cooking inspiration is: food network TV, Nigerian meal YouTube channels, food websites and Pinterest.
Live a healthy lifestyle
It is only when you’re alive and healthy, that you can talk about having a career and a wonderful kitchen. Therefore, practice good nutrition, eat balance diets, exercise, rest, sleep and live a completely healthy lifestyle, in order to stay alive. Life can be challenging as it is, and can also get busier, so you need to take some time off occasionally, visit good restaurants and lovely relaxation spots.
Evaluate your work-kitchen balance on weekly basis
Set out a day of the week to review your plans and approach to balancing home and kitchen responsibilities with other areas of your life, making sure that this approach isn’t a bad fit for your work life. More so, find ways to manage problems encountered and time-consuming tasks as part of your overall evaluation.
Writer – Obianuju Okonkwo is a Food Technologist and an Entrepreneur. She enjoys music, constructive critiquing, reading and writing. She also has great interest in Public Health. Obianuju likes to think of herself as a lifelong learner.