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Cooking - I’ve forgotten how!

(61 Posts)
EllieB52 Mon 16-Dec-19 09:58:50

Has anyone else found that as they get older they are losing cooking skills? I’m starting to get flustered over cooking meals, planning, shopping etc. The other day I was cooking for 7 (visitors). I dropped the fish on the floor, overcooked stuff and all sorts of issues. I used to take this all in my stride. Dreading doing the Christmas dinner. I really need to plan, plan, plan.

Auntieflo Mon 16-Dec-19 10:26:50

Oh how I sympathise EllieB52. I can cook for us 2 , just fine, but if I have to do it for 4 or more, then I start to get anxious, and really don't want to do it anymore.
Perhaps it's just all those years of cooking for family and friends, and now we are all just "cooked out" 🤗

Greyduster Mon 16-Dec-19 22:22:03

I find this too, I’m afraid. In the final throes of any meal of more than a single course, I quite often fail to keep all the balls in the air these days. Tuna pasta bake without the tuna anyone? Cooking a vegetable and forgetting to serve it? Something missing from the chilli? No beans! I used to be no stranger to cooking three courses for up to ten people. I would run a mile from it now.

Urmstongran Mon 16-Dec-19 22:53:48

I think we get into our comfort zones. Then, any more than whatever, it becomes a bit stressy!

Use it or lose it I suppose.

I’ve probably lost it. Ah well.

Grammaretto Mon 16-Dec-19 23:06:29

Oh yes, forgetting the vegetable in the lower oven.
That's a regular trick.
I was looking forward to going to DDs for Christmas dinner and not having to cook but there have been some setbacks and I may have to cook after all!!
That means getting a turkey, pudding and everything. OMG!

Our oven is playing up too so that's even more stressful.

I'm sure there are timelines for Christmas cooking online which you can upload.

Curlywhirly Mon 16-Dec-19 23:27:31

Yep, me too. Used to love cooking and having friends around for a meal - hate it with a vengance now, and avoid doing it if at all possible. But, for me it's not just cooking that I have lost a flair for; I have sewed since I was 10, made all sorts of clothes and soft furnishings, even complicated ones. But I have lost my nerve, and can only marvel at some of the things I made, I wouldn't dare attempt to make them now. Also, looking after children - had 2 myself, husband worked away all week, every week and I worked; did all the school runs myself and had no help from their grandparents; now, I am retired and can only cope with one grandchild at a time (if I am on my own), what's that all about?!! And I am a really active type, never sit still, so it's not that I don't have the energy or stamina!

Grammaretto Tue 17-Dec-19 10:21:21

I think you get out of the way of things Curlywhirly and when it's the grandchildren you feel extra responsible in case they have a fall or something on your watch! It's normal.

But the sewing. Hmm. I blame my eyesight. I was asked at the yarn group if I was a beginner when in fact I used to knit a lot when my DC were young. I made complicated patterns too. But now I am quite happy to go along and chat and let others pick up my dropped stitches.

EllieB52 Tue 17-Dec-19 11:40:28

So glad it’s not just me!

endlessstrife Tue 17-Dec-19 12:28:26

Yes, yes and yes! I so identify with what you say. I get so anxious now, about food generally. If I’m cooking for more than just me and my husband, I panic, it’s like I’ve never done it before. I’ve got a new kitchen, and nearly had a meltdown over using the oven(s)! I just need it over with and everything on the table. Then I feel bad because we’ve got the choice. So many people have nothing to eat.

jeanie99 Wed 18-Dec-19 01:09:34

I feel confident in doing the cooking and baking BUT
My memory isn't brilliant so I make lists and plan ahead sorting out a list of meals I need to cook.
The ingredients I need and shop for them early then cook some meals and baking and freeze.
It works for me, without my lists I would be lost.

eagleswings Wed 18-Dec-19 10:06:06

I am just the same. I have lost so much confidence and I used to cook for 20 over Christmas.
I was able to make the lightest Victoria sponge too. Any tips on moist sponge cake..?
My tip for Christmas cooking is make the gravy in advance and freeze and add juices of turkey at the last minute (with fat removed). Also buy cauliflower cheese ready made from Waitrose/M&S and pop them in your own serving dishes..!
Also ready made bread sauce, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce, pre-stuffed Turkey, Christmas pud.
Just leaves spuds and sprouts to prep..!smilesmile

TanaMa Wed 18-Dec-19 10:13:55

I don't feel such a failure now I see others daying what I feel. Used to regularly hold dinner parties for 8-12 people and entertain overseas visitors. Now I panic when a couple of younger friends, who are excellent cooks, not put out any anything, come to visit. Can't really get away with store bought meals so have to deal with it! Luckily it usually turns out OK but still feel so unsure of myself.

GrannySomerset Wed 18-Dec-19 10:20:01

Another one here who has lost both confidence and enthusiasm. We have young relatives coming to lunch tomorrow, both good cooks, and I am losing sleep over a really pretty simple lunch. What is going on with us?

ReadyMeals Wed 18-Dec-19 10:24:08

I used to let rooms to students, full board and so including my kids there would usually be 8 of us at the table. I had to find meals that teenagers enjoyed while at the same time being nutritious and healthy enough that their visiting parents wouldn't complain! I reckon it's my years of doing that which burnt me out. I now have only one of those combi microwave convection ovens, counter top size, and a single gas ring. Any more than 3 people to eat and we have no choice but to get takeaway!

allule Wed 18-Dec-19 10:26:59

As some have said, I am lost in admiration of my younger self! Cooking, sewing, decorating, patching ceilings, rehanging doors, replacing a toilet, tiling, repairing floors etc. etc, etc. (we had a big old house and no money!)
I was remembering this when I was asking my daughter to come and put the Angel on the Christmas tree for me. sad

Greciangirl Wed 18-Dec-19 10:29:29

I am now 74 years old and everyone on this post I can identify with.

If my son and two grandsons come to stay, I have no choice but to cook them a meal, but I don’t enjoy it one little bit.

I seem to have lost my confidence and get timings wrong, or I usually either cook too much or too little food.
I agree with others. After cooking for almost a century, I’ve had enough.
I am ok with salads and a cold spread, which is what I usually do if visiting for the day.
Last August, my family invited themselves to stay for a week.
I was dreading it. I had to cook some meals, but found the whole thing utterly stressful and tiring.
I hate to say it, but I was glad when they had gone home.

sandelf Wed 18-Dec-19 10:36:41

Oh gosh I find this thread oddly comforting. Why is it so many of us have lost confidence? Partly it must be because we are out of practice but that can't be all of it.

Witchypoo Wed 18-Dec-19 10:38:55

I have become scared to cook. Buy all the goods which then get fed to the dog as i am unable to cook. Ready meals are just not the same. Lost the ability when my husband was ill and died. On my own so just snack allday

HannahLoisLuke Wed 18-Dec-19 10:49:03

Fortunately I can still do it with planning and lists but I don't enjoy it except for the odd urge to do a big batch cook for the freezer. Then I find I just don't fancy any of those freezer meals and often just have a sandwich!
The joys of living alone 😀

Theoddbird Wed 18-Dec-19 10:54:45

I was trying to remember how to do roast potatoes for my Christmas dinner yesterday as it is not something I normally do for myself.

barbaralynne Wed 18-Dec-19 10:55:37

Thank you all for your description of what has been happening with me. I had chemotherapy and radiotherapy 5 years ago and ever since, my husband has done most of the meals. I can still bake and make puddings but, after bringing up a family with 3 children and frequently having their friends around too, now I dread having friends and relatives to stay /eat.
But, being 71, I now see this can be the norm, so thank you all!

Madmaggie Wed 18-Dec-19 11:20:23

EllieB52 how I sympathise with you. I panic now and nothing seems to go right any more. Yet I used to do great stuff and enjoyed doing it, not any more.
My hubby cannot understand
my fears. I avoid cooking for
guests if I can now or resort to
M&S ready prepared which isnt
very economical. I have noticed
though that people seem to be
getting 'fussier' and more
demanding and bringing their
children up to be the same. The
last time I had a branch of the
family for a meal I'd provided a
lovely vegetarian option for DIL
avoiding the options id been pre
informed were 'boring. The
mains were great but before
they even sat down the kids
were shouting out what they
would or would not eat yet DS
assured me they ate it at home!
Pudd was loudly demanded
before mains were eaten and
A selection asked for!

GardenerGran Wed 18-Dec-19 11:20:40

Yes, definitely identify with this. I used to regularly do Sunday dinner for family also but really hate doing it now but feel mean for not doing it. I’m sure though that we didn’t expect my Mum to keep doing dinners for us when she became a bit older, we’d invite her and Dad to ours. It doesn’t seem to happen that way now. I also look back at all the stuff I used to manage in an average’s scary..

GardenerGran Wed 18-Dec-19 11:25:39

Also I’ve found that a glass of Buck’s Fizz helps the relaxation process greatly but that second glass can lead to all sorts going wrong, stuff being left in the oven etc!!

Beanie654321 Wed 18-Dec-19 11:35:58

I dont think its forgetting, I think it is losing the motivation to do it. After spending years of working full time and doing all the cooking, shopping, washing, ironing, cleaning, going to all appointments and events of the children, I am now absolutely fed up of it and I've now got the time as just retired.