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Have you ever lost your cooking Mojo?

You know those days where you can't seem to get anything right in the kitchen. Where dishes you have made before turn out only so so, or worse yet you have an epic fail while attempting a new dish. Sometimes it can be blamed on the recipe, but many times I feel like it is just a loss of kitchen mojo so to speak.

It doesn't happen all that often, but when it does it seems to last a few days and then I get back into my groove. Is this a common experience for others. I am starting to think those low kitchen mojo days might be good take out/dine out days ha ha.

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  1. I did once actually.

    I found it later in an antique cabinet for bar tools. My wife had placed it there by accident next to the Mojito mix.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SWISSAIRE

      I can see this happening. Mojo and mojito are easily confused! At least the mojo wasn't with the missing socks from the washer - then you may never have found it!

    2. I do that occasionally. I find that the mistakes and fails happen most often when I'm rushed or stressed and lose focus. Usually cooking helps keep me grounded, but I think take-out/going out is the answer.

      1. Never ever. I goof on occasion, but unless I've incinerated something, I have always been able to salvage or repurpose the affected food. My confidence and interest in preparing meals is not diminished when results are suboptimal, though that's a fairly rare occurrence. If anything, I have TOO many options for what to cook, since I have a well-supplied pantry.

        1 Reply
        1. re: greygarious

          me, too, althought there are still days when I stand in front of the groaning shelves and wonder what the hell I'm going to make today, because I'm tired/stressed and nothing sounds good.

          So I ask the youngun -- what do you want for dinner, kiddo?

          Answer "food".

          (quell urge to throw things)

        2. I haven't been having major cooking issues in the actual execution but I haven't been particularly interested in cooking/baking anything for about a month now.

          I think part of it is the stress in my personal/professional life and part of it is the fact that it has been a very long, cold, and snowy winter here in the Northeast. We are headed to Mexico on Satuday for a week so I hope to return home relaxed, refreshed, and in the mood to make Mexican food at least!

          1 Reply
          1. I don't often have a spectacular disaster (I can remember only a two things that I have had to throw away in maybe the past 5 years or so, and one of those was ingredients gone bad.) However, I pride myself on being very good on seasoning food to my family's tastes. I get frustrated and run into issues with this when my seasonal allergies get bad - like now, when the pollen count is approximately eleventy billion. I rely on smell a lot for seasoning things, because I have a decent amount of food allergies as well, and often can't actually taste the things that I make for the rest of the family.

            1. Happens to me often! I undercooked chicken 3+ times in a row more than once. I burnt my
              Fish soup on Tuesday while distracted by baby and put too much mustard in my potato salad yesterday. I always announce that's it! No more cooking.

              1. Yes. Sometimes I have weird periods of time where I am uninspired, or my "taster" seems off...like I can't figure out salt....
                I suppose it is a combo of being busy/stressed and age..circumstances, whatever. I wait it out. Then I read a few new blogs and decide to research the benefits of X.... Or how to make X into Y... The ancient way....or...or...
                Then I get it back :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: sedimental

                  My salt meter periodically goes off and stays off for weeks or months at a time. My husband's does, too, but it seems to mostly not happen at the same time as mine.

                  Our original salt meter breaking thing was when we both caught chikungunya (a mosquito born virus like dengue fever) seven or eight years ago that resulted in our taste buds being severely broken for a year. We both required so much salt in our food that no one could eat our cooking. When my in-laws were in town, I ended up not salting food at all and letting my mother-in-law do it - it's the only way she and my father-in-law could eat my cooking.

                2. Yes. I seem to be having a run of things not being right to my way of thinking lately. No one is complaining, but I am a little unhappy.

                  However, I still almost always cook something every day.

                  1. I have not had many kitchen fails. Once in a while a recipe isn't to my liking but only a handful of dishes where I just tossed them after a bite have happened over the years.

                    I have had periods of "blah" about cooking. They are always linked to a decreased appetite due to extreme schedule, stress, worry or depression. I tend to eat a lot of sandwiches, eggs and "frozen assets" from my freezer then.

                    I've been in one of those states lately. My seafood shares have just begun so I'm motivated to cook due to the perish-ability. That has spurred a bit of recipe searching. I've also been "pinning" recipes for my CSF. All three combined seem to be easing me back into my usual happy kitchen space!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: meatn3

                      This is me, too. Am *just* starting to feel interested in cooking dinner agian since the awful events in our family last fall.

                      It's almost like an emotional barometer -if I have no desire to cook, I know that I'm in bad shape!

                      1. re: gimlis1mum

                        "It's almost like an emotional barometer -if I have no desire to cook, I know that I'm in bad shape!"

                        Well said and very true in my case too.

                        Glad you are starting to regain interest and heal!

                        1. re: meatn3

                          So true for me too. I haven't wanted to cook for weeks, and my mood sucks too! :) I think I've been eating eggs at least 3 times a week.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            At least you are getting your protein :-)

                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                              Yes - it's had me avoiding the What's for Dinner threads. Reading them made me feel more like a slug rather than inspiring me. Hopefully I can join back in soon!

                              1. re: meatn3

                                Look to the classics, my friends. As someone who slumps periodically nothing beats a beef bourguignonne or some other kind of braise. Or try using an ingredient you never used before for a fresh start. I find when I use something new for the first time I never try to do anything except follow the recipe step by step so I don't have to order in Chinese food.

                        2. re: meatn3

                          Love your "frozen assets"...my sentiments as well.

                        3. Do I find new recipes vile? Rarely, but it does happen.

                          Do I find new recipes displeasing and not an enjoyable dinner that I'd want to repeat? Oh, yes, quite often - every couple of weeks or so. Recipes that are "keepers" are a rarity in this house.

                          1. Yup, it happens to me.

                            It usually happens when my sensory disorders take over and I can't stand a whole range of smells/tastes.

                            1. I fall into what I call a "cooking slump" once a year or so when it just doesn't come together in the kitchen. I usually simplify things to get back into a groove. Tried and true recipes with a limited number of top quality ingredients that do a lot of the work for you. Like a pasta cabonara with an extra egg yolk or pasta with pesto with a nice extra dab of butter. Wine seems to help as well.

                              1. My mojo is definitely flagging. Not sure why. I'm kind of worried because we are headed to the UK soon and I usually do a LOT of cooking there at my FIL's place. They look forward to it. And I'm just not feeling it. I better start training!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: dulcie54

                                  Let's see if I can re-flag your mojo, dulcie. You'll be visiting us just at a time when new season's produce is coming onto the market. Think asparagus and rhubarb. Early peas and broad beans perhaps. Lamb, of course - and mutton if you can find it.

                                  A fab time to be cooking in the UK (OK, not as fab as autumn when we've got game, but still pretty fab)

                                2. I hate when people respond to a thread with "do a search" but there are a ton of threads on this topic which I have found helpful and am currently finding helpful due to a lack of mojo.

                                  1. If I am really angry or stressed - the mojo leaves. Best to do take out or frozen or really simple meals.

                                    If I am sad or a little down, cooking actually heals me and the mojo gets stronger as my strength builds.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: happybaker

                                      my family know that if I'm making bread, they should probably give me a wide berth...breadmaking is fabulously healing for me.

                                      I don't often lose my mojo, but man, when I do? I screw up everything I touch, and it's not just "screwed up" -- I can completely botch just about anything when I've lost my mojo.

                                      That's pretty rare...it's a lot more common for me to just end up in a deep rut -- where I'm busy/upset/stressed, and I just don't care what's for dinner....those are the days I stand in front of my stuffed-full pantry and can't figure out what to make.

                                    2. About 10 months ago I entered the most serious funk I've ever experienced cooking. Tried new things to break out of it and haven't looked back since.

                                      1. Oh yeah. I think it happens when I get too blase or overconfident and thus don't leave myself enough time or don't pay close enough attention.

                                        1. Not really, unless you count the three in a row failures to rise over 20 years ago. I have not used yeast since, but it did occur to me years later that it probably was simply dead yeast (in a three pack), and had I thrown out the remaining two, I would probably still be baking yeast bread today.

                                          I too am a believer that all can be fixed, and it drives me absolutely batty to hear a coworker talk about his dishes that don't turn out. Last time it was a bread pudding recipe where he used half & half instead of heavy cream. I suggested three different ways he could have fixed the situation, but he had already thrown it out in disgust (even though it tasted fine!). Argh ... I hate to see food wasted like that.

                                          1. Yep. Season 2 of the Taste audition episode. Felt like an elephant on ice skates.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: rjbh20

                                              Did you recover and make it to one of the episodes that was televised? You always strike me as a good cook.

                                              1. re: Fowler

                                                Nope. Fortunately I was edited out.

                                                1. re: rjbh20

                                                  Your reply gave me a smile. I admire your modesty and how you do not take yourself too seriously.

                                            2. At home, if I'm not inspired to make something I generally force myself to cook something. The other day I had a cold and just couldn't get started; just boiling water in the kettle for tea got me going. While I waited, I cleaned the fridge a bit and started lunch. By dinnertime I'd also baked a coffee cake to serve at breakfast the following day.

                                              There's always stuff in the fridge and although we've let the pantry get low at times, right now we have quite a collection of stuff in our cabinets. That has no bearing when I'm not feeling the creative urge -- and cooking becomes a necessity; even a chore.

                                              I'm blessed with three days off and enjoy cooking as part of my relaxation. Suffice it to say the other four are sleep-deprived, high-stress nightmares. I'm in the restaurant business.

                                              1. Good Grief. Lost the groove - no baking mojo this week. Bad bagels. Doughy yeasted coffee cake - the egg whites and batter clumped instead of folded. Focaccia, too flat even for flatbread. Three fails in a row. Maybe I should turn to chocolate for a win-win?

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                  how's your weather been this week? You're describing things that have happened to me when we've had very humid weather or a high-pressure system. (might not be your fault!)

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    now that's a kind thought, sunshine842... thank you, we did have a high pressure front hovering off the coast as we waited for the rains that never came

                                                    I am ready to chant and throw the chicken bones.

                                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                                      high pressure will squish all your baked goods -- I try not to bake if it's humid or we have a high-pressure system, but sometimes you can't avoid it.

                                                      When the pressure and/or the humidity drop, your baked goods will rise as normal.