Tyler: Sparking Joy in the Kitchen

“One of our major tips for people is to examine the chores and routines that make up your daily week and think about which ones you love and loathe. If there is a chore that you loathe, think about what might make that chore a bit better.”

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • August 6, 2019

Kitchen Hero Tyler of Tidy Dad has become a pro at sparking joy in the kitchen through implementing smart “cooking zones”, splitting meal responsibilities with his wife, getting his two kids involved in cooking, and practicing some brilliant lifestyle tips. He even used to hate meal prep before discovering our meal planning service. Keep reading to learn how the kitchen can become a joyful place for you, too!

Name: Tyler Moore
Age: 33
City, State: Astoria, NY
I cook for: my wife and two daughters. (My wife also cooks for me! We’ve established a routine that whomever is home, cooks!)
Outside of the kitchen I: teach 6th grade at a school in Queens. I am the father of two young girls (2 and 4) and most afternoons you can find me at our local park. My wife and I love taking our girls on adventures all throughout the city!
The strangest food I have ever eaten is: While in Australia we ate a lot of gamey meat while in the Outback! The textures and tastes were unlike anything that I had ever had!
I cook because: I love to tangibly show love to people. I enjoy hosting people in our home, cooking special breakfasts for my girls, and exposing people to new foods and cooking techniques.
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: The Honey Adobo Chopped Chicken Salad is an absolute favorite! We pull this recipe from the archives all the time!!

Through your Instagram, we’ve discovered that you have enjoyed THE KONMARI METHOD of sparking joy through the art of tidying up. How is your time in the kitchen impacted by what you have learned about tidying?

One of our favorite tidying moments was when we completely emptied each and every cabinet and drawer in our kitchen. We categorized each item, closely looked at the number of items that we had, and then worked through the process of determining which ones sparked joy for us. We discovered that we had an incredibly high number of tiny kitchen gadgets that we just never used and some small appliances that we just didn’t use! We also found a collection of over 30 cloth napkins that were just taking up space!!

Once we were able to “trim the fat” in terms of items that we no longer needed in the kitchen, we were able to go about putting things away in the kitchen. We wanted to be incredibly strategic about where we put things back, and consulted the Cooks Smarts “Kitchen Zoning” resource. The resource helped us to establish prep, cooking, cleaning, and storing zones in our kitchen and I feel like we are now so much more efficient! I love having a little prep zone directly next to the stove and a little drawer that just stores my most frequently used items!

The kitchen is such an important part of any home, and thinking strategically about the placement of objects is so important. By looking at our traffic patterns and thinking about how we cook and what we need in order to cook, we were able to develop some cool storage systems!

How long have you been using Cook Smarts and what have you learned since starting our meal planning service?

We’ve been using it for almost two years, and we’ve reached the point where we don’t know what we would do without it!!! We have learned so many new cooking techniques and a lot about cookware and tools that are a must for more gourmet cooking! I love that we now have a Dutch oven, a few types of nice knives, and even a cast iron skillet! I love that when we don’t know what a cooking term means or aren’t sure how to chop or prep something, Cook Smarts provides us with video tutorials that help to break down the process. We watch those videos all the time! It is also cool to see how our cooking time has reduced. When we first started Cook Smarts the learning curve was pretty steep, but we have honestly learned so much!!!

It is also a bit crazy to name, but we haven’t bought a single bottle of salad dressing since we started Cook Smarts! I had always heard of people making their own, but I never knew that you actually could!!

“I love that when we don’t know what a cooking term means or aren’t sure how to chop or prep something, Cook Smarts provides us with video tutorials that help to break down the process.”

Since every parent has a pretty busy schedule, how do you and your wife Emily split cooking responsibilities?

Since we were first married, we established the “whomever is home first cooks” rule. We still follow that as we trade off caring for our girls in the afternoons because of our work schedules. Often times Emily will prep many of the ingredients during the day with the girls and then I will cook once I get home. On the weekend I do the fair share of the cooking because it is something that really brings me joy.

We’ve found that there are parts of the cooking process that both of us love a little bit more than the other (Emily likes prepping and shopping, and I love cooking, serving, and cleaning) and it’s nice that we complement each other. We used to find meal planning to be a chore and it honestly took hours. We would scour the internet for recipes that seemed to go together, but oftentimes just fell back on easy, go-to recipes.

What strategies have you used to raise healthy eaters?

We try to model healthy eating for our girls and invite them to try as many new things as possible. There are so many unhealthy temptations in the grocery store, and while we do believe that everything in moderation is a pretty good rule, we do try to limit the amount of sweets and “junk” foods that come into the house. We also try to have a good stock of healthy snacks ready to go.

Do your two daughters help you in the kitchen?

My daughters love to help in the kitchen. From an extremely young age, my oldest daughter Mabel has been in the kitchen alongside me. She can crack, whisk, and pour eggs, loves to help chop vegetables with her kid knives, and loves to wake up in the mornings, dream up a breakfast, and then execute it with me!!

We love how you often end YOUR INSTAGRAM POSTS with a tip, so we want to know what cooking / meal prep / health tips you have for our readers today!

Here are a few:

One of our major tips for people is to examine the chores and routines that make up your daily week and think about which ones you love and loathe. If there is a chore that you loathe, think about what might make that chore a bit better. For us, we used to hate meal prep. Cook Smarts has changed that!

A tip for getting kids in on the action is to have tools that are kid-friendly, right within their reach. The girls have access to their kid-safe knives and cutting boards and are ready to help whenever possible.

Stock the refrigerator with healthy snacks that the kids can reach and have access to when they are hungry. Independence can be taught at such a young age and it is empowering to a kid to have access to foods that are healthy to eat when they are hungry. Put the snacks and foods that you don’t want them to eat in a separate location that only you can access and bring out when the time is right!

Kids can help set the table! Put kid-friendly servingware in a cabinet or drawer that they can access! Kids love helping out around the house and from a young age (my daughter is 2 and does this!) can help set the table. Model for them how to do it, and then step back and watch them learn the process!

Tyler, thank you for sharing your story with us and bringing such great tips to our community! We are thrilled that you have found so much joy in the kitchen and are honored to be a part of it. We look forward to seeing more of your amazing Instagram posts that always spark joy for us, too!

To join Tyler and cook meals like his favorite Honey Adobo Chopped Chicken Salad, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!


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