I’m finding a surprising number of people don’t cook anymore, or don’t like to cook but do so anyway because they feel they must. Also, many eat out more than they cook. Others want to rekindle (or develop for the first time) a joy in cooking. When we think of cooking, especially healthful cooking, the task seems daunting and for too many, just pure drudgery. It doesn’t have to be that way.
In times past, cooking was an all-day affair. Women enjoyed the process more than they do today and it was good bonding time with their kids, other family members, and friends. But then again, the women of the household stayed home and life in general was simpler (though more difficult). I for one, don’t have time to spend hours in a kitchen, and wouldn’t even if I didn’t work! The fact that we have many tools readily accessible to make cooking so much easier, should make it less daunting. But because of time constraints these nifty gadgets are relegated to the bottom shelf of a cupboard somewhere, rarely even seeing the light of day.
So where is a happy medium? As an increasing number of people are trying to get away from pre-packaged, processed convenience foods, cooking at home just HAS to get easier somehow!
So how do we find joy in cooking? First of all, make your environment something you enjoy being in. If you can, update your kitchen so you find joy in being there. If you have children, bring them into the process.
The most fun I had cooking as a mom was when my kids were about 8, 10 and 12 years old and older when we initiated a fun plan. We had what we called “Sunday Bake-offs” (today I would do that on Saturdays, but that’s another story). We would get up and have a family council. We’d discuss what was going on in the kids and parents lives, what the activities were for the week, then we’d plan the meals for the week. Each kid and adult had one day a week that they were responsible for the planning and preparation of the meal (to the extent they were age-capable). This way, each child had at least one day every week that they could enjoy something they really wanted.
We would then go shopping (good lessons in math and money management), then go home and cook the whole week’s-worth of food and freeze it. We had a blast. Found it was easier to chop onions or shred cheese for more than one recipe than to do it on separate days. It provided essential family bonding time as well as an easy supply of healthy meals.