Those who don’t cook, I ask you to consider the following. Why do you think that courtship often includes an offer to feed the object of your affection? Why do we feed people after a wedding or funeral and during holidays? Why do the people of some cultures offer food to the dead?
Food is Love
It’s because food is love. Cooking is a care taking behavior that makes us feel loved. Eating certain food releases hormones (estrogen, oxytocin) and/or endorphins that make you feel happy and connected. If you are comforting someone, eating helps create that comfort an grounds them back in their bodies and to the earth. (Food comes from the earth). If you are feeding yourself, eating healthy food helps you to feel content. When you eat with others, you share those feelings with them. If you are courting someone, eating with them helps to make your case! Some people even call oxytocin the “cuddle hormone.” It’s also associated with monogamy and sociability.
Food is Life
Food is also life. It gives us nutrients that allow our bodies to function properly. When you eat healthy food, your body ages more slowly, you have enough energy to get through the day, you sleep well, your emotions are stable, you can focus and concentrate, and you can feel a sense of belonging to your social circle, family, and the wider universe. When you don’t cook, eat irregularly, or make poor food choices, it affects your physical health, mental clarity, ability to regulate emotions, and can keep you from experiencing a spiritual connection. When you eat good food, you have a good life. You really are what you eat. If you are eating ramen noodles, hot pockets, and pop tarts, you won’t have much of a life.
Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.” He understood that not only does food allow your body, mind, and spirit to function well, it can heal a damaged person. It can help to make you whole. It really is that important. Pills mask symptoms and can give you lots of unwanted side effects. Surgery is for emergencies and when things are too far gone and need immediate attention. Herbs are nature’s medicines. Foods are for every day healing. If you don’t cook, your body’s ability to heal is limited.
When You Don’t Know How to Cook
Those who don’t like to cook often feel this way because they don’t really know how to cook. Learning how to cook is learning how to express self love. It’s about learning how to show love and care to others. If you have children, how can you properly care for them if you don’t cook? Can you teach them proper self-care if you avoid cooking?
When you cook with joy, you taste it in the food. A friend of mine is a restaurant owner. I swear he doesn’t have any secret recipes or secret ingredients, but he cooks with such love that his food absolutely oozes with it. And he loves to cook for people who love to eat. When he has an enthusiastic audience, he produces masterpieces. He’s not just sharing food. He’s creating love that goes out into the world and comes back to him.
If you don’t know how to cook, learn. Being able to care for yourself is a skill that will enhance your life tremendously. Having a skill that can help you express love for others and nurture them is a great gift. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef. Having a solid repertoire of six to eight dishes will give you a foundation from which to build.
Cooking classes can be fun! Take your child or a friend and see what you can create. I once took a cooking class while on vacation. It was incredibly informative to learn about the culture, the ingredients, how they are blended, and how to make a complete dinner. Not to mention that at the end of it, we had a great meal and I had the ability to replicate it.
When You Don’t Like to Cook
If you don’t like to cook, my guess is that you haven’t cultivated the habit of cooking or eating mindfully. When you are present with your food, you will notice all the benefits I mentioned earlier. Slow things down. Really pay attention to how using different pans, cooking at different levels of heat, and using different methods (baking vs. slow cooking or grilling) impacts food. Notice the aroma as the food cooks. Pay attention to textures. Savor the aroma. Food is fabulous. It’s delightful. If you are not convinced, find something with striking contrasts or brilliant flavors and let them dance in your mouth, like salted dark chocolate or chipotle chocolate. Now see if you can find that same delight in foods that are more subtle. Or try the cuisine of different cultures. Watch food shows. When you explore food, you can’t help but enjoy it. When you enjoy tasting it, you may enjoy creating it a bit more.
Food is love. Food is life. It heals. When you learn to cook and enjoy it, you give yourself the ability to love, heal, and live.