There is nothing like time in the kitchen to make me feel good and feel all fuzzy when I serve good food to the family. Here are the reasons why cooking is good for our mental health and may as well be called kitchen therapy.
Nothing to Do But Eat
When the community lockdowns started in March 2020, we found ourselves without business and work and locked inside our building. We have nowhere to go and the only thing that got us busy was to keep tabs of what was going on around us through the TV and Facebook.
Needless to say, the usual buzzing in our commercial area was gone and the neighborhood was eerily silent. There was a sense of foreboding, as it felt like the end of the world already.
Since we didn’t understand much about the pathology of the virus back then, we strictly observed safety protocols. Moreover, we just stayed at home in order to be safe. As much as we could, we ordered food or had ingredients delivered so that we could prepare our own dishes.
Reasons Why Cooking is Good for Our Mental Health
We are an extended family unit in the house. Plus, we have stay-in employees. During the lockdowns, the city life that used to buzz with activity was at a standstill. My in-laws, who worked hard for six days a week had always looked forward to their one day off when they could go to church and unwind afterward.
During the lockdown, all we saw were our walls and each other’s faces.
I took it upon myself to get creative in the kitchen.
It was already bad enough to be locked in at home as a result of the quarantine, but it is worse to be locked in with boring food.
Coming from a family of cooks, I am quite handy in the kitchen but the lockdown helped me realize my cooking prowess. And here are the reasons why cooking is good for our mental health.
Produces good food for the family
Things got pretty boring at home, even though we continued with our homeschooling. One of the shows that got us hooked was MasterChef Junior, top-billed by celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay.
We have completed watching all the episodes and we have been inspired to recreate some of the dishes at home. The show also widened our daughters’ food knowledge, encouraging them to eat many new things.
It was one of the reasons why I am also encouraged to keep cooking for them because the pandemic has certainly expanded their palate. We kept producing restaurant-style food from our kitchen and they are actually eating them. haha
Since it is not every day that we spend time in the kitchen, we took the opportunity to try something new. Sometimes, the recipe is from YouTube. Or the recipe came from a book that our kids stumbled upon in our little library.
We bought different ingredients, tried new cooking techniques, and experimented with tastes. Our eldest Shawna also enjoyed cooking with herbs.
Our times in the kitchen really stimulated our creative juices to create something new or fancy.
Our kitchen is not air-conditioned, so it can be really hot and humid, especially if are using the oven.
From collecting ingredients, washing, slicing, cooking, to plating, we spend a lot of time standing on our feet. We tend to really sweat it out in the kitchen. So many calories burned in a couple of hours.
Cooking with my children has created a lot of happy bonding memories with the girls. We got to chat, argue, discuss, and eventually prepare something really nice for the family. Their sense of achievement after making every dish is worth all the effort and stress on my part.
Moreover, we get to enjoy the meals with our other family members where the kids get to discuss what they did. They especially find pride when the elders praise them for their kitchen stint.
Sense of Accomplishment
I am the kind of cook who wants to perfect a certain dish and I would keep doing it until I have achieved it. And the kids are with me, as they are probably the most brutal critics. Haha
It just makes us so happy to be able to accomplish our goal and eventually feed everyone in the family. Sometimes, we make big batches so that we can share the food that we made with our in-house staff. That also makes them so happy.
Preparing good food and feeding that to my family is a passion for me. I do not really intend to get into the food business because I am a moody cook. This means that I cannot consistently produce the same quality of food and the same dishes over and over again.
But what I do notice is that, when I am stressed about something, I find myself spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Preparing the food that I am craving for and eventually eating it makes me happy. And being happy relieves my stress and helps me solve my problems. There is nothing like a happy tummy to help me come up with solutions.
Staying safe at home
Kitchen therapy has made us loved staying at home more. Since we can prepare restaurant-style dishes that we are craving at home and at a fraction of the cost, we no longer feel the need to go out. Not that we can. But at least, the self-quarantine that we imposed on ourselves has become much easier to bear.
Many People Got Into Homecooking and Doing Business, Too
I believe that many people also indulged in kitchen therapy ever since the pandemic started. It is no wonder why we now have so many homecooks with online businesses. The more enterprising lot of people have found that cooking for others can be a potential source of sustainable income. Or it could also be a side hustle.
Being able to do something you love, earn from it, and keep your sanity intact in this pandemic—these are what kitchen therapy has brought us.
- Try this at home: Pinoy Callos Recipe by Mommy Sigrid
Some Recipes that You Might Want to Try
- Hubby and I are fond of K-Dramas. The most memorable scenes for me are those where the actors are eating. haha I just enjoy watching them eat with gusto. One of our latest favorite is Vincenzo. So we made Baked Rigatoni Dinner for the Love of Vincenzo.
- Cooking for the husband means knowing what he likes. He likes curry and spicy food because while he looks like a Korean, he is into Indian cuisine. So I made Spicy Indian-Style Chicken Curry Recipe with Pita Bread for him.
- Our eldest daughter Shawna loves anything healthy. So together, we Discovered the Joy that Avocado Toast Brings.
- Showing you How to Make Baked Tuna Pie Melt Using White Bread. This is simple but it’s like snacks ordered from a restaurant.
- When you have a special occasion, here’s and Easy Boneless Lechon Belly Recipe for the Family