The Benefits of Healthy Home Cooking: Making the Most of Your Kitchen


Cooking on a weekday afternoon or evening brings me an immense amount of joy, especially when accompanied by the carefully chosen melodies of my Spotify playlist. Whatever I may be preparing (which generally involves an excessive amount of cheeseis secondary in comparison to the experience as a whole. It provides an opportunity to consider the philosophical question of whether the journey or the destination is more important.

Despite the fact that food can be quite delicious, the destination of cooking itself is often more rewarding and pleasurable than the end product; in some cases, hours spent slaving over a dish may result in a disappointing meal that is soon devoured. Cooking has become known to act as a balm for many, where it serves as a form of art therapy for reducing symptoms associated with mental illness. It provides a centering experience that allows one to achieve soul-satisfaction with the tangible outcome affording them the ability to become grounded in the process. Culinary endeavors are an enjoyable solution to any immediate issue, allowing for a hands-on task that is both calming and fulfilling.

The restorative experimentation inherent in cooking can help to enhance one’s appreciation of its insular nature. It provides an opportunity to capitalize on existing tastes and talents, as well as turn a mundane activity (eatinginto something artistic and meaningful. Moreover, nostalgic recipes or food-splattered recipe cards that have been passed down from generation to generation offer insight into days gone by, while the corresponding familiarity of lost loved ones can be accessed through evocative smells and flavors. Lastly, there is a comforting sense of security that comes with knowing that for the next hour or so, one will be surrounded by flavors, smells, and memories that have been carefully curated.

Cooking can be immensely beneficial, offering many opportunities to learn a variety of skills such as techniques, utensils, cooking vessels and plating. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to explore interesting aspects of history, culture, and the various ingredients that accompany different dishes. Rather than viewing weeknight meals with a sense of urgency, one should embrace cooking as a source of solace, enabling a reprieve from the anxieties of everyday life and an opportunity for mindfulness. Access to a kitchen can grant individuals privileged access to a range of calming tasks and possibilities. Consequently, cooking should be esteemed as an invaluable panacea.

When attending college, I enrolled in a course focused on positive psychology and studied extensively about the concept of “flow,” which I wrote about extensively in my final paper. According to Verywell Mind, flow is best described as “a state of mind in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity.” Flow is not exclusive to any one type of action and can be experienced when performing necessary daily activities, such as providing sustenance for oneself and those we love. The act of nourishment can also be seen as an embrace of finding joy in a necessity required by all, regardless of culinary stature.

I am satisfied and complete while savoring the moment to the utmost. In my opinion, the only moments when I experience a “flow” state are when I am cooking and writing. This is not exclusive to the kitchen; however. If you would like additional delightful food writing and recipes, I suggest you subscribe to Salon Food’s newsletter, The Bite. I recently conversed with my acquaintance Alex Waidelich, who is a Licensed Associate Counselor based in New Jersey, regarding the concept of mental health awareness when one is cooking in the home kitchen. She discussed executive functioning, which is an increasingly popular topic amongst both educational and non-educational circles.

The moral

In conclusion, the concept of flow is an important one for everyone to explore and take advantage of in order to lead a more joyful and purposeful life. Flow encompasses the natural rhythms of life, including the act of nourishment. By taking part in activities that bring us into this state of mind, we can provide ourselves and those around us with the sustenance they need, both physically and spiritually. Nourishment is both a necessity and an opportunity to thrive, so embrace it with flow.


Hakan Author

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