Being a cook-at-home family isn’t always glamorous; it can be messy and exhausting. It’s not just some spread in Better Homes and Gardens or Country Living Magazine. Cooking takes energy, time, and a lot of creativity. If you’re feeling tired and you’re thinking about giving in and just ordering takeout every night until the kids are grown, remember why you do it in the first place.
Guest Post by Katie Kapro
You can be a Total Control Freak
Being a control freak gets a bad rap. Who doesn’t want a say over what goes into their body? Cooking at home gives you oversight of all the ingredients that go into your food.
Homemade biscuits, for example, are pretty straightforward: flour, baking soda, salt, butter, and milk. But if you buy the store-bought variety, the tubed kind in the refrigerator section, suddenly you’re dealing with hydrogenated palm oil too. Hydrogenated palm oil is high in saturated fats, can actually boost your appetite, and its production is really crummy for the environment. Homemade biscuits for the win.
Cooks are Naturally Curious
One of the reasons the Paleo diet has become so overwhelmingly popular, aside from the obvious health benefits, is because it is a diet bursting with fun, flavorful recipes that people love to create. There are the totally new, unusual Paleo foods like kelp noodles and fish eyes that pique the interest of adventurous eaters, and then there are also creative twists on old classics. Who can resist the call of a flavorful spaghetti dinner without all the carb-heavy pasta?
Cooking for the whole family gives you the chance to indulge in your culinary curiosity and try new things that you otherwise likely would not. When cooking is built in as an intentional part of your daily ritual, it can become quite an avenue for adventure and exploration! After all, everyone has to eat something for dinner, so it might as well be something new and interesting.
Cooking Takes You Back to Basics
With every century, we humans find ourselves living in an increasingly complicated world. While the work of food remains the same, the processes that go into growing it, moving it, selling it, and buying it have gotten dramatically complex. It’s rare for families to obtain their food outside of a restaurant or grocery store. We’ve gotten so disconnected from the physical acts of hunting and gathering that not only can we get an endless supply of food at any grocery store, but if we really want to, we can even get our meals delivered right to our homes through any number of online meal delivery services.
One of the drawbacks to this massive uptick in technological development and our collective relationship to food is that in many ways we’re still playing catch-up. In 2016, food delivery services suffered a 49.8 percent rise in cyber-attacks. Suddenly our food is hackable. Not only do consumers risk losing a meal, but their personal and financial information is endangered as well.
There will be hiccups along the way in any revolution, even the food revolution, but perhaps some things are just better kept simple. Using locally grown, healthy ingredients and cooking them in your own home just helps to keep things clean.
The Kitchen is Like a Classroom
If you’re cooking for a family with young kids, you’ve probably experienced how much your kids can pick up just from being around you in the kitchen.
Not only do they learn to be comfortable in a kitchen, they also learn all sorts of soft skills and hard skills that prepare them for the world. Soft skills are things like listening, collaboration, trial and error, and socialization. Hard skills are the ones that have immediate applications like following a recipe, prepping food, measuring, and cleaning up after yourself. Once a child has mastery over these skills, they can learn to apply them all sorts of life situations.
Cooking Food is a Cultural Adventure
Last but not least, cooking is a time-tested way to honor and pass on culture to the next generation. We all have heritage, and that heritage comes with unique food. It makes no difference whether you’re cooking Mexican empanadas, Chinese braised sea cucumbers, or German käsespätzle, traditional food is a great way for the entire family to tune-in to its cultural history.
Trying new recipes from all over the world is a great way to introduce the family, especially picky eaters, to new flavors, textures, and ideas. Maybe don’t start with fried chicken feet, but anything is fair game.
The benefits of cooking at home are endless. What are some of the rewards you’ve found from home cooking?