Why Do You Cook?

Is cooking important to you?  Have you ever thought about why?  Or why not?

Today we actually do have the option to simply not cook.  We can eat out, buy packaged or prepared food at the grocery store, or choose from a myriad of food preparation services available to us.  So why would a person choose to spend the time to cook on a regular basis?  Is it simply because eating out is too expensive?  Is it because we are expected to cook?  Or are there other reasons?

I’ve heard many women of different ages and stages say that they have “quit” cooking for at least a season in their lives.  They declare it loud and clear, making the announcement that they are not going to cook dinner.  I’ve thought about it and I’ll bet you have too.  Why do we feel that way sometimes?  I think it’s because we begin to feel resentful that we work so hard to please our families and we feel unappreciated and taken for granted.  Maybe it’s also because there are so many other expectations – from others or ourselves – that we are trying to meet that cooking seems like one that can possibly be let go.

A few months ago, I worked through the book Living Forward by Michael Hyatt.  The book helps the reader discover their desired priorities and compare them against how they are actually living.  I learned something about myself that I didn’t know during this process.

I wasn’t surprised to see that my first priorities are my relationship with God, self-care, and my relationships with my husband and children.  However, my very next priority turned out to be my role as family nutritionist and cook.  This surprised me considering I homeschool my son, I feel God calling me to write, we live on a farm, and, of course, there is my role as household manager.

Cooking came before all of these other things.  Why?

I wrote that my purpose in cooking for my family is to feed us nutritious, whole, chemical-free food,  and to teach my children how make healthy choices and establish healthy eating habits while efficiently preparing simple meals.

I try to remember that people come before things.  My relationships should come first.  But after that, the most important thing that I should take care of is my body, right?

“The greatest wealth is health.” – Virgil

If I teach my child all that he needs to know to be successful in his chosen career, but his body is unhealthy, it profits him nothing.  If I write a bestselling book and maintain this farm in beautiful condition, but my health fails because I have neglected it, all these things are as nothing.  If I keep the house clean at all times and do the laundry on schedule, but I don’t have the energy to love my family well, it is worthless.

Knowing this I now see – and can justify – why I spend so much time in my kitchen.

Knowing my “why” helps me to narrow my focus.

I don’t cook so that my family can enjoy Pinterest-worthy meals every night.  I don’t even cook to please my family all of the time!  There is no need to pressure myself into limiting our menu to their favorites.  And really – don’t tell them this – they don’t even have to like it that much.  They just need to eat it.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t TRY to make food that is delicious or that I never take their preferences into account.

If I know that I’m cooking with a greater purpose in mind, it gives me freedom to:

  • Serve scrambled eggs or frittata for dinner on a regular basis to avoid the drive thru – again.
  • Serve unconventional foods at different meals.  It’s August and squash is fair game for breakfast these days!
  • Quickly pack some sliced meat, cheese, and bread in a cooler and call it dinner when in “town”  all day for various activities – again to avoid eating out too often.
  • Regularly have leftover night, sandwich night, breakfast night, or “lunch for dinner” night – also known as fend-for-yourself-night.
  • Experiment with new methods of cooking without using a recipe, knowing that if the meat turns out too dry or the vegetable too mushy, I will make a note of it in my kitchen notebook and we’ll just eat it anyway.
  • Serve salmon even though one of my children clearly communicates that she doesn’t like it.
  • Ignore the eye rolls and sighs when someone isn’t pleased with their plate.
  • Spend a Saturday canning tomatoes for winter or freezing squash.
  • Ignore the Pinterest recipe revolution unless I’m really in the mood and have the time to find something new and different.
  • Spend time thinking about how I cook and ways to make it more efficient.
  • Require my kids to cook dinner once a week or so – even if it’s actually more work for me and even if it means that we have to limit extra-curricular activities – because I believe that this skill is more important than whatever they’re learning at practice.

But Mom, what about Fettuccini Alfredo or Meatloaf?

This doesn’t mean that I don’t make my family their favorites for special occasions or submit to an occasional request.  It just means that I can take the pressure off when someone asks the once dreaded question of, “What’s for dinner?”

I choose to spend time in the kitchen not because it’s expected or because I’m trying to win the Wife/Mother of the Year award.  Time spent in the kitchen is important to me because I believe it’s one of the most valuable ways I can spend my time.  It is an investment in my family’s future and I want to be a good steward of the healthy bodies that God has given us.

This is a good reminder for me in this crazy garden harvest time as I spend a lot of time washing and chopping.   I hope that it will encourage you to think about why you do or don’t cook.    Leave a comment below and share your why – or why not!


  1. Love it! Every night, I get anxiety thinking about the comments that await me at the dinner table.. The idea of focusing on my reason for cooking (to nurture health rather than please) makes my heart take a big sigh of relief! I am going to make this my mantra when I am cooking away and I hear someone shout, “Mom…what’s are you making for dinner?”

    1. I can totally relate to the anxiety around dinner! That’s what got me thinking about the why. Thanks for reading. And subscribing 🙂

  2. This is perfect! So many of us moms feel pressure for our dinner tables to look like June Cleaver’s and to please everyone’s palate. Too often I end up wasting good food or stressing out over creating the perfect looking plate. Your words are a great reminder that focusing on health and being a good steward of our resources doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!

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