Does Cooking Have to Feel Like Work?

Beautiful, inexpensive, and healthy to make - I didn't cook this . . . but I easily could have.

What do you think?  Does cooking always have to feel like a chore?  Or do you just prefer fast food to a home cooked meal?  A recent New York Times editorial discusses the cost of junk food relative to home cooked healthy food, the argument being that it is just not true that junk food is cheaper.

I hear this reason (excuse?) often – that healthy food is just too expensive.  While I am sensitive to the real time constraints that we all have in our lives, most of us can put a little more time and effort into meal planning and preparation.  I think the “overwhelm factor” is understandable in the context of human nature, but the result – black and white, all or nothing thinking (in this case, “I do not have time” instead of “I don’t have much time, but I can do a little better.”) – prevents improvements from happening.

I also think that many, possibly most, people look at meal preparation as drudgery, something to avoid as much as possible.  I sometimes feel this way myself after a long day, but if the goal is just to put in a little more effort, it is possible to look at cooking as a relaxing activity.

If cooking knowledge is needed, it may be worth learning just the basics – cooking eggs, roasting meat and vegetables, putting a few ingredients into a slow cooker, making a healthy salad – and looking at meal preparation as a creative venture.  Even a simple home cooked meal can be a work of art!

The editorial does not claim that cooking is easier.  It does, however, make the convincing point that it can be cheaper than fast food . . . AND it can be enjoyable if the goal is not too ambitious to fit into your life.  And, oh, by the way, let’s not forget that nutrition matters and we can make much healthier food at home than what is generally available at a drive thru window.

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