One of my family’s most cherished traditions is coming together around a home-cooked meal. From the time I was young, my family has always gathered in the kitchen, whether to prepare a meal or to catch up and share stories over a cup of coffee. Years later, I still enjoy making home cooked meals for my family. Sitting down together to share a meal is an opportunity to be present, without television or other distractions, and share what is happening in our lives.
This holiday season, many of us will stay home instead of traveling in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Although we will miss seeing extended family in person, we can still choose to enjoy our favorite dishes. Since we will not have the pressure of cooking for large groups, I encourage families to consider using this year as an opportunity to teach kids (or even some adults) to prepare favorite dishes. You might even consider inviting relatives to participate in a cooking lesson via Facetime or Zoom.
The Joy of Home Cooking Starts at a Young Age
I feel fortunate that my grandmother taught me to cook when I was young. Nutrition plays a major role in our health, and studies show that developing home cooking skills as a young adult leads to long-term health benefits. Learning to cook teaches us how to select ingredients, prepare different types of foods, and assemble a balanced meal. Conversely, not knowing how to cook limits our food choices, causing us to rely more on ready-made foods that can contain high levels of salt or fat. Feeling kitchen confident also makes us more likely to make dinner at home instead of eating at restaurants, where people tend to over indulge.
Today’s busy lifestyle can make eating together a challenge, but it’s worth the effort it takes. I encourage you to take advantage of the extra time spent at home this year by carving out time to connect over meals. Whether you make a favorite family recipe or learn a new dish together, it will be time well spent.