Updated: Nov 21, 2022
Nutritional benefits of cooking at home are well documented, but lesser documented is the impact that cooking together has on relationships. How does cooking together improve your bond? Does it? It turns out, yes - and very much so. No matter where you are on the spectrum of how much you enjoy cooking, cooking together can help create and continue a strong relationship.
HOW COOKING TOGETHER IMPROVES YOUR RELATIONSHIP
COOKING TOGETHER DEEPENS THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR BOND
Michael Pollan's Netflix series "Cooked" wisely stated the art of cooking is in the very foundation that makes us human. One of the core differences in the human species is our enjoyment of food. If cooking is in the very foundation of being human, then working together toward that shared enjoyment of eating is in the very foundation of what establishes human bond. But how? Let's explore more.
COOKING TOGETHER CREATES POSITIVE MEMORY ASSOCIATION
Life's most important and special moments don't just involve food - they often they revolve around food. Mother's Day brunch, a multi-course wedding dinner, eating lucky foods for a prosperous New Year, thoughtfully considered cake for your daughter's 1st birthday, and the list goes on. The preparation of these celebratory moments is an important part of memory association and creates lasting memories comprised of smells, tastes, sounds and textures.
Anyone who has had food poisoning will understand this impact. Taste aversion is a powerful emotional memory that contributes to the theory of survival of the fittest. If you ate a poisonous berry that made you sick, that flavor and even smell can induce sick feelings if you try to eat it again. The same is said about positive taste and smell memories.
Experimental research by Herz and Schooler in 2002 shows memory involving smell is possibly even more powerful than memories evoked by visual or verbal cues. Moments in the kitchen have the opportunity to create powerful, positive and lasting memories. The smell of your family's Sunday Sauce simmering away on the stove, Dad's famous burgers on the grill, Grandma's holiday cookies in the oven... all these smells, flavors and rituals develop very powerful associations. Flavors and smells created with a loved one in the kitchen can reignite special memories for lasting positive associations in the future.
RELATED: Popular cooking classes for couples cooking together.
COOKING TOGETHER LETS YOU FOCUS ON SIMPLE THINGS
On-going studies are examining the way in which technology is impacting human communication and interpersonal interaction. Research conducted at Stanford University found that people who regularly receive several streams of electronic information through email, text and social media cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. Research has shown, it's increasingly important for mental health to find time to focus.
Cooking and eating together are essential parts of the day for cultures in many parts of the world; however as technology presses the expectation of productivity deeper in our lives, those moments are becoming fewer. New World culture and the importance of productivity have challenged traditions of the Old World. Traditions like the siesta, important in places like Italy and Spain, where you return home in the middle of your day to cook, eat and take a nap, haven't followed into New World culture. Productivity has become highly valued, often at compromise of the family and emotional nourishment. That emphasis on productivity also has a shown a direct connection to high stress and poorer quality of life.
Cooking together and spending time together in the kitchen enjoying conversation gives you a chance to pause and focus on the simple things. Mindful cooking has proven to be a a meditative experience, and that focus allows you to enjoy the moment and your relationship.
Book a private 1:1 cooking experience with chefs around the world, in your own kitchen. Rated 'Best Of' by Rolling Stone, WSJ, Esquire and tens more.
COOKING WITH YOUR CHILDREN DEVELOPS LIFE SKILLS
Cooking with your children is important in their development. From a functional perspective, studies show cooking helps children develop a deeper understanding of math, ratios and vocabulary. A much more important and long term view however comes from The American Institute for Cancer Research, Web MD and others which have detailed cooking with your children results in an increase in self-esteem, creativity, cultural awareness, curiosity, team work, acceptance, and ultimately bonding. Skills developed through cooking are not just important in childhood, but developing into a healthy and balanced adult.
COOKING TOGETHER BUILDS TEAM WORK
Skill building doesn't stop with youth. Cooking as an adult develops curiosity, appreciation, creativity and team work, all of which are proven to be important in healthy romantic relationships.
We had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Sue Johnson, renowned author and the leading developer of Emotional Focussed Therapy (EFT). Her approach to couples therapy and the proactive nature of emotional bonding is said to have 90% improvement rate in couple relationships. This approach has been regarded by press, such as the New York Times, as the most successful approach for couples seeking to reconnect. We asked Dr. Johnson about the importance of daily activities like cooking in a romantic relationship.
"Any shared activity that is done with attention, accessibility, responsiveness, and engagement is good for bonding in a couple", says Dr. Johnson. “Our emotional connection is as necessary to our survival as oxygen and food. As it relates to the kitchen - chopping, frying, mixing, blending, listening to music and dancing together - these times in the kitchen are moments to coordinate together and make a couple strong. When a couple feels a trusted and well-coordinated emotional connection - they can do everything well together.”
COOKING TOGETHER ENCOURAGES CURIOSITY
Research shows the more curious a couple is, the more they feel stimulated and energized by their partner. Cooking allows you to experience new tastes, discover new wine, and experiment with global flavors and ingredients. It opens new doors of flavor and cultures thereby encourages new questions. Cooking together allows you to transport yourselves to a different part of the world for the day, which is the next best thing to hopping on a plane. "Inspiration is all around us," says Jenn Nicken, Senior Director for The Chef & The Dish. "When we begin looking at our kitchen as a place that opens doors to new experiences, we open a whole new world. Every night can be a stay at home date night that allows us to virtually travel to another country or explore a new cuisine together."
Video call chefs, live in Italy, Thailand, Mexico, Peru and more countries into your kitchen for a private 1:1 cooking experience. Make Ravioli, Pad Thai, and more together.
COOKING TOGETHER DEVELOPS BETTER COMMUNICATION AND PROBLEM SOLVING
Cooking with someone requires great communication, from chopping instructions to timing the meal. Just like a restaurant kitchen, communication can make or break that night's dinner service. The same happens in your own kitchen. As you work in the kitchen together, you'll communicate and ultimately have to solve problems together. Whether you added too many onions, the sauce is too salty or simply deciding who will be responsible for each part of the menu, regularly developing your communication and problem solving skills will help you navigate life better together.
COOKING TOGETHER BRIDGES CULTURES
Every day at The Chef & The Dish we are in our Test Kitchen conducting classes with our chefs. As we cook together, we share different cultures, talk about our different holidays and traditions, but no matter how different our cultures are, we have something very important in common - the enjoyment of something delicious. No matter how different your day-to-day may seem, cooking with the chefs from another part of the world allows us to see more similarities than differences. The same goes for personal relationships. Differences are part of any relationship. Sharing a common goal allows those differences to dissipate as you work together. And the more you work well together, the more pleasure it brings.
Cooking together plays a significant role in human relationships from building skills to building curiosity. It's part of why we started The Chef & The Dish. The benefits of cooking together are many. So, hang up the keys, open a bottle of wine (or some juice for the kids) and get cooking.
ABOUT THE CHEF & THE DISH
The Chef & The Dish has chefs around the world that you video conference into your kitchen for a private 1:1 virtual cooking class. Learn how to make pasta with a chef video calling you live from Italy, Pad Thai with a chef virtually in your kitchen live from Thailand. Together you cook, share stories, laugh and make a multi course meal together. Rated 'Best Date Night,' 'Best Gifts,' and "Best Cooking Classes" by WSJ, Forbes, Vanity Fair, Martha Stewart, Rolling Stone and tens more. Transport your kitchen for the day.™