Cooking together can be an incredibly fun and connecting activity for couples and families. Yes at times cooking can feel like it is a chore if we are tired and overloaded; especially, if we are doing it by our lonesome with no one helping. But together it can lighten this activity, infusing energy and time to talk and interact, something we all could use a bit more of. That said, if you are in an incredibly bad mood or need to be by your self, you may want to wait as some patience and tolerance is part of cooking together.
Cooking as a couple and cooking as a family will have some different dynamics. Cooking as a family with children requires more plan ahead and time alloted. Cooking as a couple (if no children are involved) can be down right romantic and can be a bit more spontaneous. Just remember you may have different ideas on how to make something. Accepting this and avoiding being rigid as to how something should be made will help to keep it positive.
Here are some considerations in planning and cooking together as a couple or as a family.
- Including a planning piece can help to alleviate frustration and disappointment. Of course, at times everyone cooking together may need to be more spontaneous. But if possible, planning what you want and having the needed ingredients can sure make it a more smooth process. Planning might include:
- What is on the menu? Choosing to plan this together can gain more cooperation and encourage a more team approach. This would of course be the most helpful if this is done before you do grocery shopping. Incorporating some things that each person likes can go toward a more satisfying meal for everyone.
- If this is a family activity, are the dishes planned ones that have parts that the younger children can help with? For example: tearing lettuce leaves, stirring a batter, throwing in specific ingredients, etc.
- Patience, tolerance and non perfectionism are some of the main ingredients for cooking as a family. Children are children and they will need to help according to their skill level. The process here is so much more important than the product. RELAXING and EMBRACING the MESS is part of it.
- Making sure there is enough time is important as children will slow the process.
- Having a small healthy snack or appetizer before you start cooking may keep everyone more pleasant and patient.
- If little ones are involved having a place set up that is safe for their involvement is important.
- ENCOURAGING and PRAISING each other makes the process so much sweeter, whether it is as a couple or as a family.
- Planning a themed meal can be fun. For example: Mexican, Italian, etc or a Tea Party or a Backyard Picnic.
Note: As this is Memorial Day Weekend, you could plan a meal that honors a family member that is no longer with you, who has passed on. For example: Grandpa John’s grilled corn or Grandma Sue’s apple pie. The idea here would be to include some dishes that the person was famous for making or a dish that they loved, etc. This would encourage conversation and a time of remembering of our loved ones and their contributions to our food traditions.