What ya’ll think? Cooking part works, the cleaning not so much for me!
I agree with the emotional benefits of cooking and baking and add on the brain benefits of memory exercise (esp baking).
It has always been the case for me. I find cooking therapeutic. Not only that, it teaches me things about the food, a culture, and about myself. For me it starts when I read the recipe or learn the background story of some food. I often do (intense) thinking when slicing, peeling or chopping. And being interesting in (food) photography I also have to think about how to plate the food and the colours or textures.
Sometimes I see people with (older) children who buy already cut vegs and foods I think it’s too bad they don’t spend the time teaching them how to prepare ingredients and cook them. It’s quality time spent together with added benefit of learning.
The partner likes to learn from me how to select fruits, vegs etc, that kind of things. We still cook together (but it has to be my way because I’m very particular about how things should be done).
Tangentially, cleaning up doesn’t bother me. Over time I have collected “stuff” I enjoy using and handling. It pleases me to restore them to pristine after use. Weird, I know. Conversely, I loathe having to spend time cleaning things I don’t like or respect.
I am a huge advocate of behavioral activation. As long as I don’t get huge-er ( is that a word?) in the process.
I love when I get time to devote to cooking new foods or dishes, and there is enormous satisfaction when it comes out well. Weekend cooking or cooking projects are usually relaxing for me (not the nightly cooking after work though) and are helpful to de-stress.
Cleaning is not a problem for regular cooking, but if I’m making something complicated that requires a lot equipment, then I might dislike the cleaning up process afterwards.
I long ago understood that cooking, like playing music instruments, is for me what meditation is to some others.
I recall when I was starting in my career and on a crazy learning curve, I’d come home exhausted. A friend in similar circumstance told me he couldn’t believe I’d nonetheless spend an hour or more in the evening making something just for myself instead of just putting something frozen in the microwave or oven. I told him that after my day, a microwave is not going to help much; I needed a change of gears.