Just wondering if others of a certain age have noticed themselves slowing down in the kitchen? In regards to enthusiasm to cook as well as the time it takes to complete the project.
It has definitely happened to me. Everything takes twice as long at least than the old days. Don’t know if it’s due to the fact I no longer work and am no longer rushed, or maybe just the aging process. Maybe a little of both?
My experience is quite different than yours, Lambchop. When I was in the workforce my wife did 99% of the cooking. When good weather hit here in the upper midwest, I’d drag out the Weber and grill dinner maybe three times a week.
I retired before my dear wife did, so I started to do a lot more of the cooking year 'round. And I discovered I loved working in the kitchen. (I also discovered we didn’t have enough kitchen toys to play with, so Bed, Bath & Beyond and Amazon and Wayfair saw their sales get a healthy jolt when I fired up the old credit card).
I don’t have a Before-and-After touchstone to think about. A lot of terrific chefs and websites taught me my way around the kitchen, here, late in life. Truth be told, I get a bit cranky if someone wants to help while I’m putzing around the stove.
Well, age matters, but so do physical ailments. For example, tremors from Parkinson’s, or arthritis, or worsening eyesight, are going to make cooking more difficult. I find for me (age 68) cooking seems more effort, and my tendency toward back pain after standing, bending, etc., isn’t helping. I was never into fancy cooking, but now I stick to my simpler recipes even more. (I find myself simplifying even those, e. g., substituting textured vegetable protein for shredded chicken; who wants to spend all that time shredding chicken?)
Thanks for your thoughtful reply Jimmy. So glad you’ve found something you love to do since you retired. Your wife is lucky too!
DH has always loved to cook, but did mostly grilling, helping me sometimes & doing his own projects. He’s still working, and after a long, tiring day will come home and bang out a delicious dish. He finds it relaxing So I’m lucky that way and realize it.
I cooked up a storm while raising the 2 offspring and loved it. Labor intensive stuff too, when they were in school, even when working PT or FT.
I’m a bit frustrated now that I have the time, resources and a beautiful, newly remodeled kitchen. I’m sure I’ll find a way to adapt and enjoy the process again.
ETA: Unfortunately this ennui hasn’t affected my love of gadgets, gear or cooking magazines lol. Let me know if you need any BBB coupons.
I’ve placed myself under a total shopping ban…
Yes Evelyn, I’m only 3 years behind you and do at this age have my share of aches and pains. Luckily the osteo arthritis hasn’t affected my hands so far. I sit down to do prep work when I can to spare my back.
We hosted a casual going away party for twenty, a week ago and I was exhausted when it was over.
Nearly everyone i know over 65 has cut back on cooking in various ways . Cooking less often , reducing rotation of foods to plainer simpler offerings , less side dishes and less quantity of food .
We dont host parties or holidays so much and ask the younger generation to lift the turkey/ ham / roast out of the oven .
When we entertain its less spicy , less complex recipes and horrors of horrors , some of the food is store bought . The last two Christmas dinners my husband and i made were more like cocktail parties with shrimp cocktail, baked ham salads , cheeses , dips and ice cream for dessert
I live alone, cook alone, and eat alone, so I cook what I want when I want. Sometimes, it’s just a bowl of cereal. LOL I usually do more cooking on weekends, because I have the time to do so with more preparation time. But sometimes it’s just a piece of chicken roasted in the oven with some leftover sides (as I did this past weekend). I’m not retired (just 60yo), so I don’t have the same before/after touchstone, as @RedJim noted.
But my mother stopped cooking awhile back for several reasons: (1) she didn’t like to cook; (2) (3) as @eleeper said, Parkinson’s and back and leg pain while standing. She ended up preferring just heating up my small “Mom Meals” I would make for her when she was still living on her own, or a frozen Stouffers or Lean Cuisine meal.
Since I love to cook, I do hope I don’t lose that enjoyment. The age aches are something I expect to happen, which could then affect what I actually take time to make. But I’m not there yet.
I’ve found that with age comes decreased appetite and capacity so our meals have become pretty simple. We’ve also found we have less interest in big chunks of protein, A veg starter and some kind of main course, often assembled from fridge and pantry, incorporating bits and pieces into a main dish, soup, frittata, quiche, etc.
While I really don’t love to cook, I do love to feed people. So we continue to have dinner parties for 8 -10 about every 6 weeks, alternating among a group of (younger) friends. i find I can pull these off by planning a menu that can be broken down into parts that can be done over several days, leaving only a few big projects for “party day”. So far this has worked to minimize creating back issues from long periods of standing
Thanks for all the helpful advice! My saying and belief is use it or lose it. I even go to the gym to keep up muscle mass. That’s a good thing.
Most of my local friends are younger than me by 7-10 years! One couple we socialize with are still in their 40’s! The kids are millennials, so we try to stay in touch with what that generation is doing, how they think and occasional help with technology if we get hung up.
I’ve been cooking ever since I was 18, making it 47 years now, so maybe I’m just a little burned out. But I hope to get the mojo back and try to spark my old enthusiasm for the kitchen.
Through observation since my thirties I have realized most seniors start to cook and eat less as well as eat differently. Totally agree on the big slabs of protein; a rib eye will usually be 3 meals for me. Heavy foods are often not appealing. At restos a lot of my plate comes home with me.
Linda Whit, I’ve seen your great dinners on the dinner thread and am amazed and admire when singletons take the time to cook themselves a good meal.
Anyway, never really expected to be in a funk like this!! One reason I started to post here. On balance, I’ve had an atypical year since early January, with a few setbacks, though nothing serious.
I’ve been feeling this way on a professional level (pastry chef/chocolatier) and it scares me. 15 years ago I smugly judged the middle aged cooks struggling to keep up with the rest of us, now it all makes sense. I’m late 40’s & have hand, elbow and shoulder issues from repetitive use and just overall less spring in my step. The scary part is that I’ll need to work for 20 more years.
Thanks. My thought is that if I don’t do it, no one else will. And if I don’t, I’ll just keep accumulating all of the “stuff” I get from specialty stores, Home Goods, and Amazon. I guess that would be a different type of hoarder - mustards, spice blend mixes, honeys and the like overflowing my house.
Cooking funks happen. But perhaps once you get fully past those minor setbacks, the enjoyment will return. Or go through your cookbooks and find something you’ve not yet made but have been interested in, and pull it out to make soon?
The HO community is such a diverse group, just reading and participating makes me feel good. My kitchen skills have improved and the inspiration is outstanding. Hardly the slow down vibe, even on days when I only read and am in IF mode.
From what I am reading here, its easy to relate. Sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes the nail.
Well said! I’ve absolutely lost interest in cooking for about 2 months a few weeks back. Not much energy and blues in everything. Finally, I forced myself to get motivate, set aims, forced myself to fulfil a number of tasks everyday. Not matter how small, they counted. Difficult but slowly got better and on the conquest to find more tasks to fulfil the quota of each day, I finally got interested again. Maybe try to get close with people with positive energy and active, it’s inspiring too.
It has always been my fantasy that one day I would be working in a restaurant when I was in my 30s some 10 years ago. I still do. My instinct told me that was nuts, and luckily I listened to it because without working in a professional kitchen, I already have all type of aches now.
Perhaps you are reading my mind. In all seriousness, setbacks large and small can cause a person to lose their cooking mojo at any age. A need to push most things aside for other family responsibilities left me almost no time to cook. Slowly my enthusiasm is bouncing back. Workdays that don’t end when expected pose another challenge.
I’m much more motivated when I don’t make myself feel guilty for not cooking more. I am my own worst critic, like a lot of us probably are.
So much wisdom here but also so much angst. Let me put it in perspective. About all of you are in the age range I call my "younger friends’. Sure, we have ups an downs in cooking energy, but even when I don’t feel like cooking, I enjoy food magazines and forums. As I’ve written, we eat very simply day in and day out, but I force myself to keep entertaining.
My d-i-l has no interest in cooking so I try encourage my young grandkids, As a serious garage sale junky, SOMEONE has to benefit from my lifetime collection of fabulous, esoteric cooking stuffs!
Make a book of your best recipes with photos to gift to your grandkids. My MIL is a fab cook, unfortunately my BIL or SIL has no interest in cooking, I have been thinking about it for a while, to stir some interest for my baby niece and nephew to continue.