Today, cooking shows, celebrity cookbooks, and gourmet cuisine are more popular than ever. While many people love to cook and experiment with recipes and ingredients, others become anxious and upset when they must prepare meals – especially for a group. If you avoid cooking in a way that affects your daily life, you may suffer from Mageirocophobia.
Why Does It Happen?
The fear of cooking usually stems from some insecurity about culinary skills. Some people simply lack the ability to prepare food properly. A bad experience cooking often precedes this fear. Creating a meal for a group that fails to measure up can leave the chef feeling humiliated and unwilling to try again.
Mageirocophobia In Films
In the novel and film, Bridget Jones’ Diary, the main character attempts to prepare a stunning, gourmet feast for her friends on her own birthday. Her difficulties in preparing a meal based on the recipes of master chef Marco Pierre White become quite hilarious. She ends up preparing a repast of blue soup and marmalade. Her spectacular failure is meant to underscore her appealing vulnerability.
Cooking injuries such as burns can also exacerbate this phobia. Grease fires and scalds are common cooking injuries. Cuts from sharp knives can also happen frequently. If someone has injured themselves in the kitchen, they may even suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Time spent in the kitchen or around other who are cooking may trigger painful flashbacks, leading to avoidance and anxiety.
Sometimes, a person’s upbringing can have some bearing on the phobias they are susceptible to. If a child grows up with little or no training in the kitchen, they may become an adult who is fearful of cooking. Sometimes, men may feel less confident than women when faced with preparing meals, simply because they haven’t had the same training. However, many of the preeminent chefs in society are male.
Is Chef Gordon Ramsey A Trigger?
TV programs such as Hell’s Kitchen, which stars acerbic, temperamental ched Gordon Ramsey, may frighten people away from the idea of cooking. Ramsey swears, rages, and cuts down his protegees on this reality show, going do far as to throw food and plates at them if they fail to measure up to his expectations. He has been filmed retching and throwing up after sampling his student’s fare. While many see this drama as simply good comedy, others are genuinely disturbed by Ramsey’s wrath.
Symptoms And Treatment
The symptoms of the fear of cooking are quite similar to those experienced with all phobias. Nervousness, a sense of doom, headaches, lightheadedness, and nausea can surface when the phobia person is confronted with triggers. A reliance on convenience foods and take-out can also contribute to an unhealthy diet that might lead to obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
Treatment of the fear of cooking should begin with education. Almost everyone can learn to prepare basic, healthy foods with a little practice and patience. A competent instructor who understand a student’s fears will be an excellent companion on the journey to wellness. A simple cooking class at a local community college may help to ease fears.
Sometimes, psychotherapy may be required. If this phobia is impacting someone’s ability to eat healthfully or prepare nutritious foods for their family, it is important to seek out the care of a qualified mental health professional. It’s never too early or too late to seek proper assistance for a phobia. When things get out of hand, behaviors like avoidance and even obsessive-compulsive disorder may begin to develop. These difficulties can be hard to treat (although treatment is always possible).
Cooking can be creative, relaxing and nourishing. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy healthful meals they prepare themselves. The fear of cooking can be overcome with time, treatment, and patience.