We may not notice it but most mums cooking at home face harsh realities with this seemingly-caring act. Food can symbolise the ties that bind, but mealtime can be a vehicle for painful memories in a dysfunctional family.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Harsh Realities of Mealtime for Mums Cooking at Home
- The Strong Connection Between Food and Memories
- Why Food Is So Powerful to Us
Harsh Realities of Mealtime for Mums Cooking at Home
In almost every household, the usual role of the father is the homemaker. Meanwhile, the mothers are usually in charge of household duties that include feeding the family.
One study says that 70% of women cook regardless if they are married or single. The gap between women and men is a bit wide, 46%. Aside from that, women with children usually spend more time cooking and serving food to their families.
The Toxic and Healthy Family
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They say that food can symbolise the ties that bind in a functioning and loving family.
According to Marcel Proust, the sensory experience of food can become vivid and automatic real of times past. With the smell or the sweet taste and fragrance of food, you’ll easily remember the memory you had with it.
Cooking and preparing meals are caring acts within a healthy family. Meanwhile, food can also become a powerful tool in an unloving mother’s weaponry. There were times when a family’s social status could affect our memories of certain foods.
Some studies claim that food comes with its cultural freight. Sometimes an individual remembers what they can afford and not afford to eat; and whether they can feed their family well. They sometimes remember how much they eat, and the food reflects how thin or fat they are.
It could be heartbreaking, but food can be symbolically complex on a micro-level in a toxic family. Food and mealtimes can be a vehicle for an individual’s painful memories.
Food Can Indicate Control Without Saying a Word
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Someone’s mealtime can become a way for mums to exert power and control in their hands. On the other hand, it could also serve as a reward or punishment for their kid’s behaviour.
In a child’s eye, eating homecooked meals may trigger traumatic experiences. Some mums cooking at home use food to subtly or deliberately display their love or annoyance. Your child catches on when you serve meals they hate after disappointing you. This act results in making your child feel like they always need to prove themselves before getting a better-tasking meal. Furthermore, cooking their favourite food upon doing a good deed may make them feel both happy and conflicted.
Meanwhile, other mums force their kids to eat despite being full or not liking the food served. This form of discipline may seem like training your kids to stop being picky eaters. However, this gesture also makes them feel as if their opinion or preference doesn’t matter.
If you do this at home, you may be damaging your kids’ relationship with food. Dictating or controlling their meals makes them lose their appetites or hate eating at home altogether. Moreover, we suggest you consider separating discipline from using food as a reward or punishment.
The Strong Connection Between Food and Memories
According to John S. Allen’s The Omnivorous Mind from Harvard University Press, “We all have our food memories, some good and some bad.”
The taste, smell, and texture of food can be extraordinarily evocative. It could not just bring back memories of eating food itself but also of place and setting.
“Food is an effective trigger of deeper memories of feelings and emotions, internal states of the mind and body.”
The sense of smell is the sense most closely tied to memory. Moreover, the sense of taste is the second. When you combine the two, it is quite literally what memories are made of.
For some, food is the definitive reason that they have memories. Instead, it is the experience that was created while eating certain foods.
Why Is What We Eat So Powerful?
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Allen also posits several reasons why what we eat is so powerful.
Our brain’s olfactory “button”
A part of the human brain known to be hippocampus is responsible for emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system. It is strongly linked to the parts of the brain that affect the sense of smell.
A remembered smell triggers a memory associated with it.
“Many of the hormones that regulate appetite, digestion and eating behaviour also have receptors in the hippocampus,” notes Allen.
Eating highly appealing food can activate one’s brain reward centre. It is essentially giving the internal systems the message, “You did good, kid.”
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