The Fear Of Cooking Is A Real Thing

Not everyone enjoys cooking. For some people, it's a labor of love. For others it's just labor — the kind that creates nothing more than sweat, frustration, the occasional sliced appendage, and a precariously balanced Everest of dishes. These kitchen-adverse individuals are the ones who likely resented their Easy Bake ovens, have a perpetually empty fridge, and are on a first-name basis with their DoorDash drivers. They rarely cook, and when they do, it often ends in disaster. And on the infrequent occasion that they invite people over for dinner, guests often pretend their calendar is busier than Walmart on a Black Friday. 

If you have a cooking-challenged friend who becomes visibly distressed in the kitchen, maybe go easy on them. It turns out that these completely uncomfortable-in-an-oven-mitt folks may have a perfectly valid reason for their distaste for "all things kitchen." They aren't simply lacking in culinary know-how. They may actually suffer from a valid psychological condition that renders them incapable of functioning anywhere near a food prep station. Yes, this phobia is a real thing and there is a name for it. 

The fear of cooking can make homemade meals an impossibility

According to Eat This, Not That!, the fear of cooking is known as "mageirocophobia" — a bonafide but bizarre food phobia. People with this fear do not all experience it in the same way. Very Well Mind explains that possible fears include accidentally making people ill; presenting a subpar or inedible meal; creating a dish that is visually unappealing; injuring themselves during the cooking process; or becoming overwhelmed by an intricate recipe. This condition can occur when someone is preparing food for a large group, for their own families, and even when they are cooking for themselves.  

While this phobia may sound like a great reason to get out of the nightly monotony of cooking, it can seriously disrupt someone's life. Imagine not being able to contribute to a potluck, host a family barbecue, bake cookies with your children, or provide homemade meals for your family. Psych Times reveals that those with the condition may experience severe anxiety and panic attacks simply by thinking of cooking, and that some even find going to a restaurant triggering when they catch sight of a kitchen appliance or a cook.  

So, the next time your friend breaks out into a sweat over an impending potluck, ask them to bring the paper plates, and stop telling jokes about their ability to burn water. If they do extend a dinner invitation, accept it. And remember that their fear is real, no matter how irrational it seems to you.