Debra Borden, a social worker, wrote the book Cook Your Marriage Happy describing her brand of cooking therapy. Apparently you can improve your emotional health while making dinner. After all, marriage is like a complicated recipe.
Cook your Marriage Happy is a short 90-page manual full of food for thought. Here’s what I learned:
- Cooking is healing, bonding and character building.
- You can use food preparation to deal with emotions, to soothe, satisfy or demonstrate your feelings.
- A complicated recipe can increase your feelings of accomplishment.
- You can chop to lessen frustration, make soup or stew on lazy days, cream sauces for a sexy vibe.
- Through cooking therapy you can diffuse negative emotions, learn to feel more in control.
- In cooking therapy you learn to tell your partner what you like and want.
- It’s always relevant to work on improving your relationship.
- Through focus, preparation, research, planning and commitment, you gain an understanding of yourself and your partner.
Here’s one of Debra’s therapeutic recipes with her apropos title,
Life is Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- 1 lb any chopped meat (Beef is traditional, turkey is fine.)
- 1/2 c seasoned breadcrumbs, panko or matzoh meal (Add a bit of seasoning to unseasoned crumbs: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, parsley.)
- 1 egg
- 1 jar (455 ml) Heinz Chili Sauce
- 6 oz red currant jam, blackcurrant jelly or cranberry sauce (Recipe calls for 8 oz, but it’s a bit too sweet for my marriage partner and me.)
- 1/2 c cooking sherry
In a medium-sized bowl, mix meat, crumbs, seasoning and egg by hand and form into balls.
In a large pot, combine chili sauce, jam and sherry. (Cooking hack: pour sherry into empty chili sauce bottle and shake well to make it easier to empty the jar.) Bring to a boil, then lower heat, add meatballs, simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. A splatter guard is helpful. Makes about 40 cocktail sized meatballs. Serves 10 – 12 as an appetizer. Can be frozen.
- Cooking Therapy can be used to treat anxiety and depression.
- Cooking therapy can improve communication skills.
- Psychology Today touts kitchen therapy as a way to cook up mental wellbeing.
- Plan B – You can Cook Your Marriage Happy with these Meatless Meatballs, highly recommended by my sweet sis Julia Richardson.