With food prices rising and household budgets feeling the strain of a tough economy, more families are rediscovering the financial and social value of cooking more meals at home. Preparing meals in your own kitchen provides a number of benefits; couples can share an activity they enjoy, families spend more quality time together, and home cooks can control the quality of the food they serve and the environmental and societal impact of their choices.
The ability to choose your own ingredients is one of the greatest advantages of cooking at home. You might choose to purchase only sustainable seafood, for example, to help protect global fish populations. Or you might buy foods that are produced locally and don’t have to travel far to stores. Some home cooks purchase organic products to avoid ingesting chemicals, hormones, and preservatives. A number of major supermarket chains now offer affordable organic food lines. There is also a growing awareness of the need to support more humane farming practices by purchasing not only organic meats and dairy products, but also such animal-friendly products as cage-free eggs. Vegetarians, meanwhile, can guarantee that they are not consuming animal products if they buy their own ingredients and prepare meals at home.
Control over food choices is just one benefit, however, of doing more home cooking. In years past, the kitchen was the room where families gathered regularly for food and conversation. In modern society, with many family members scattered and involved in outside activities, cooking at home can help reclaim family time. Everyone can be involved in creating a meal. Couples can enjoy the companionship involved in preparing a meal together and catching up on conversation. In larger families, young children might enjoy setting the table, while older kids can help wash vegetables, prepare a salad, and mix ingredients for dessert. Teaching cooking skills to children is an opportunity to deepen parent-child relationships. And recipes handed down from generation to generation contribute to a sense of belonging and continuity.
If you are considering designing or renovating your kitchen with more home cooking in mind, here are some basic tips:
- Consider the flow of meal preparation when you design or renovate your kitchen. Should the microwave oven be within reach of young children? Would it help if the refrigerator was located near counter space, or if areas designated for chopping vegetables were situated next to the stovetop? Would a center island provide a food prep area to supplement limited counter space?
- Make sure you have enough storage for fresh, frozen, and canned ingredients, and for leftovers after meals. This involves choosing the right cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer for your space. Both Atherton Appliance & Kitchens and BSC Culinary offer numerous appliance and storage options to suit any size kitchen or family. Our showrooms also offer both full-size and under counter wine storage options.
- Have you thought about installing ENERGY STAR® rated or water-saving appliances? Such eco-friendly choices will help you save on utility bills now that you’ve decided to cook more at home.
- How about all of the money you’ve been spending on daily coffee runs to the corner coffee shop? Install a coffee maker that can be set to brew different coffee portions and types, such as this built-in model from Thermador, or one of the many options available from Miele.
- Are you a serious cook who wants to prepare restaurant quality meals? Premium brand Wolf has been synonymous for years with professional cooking equipment, and has adapted its products for the serious home cook. Our showroom staff will be happy to discuss their products and other options.
If you’re a member of one of the many American families that have decided to cook more meals at home, we are excited to support your decision. Visit one of our showrooms today. Our staff will help you improve your current kitchen, or design the new kitchen of your dreams.
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