Mageirocophobia is the excessive fear of cooking. Far from being the little preference or taste for this activity, mageirocophobia is characterized by the triggering of experiences of significant anxiety. While not representing a specific clinical category, mageirocophobia is a term recently popularized in local newspapers or blogs, so it’s worth reviewing where it came from.
We will see below what mageirocophobia is, What are some of its manifestations and what strategies may be appropriate to modify it.
Mageirocophobia: for cooking
The term mageirocophobia comes from the Greek “mageiros” meaning “cook” or “butcher”, and “phobos” meaning “panic”. From the same word is also derived the word “magiric”, which means “related to the kitchen”. The latter, with the word “magirista” (expert in cooking), has been present since the end of the 19th century to designate the art of cooking and its history.
Thus, mageirocophobia it’s the fear of cooking. As with all phobias, it’s not just about daily rejection in the kitchen to eat. In other words, it is not about preferring not to cook because it is easier or more convenient to eat outside the house or to eat foods prepared by someone else. A phobia is only considered as the activity that triggers an experience of irrational panic (not explainable by the cultural codes of the person) and therefore generates significant anxiety.
Mageirocophobia, however, it is not considered a specific clinical category nor has it been studied or characterized by psychopathology. For the same reason, it is not considered to be so serious that it merits treatment in itself, beyond psychological intervention aimed at many of its consequences.
The fear of cooking can be part of a larger spectrum of fears related, for example, to the small spaces that some kitchens have, to social approval or disapproval, to the rigidity of instructions in certain recipes, or, to one to culinary utensils. Likewise, mageirocophobia this can range from being afraid of being asked to cook, to preparing complex dishes in the oven.
Likewise, this fear can be linked to the way in which the person has socialized in relation to the cooking activity, that is to say according to the rules and roles of his immediate environment. The latter includes expectations or demands that have been presented to him socially and which may have led him to associate the activity of cooking with something unpleasant.
In other words, the above may have generated specific perceptions about the activity of ultimately cooking. they trigger discomfort or rejection. So, some of the main causes of mageirocophobia can be:
- Fear of injury or burns related to the cooking process.
- To spread viruses or diseases.
- Fear of poorly prepared meals.
- Fear of the complexity of the recipes.
- Fears related to eating disorders.
As we have seen previously, the demonstrations they may vary depending on the person and their immediate context. In general, manifestations of mageirocophobia include refusal to cook accompanied by excessive avoidance of approaching the kitchen or any place where this activity takes place.
This means that panic can be triggered even when you are in situations where another person is cooking. They also accompany him characteristic symptoms of anxiety, Present in all phobias by definition: suffocation, dizziness, sweating, restlessness, chest pain, etc.
The most common treatment used for phobias is the cognitive-behavioral perspective, Which consists in modifying the thoughts which are generated in the face of the rejection of the stimuli to which one fears; in this case, it would be in the action of cooking. It also focuses on making a series of successive stimulus approaches, which can begin to present simple images until they come closer and closer to a kitchen.
Likewise, this is combined with strong emotional support which reduces the person’s anxiety levels about the stimulus; and may include a more in-depth exploration of meanings associated with cooking, allowing them to be changed or confronted over time.
Since mageirocophobia is most likely linked to larger and more complex experiences of anxiety, it’s important to treat them as a whole. Mageirocophobia may just be one manifestation of a wider spectrum of anxiety, so you have to know the other dimensions of the person in order to be able to deal with them. Otherwise, it may fall into the error of changing behavior only temporarily or superficially and motivated only by social approval, beyond eradicating underlying conflicts or around mageirocophobia.
Some strategies to reduce anxiety in the kitchen
To achieve this, progressive and deeper support is needed. However, some simple strategies that can decrease the experience of anxiety specifically related to cooking are as follows:
- Make simple dishes and that they do not involve risks such as burns or cuts, and the gradual cooking of more elaborate dishes.
- Locate a favorite dish or meal that you enjoy very much and try to prepare it, gradually familiarizing yourself with the instructions and utensils.
- Cooking with someone who inspires security and confidence.
- Cooking for other people, preferably nearby, to promote social recognition.
- Perform one of the above steps once a week and gradually increase the frequency.
- Jason (2014). Mageirocophobia – Fear / Phobia of cooking. Most common phobias. Accessed August 22, 2018.Available at http://mostcommonphobias.com/mageirocophobia-fear-phobia-cooking/.
- Albers, S. (2010). Overcome mageirocophobia – the fear of cooking. HuffPost. Accessed August 22, 2018.Available at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-susan-albers/overcoming-mageirocophobi_b_711520.html?guccounter=1.
- Quinion, M. (2010). Magiric. Words around the world. Accessed August 22, 2018.Available at http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-mag1.htm.
- Soyer, A. (1853). The Pantropheon: The American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection. Andrews McMEel Edition: Kansas, City.