The Cook’s Surprise: Foods with hidden benefits for health and emotional lifts

Dr. Patricia Farrell
6 min readJul 10, 2020
Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

Eat we must, but cooking isn’t something on everyone’s to-do list. Should it be the joy Julia Child (The French Chef on T.V.) and Irma S. Rombaue (who wrote The Joy of Cooking after her husband’s suicide in 1930) found in cooking?

Child’s food preparation had an appeal close to sexual, and Rombaue found an activity to combat her depression. Cooking brought calm and meaningful activity that resulted in what we see as gustatory delights.

Selling in the tens of thousands, both women’s bestselling cookbooks have been prized gifts for engagements and weddings. Now they are the stuff of “genius” for anyone living on their own and planning a meal. During a pandemic, they have become a new lifesaver in a sea of uncertainty.

Child’s book even sparked a non-fiction book and film, “Julie and Julia,” where a young woman cooks every one of the recipes in Child’s book. The writer/director of the film was none other than the cooking maven, pie-loving Nora Ephron. When asked what she would most miss in life if she died, Ephron responded, “Pie.”

The cookbooks have adorned kitchen shelves and provided both the pleasure and the answer cooks have sought when a task often seemed tedious or daunting. Cooking can even cement relationships and family affiliations. My mother had to cook for seven each evening, and I seriously doubt she looked forward to it. No, she didn’t have a cookbook, just a good memory for her mother's recipes.

But can the recipes we use and the ingredients in them have an additional benefit besides sating our need for nourishment? The answer is yes.

Food to the Rescue

Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

The abundance of foods, the seemingly never-ending new recipes to be discovered, and the science behind nutrition are all benefiting you. But first…

Dr. Patricia Farrell

Dr. Farrell is a psychologist, consultant, author, interested in flash fiction writing (, and health.