While cooking at home may seem to be a simple task, a new study suggests that it is stressful for some families while being simply impossible for many people.
Dr. Sinikka Elliott, an associate professor of sociology at NC State, said that middle-class, working-class, and poor families faced some similar challenges, for example, mothers from all backgrounds reported difficulty in finding time to prepare meals that everyone in the family would be willing to eat.
A lack of transportation and limited finances make it difficult for mothers in poor families to provide their children with fresh produce. Whereas, middle-class mothers reported being torn between their desires to spend quality time with their children and the expectation that they needed to provide the children with a home-cooked meal.
But, while all families reported financial considerations as a factor in meal planning, finances affected family decisions in very different ways. For example, middle-class mothers were concerned that they weren't able to give their kids the best possible meals because they couldn't afford to buy all organic foods. While, poor families' financial limitations made it more difficult for them to afford fresh produce.
Dr. Sarah Bowen, an associate professor of sociology at NC State, said that the idea of a home-cooked meal was appealing, but it's unrealistic for a lot of families, and the society needs to develop creative solutions like community kitchens, where families work together to arranging to-go meals from schools, to support families and help share the work of providing kids with healthy meals.
The paper, 'The Joy of Cooking?' is published online in Contexts.