Published in


Culinary therapy: Practicing self-love through cooking

I love cooking and have been doing it for a long time. It’s something really important to me. I do have a complicated relationship with food, but who doesn’t.

People love my home-cooked food and would compliment me on my culinary skills (I have no professional training) but for the longest time, I didn’t quite get what was that secret sauce in my cooking that makes it so good. As an educator, I also wondered how to pass “this thing I have” to others?

And then I read about culinary therapy. It all made sense!

I love cooking for myself because I made a committment that I will show up and take care of myself no matter what.

When the food you make loves you back. Photo by Lily Ciric Hoffmann

I picked myself up so many times and still do with meals I know will make me feel better at that particular moment. I’ve also learned to be gentle and forgiving when I fail to do that. It’s about knowing yourself, your needs and respecting yourself enough so that you can fully accept yourself with all the good and bad.

I can show others how much I love them through my cooking, but what I want to do is teach others to love themselves through home-cooked meals. There are so many benefits to home cooking besides the ones we typically think of.

It’s not about what others will make for you to show how much they love you but what you will make for yourself.

Please take a moment and read this wonderful article that explains culinary therapy “Cooking with Your Heart: Healing with Culinary Therapy” published in Verily Magazine recently.

“Cooking therapy also stands out among art therapies, in that it has an unparalleled potential mind-body impact. It activates our senses of sight, sound, and touch at the same time the brain is processing smell and taste. And the food itself almost instantly goes to work on the intricate hormone system that helps regulate our moods and sense of well-being.” ~ Cooking with Your Heart: Healing with Culinary Therapy

I’m a fan of Dr. Michael Kocet, professor and chair of the counselor education department at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, who developed one of the first graduate culinary therapy courses. My goal is to make culinary therapy available to everyone interested. I think it’s effective and can be perfect for some in addition to traditional therapy never as a replacement.

And if you’re unsure about traditional therapy, I want to make a safe space where we can all share our experiences and support each other, because as much as we love being alone in the kitchen and cooking (I so do 😊), we as humans all need to connect, feel understood, and have a sense of belonging.

If this resonates with you, please join Dishmeetup. It’s a community of people who enjoy home cooking/baking and want to use culinary therapy that combines gastronomy, nutrition, and an individual’s personal, cultural, and familial relationship with food to address issues with stress and anxiety to build self-care practices and habits, learn how to better listen to our body/mind needs, share our experiences, and help and support each other.

The ultimate goal is to learn to accept and love ourselves for who we are, show up for ourselves, nurture our creativity and experience greater confidence, success, and inner peace.




Food is more than what we eat. We are a community of folks from all walks of life who use cooking to nurture, heal, and feel better. Dishmeetup’s goal is to highlight and emphasize the mental and physical benefits of cooking.

Recommended from Medium

The 6 Dishes Most Likely to Convince People That Your Non-Cooking Ass Can Cook, Ranked

A plated dish with steak, salad, and a side.

Funky Alchemy: Adventures with Koji-based fungal fermentation.

Well, THESE are a fun pair.

What is the point of coffee?

Arpège or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Vegetables

What are you hiding in your tea cup?

What is the recipe to cook Quinoa?

Which State is the Real Foodie State in the US?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Lily Ciric Hoffmann

Lily Ciric Hoffmann

Creator of @dishmeetup. Creative techie in love w/ multimedia storytelling, design thinking & the healing power of homecooked food.

More from Medium

The risks of visibility and trying (and why to do it anyways)

Mental fatigue: are you really tired of thinking?

Sunrise Yoga — or, When Hope Feels Like Danger

Imposter Syndrome Is Real- How to Overcome it !