The 12 Emotional Stages of an All-Day Cooking Marathon

published Feb 14, 2017
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(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

A cook might decide to cook for an entire day for many excellent reasons — stocking her freezer, baking a wedding cake, canning an entire summer’s worth of tomatoes — but no matter the good cause and victorious reward, an entire day of cooking is bound to make you feel like you’re riding a roller coaster of emotions. There are highs, and there are lows.

Here are the 12 emotional stages we experience in an all-day stint in the kitchen — can you relate?

1. Enthusiastic

When you first realize you have a full day of cooking in front of you, you get excited about all of the delicious fun ahead. Endless hours of chopping, frying, mixing, baking, and tasting? How did you ever get so lucky!

2. Optimistic

Once you’re excited about your day-long kitchen fest, you start to think about all of the wonderful things you’re going to cook. Your list of dishes suddenly triples in size, but you aren’t worried. You know you can get it all done in no time.

3. Obsessed

After the planning is done and the cooking gets underway, nothing can pull you away from the kitchen. There’s a unicorn in the living room? Who cares! You’ve got cooking to do!

4. Stressed

Inevitably, something will go wrong. You might realize you’re missing an important ingredient, or somehow forget to set the timer — and this is when the stress starts to take over. All it takes is one overcooked batch of muffins to get your anxiety going. Why did you think making three different kinds of homemade pasta was a good idea?

5. Panicked

Pure panic. Your stovetop is completely used up, your oven is full, and you can’t even find your kitchen sink under all the dishes. You’re really starting to sweat now, and it’s not because the oven has been on all day. It’s the hot, sticky feeling of sheer panic that you won’t be able to pull it all off.

6. Weary

Panic takes a lot out of you, and suddenly you feel like you just want to curl up on the kitchen floor and take a nap. Your feet are exhausted from standing, your arms are tired from stirring, and your mind is mush from all of the measurement conversions you’ve had to do. You start to consider ordering pizza instead.

7. Reinvigorated

After your brief moment of self-doubt is gone and the urge to order out has subsided, you find yourself full of new-found energy. After tasting a few of the things you’ve already finished, you realize how much you’ve already accomplished, and how well you’ve done it. If you made it this far, you know you can make it the rest of the way, and you actually get excited about cooking again.

8. Accomplished

When the final dish comes out of the oven, you’re overcome with relief and a sense of accomplishment. You might actually pat yourself on the back.

9. Scared

That attagirl feeling doesn’t last for long, though, because once you realize you haven’t had anyone taste-test your food, you start to worry it might all taste like garbage. What if everyone hates it? After spending all day cooking, you’re terrified it was all for nothing.

10. Relieved

You hold your breath when you watch people taste your food. You get compliments and reassuring “mmm” and “aah” noises, and you’re convinced that your guests are happy.

11. Hungry

There comes a moment in every cook’s full day in the kitchen when they realize that, despite being around food for hours, they haven’t eaten a single thing. Suddenly, all your thoughts are washed away, and all that’s left is a deep rumbling in the pit of your stomach.

12. Triumphant

Once all the plates are cleared, including your own, and you reflect on the day you just had, you can’t help but feel proud of yourself — triumphant even. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces and feeling the comfort of good food in your own stomach makes the emotional roller coaster of an all-day cooking session totally worth it.

Have you been on this ride? Does one of these emotions hit home more than others?