Plenty of people don’t like to cook. Or maybe you might enjoy it if it weren’t such a chore. After all, for most of us, cooking is something we have to do day in and day out, mostly for other people who may not even appreciate the effort (parents, we’re looking at you).
But there are a group of people who are genuinely afraid of cooking. So much so that it gives them severe anxiety (and we all know the kind of health problems stress and anxiety can cause). These people are known as mageirocophobics.
Mageirocophobia is the extreme fear of having to cook, and it’s typically classified as a social anxiety disorder because it can have a lot to do with a fear of judgment.
According to the Cleveland Clinic: “Mageirocophobia occurs when you’re fearful of cooking or the idea of cooking. You may experience intense anxiety or go out of your way to avoid cooking. For many people, this phobia stems from not wanting to make mistakes.”
Mageirocophobics may have other mental health issues, such as OCD, but not always. Sometimes, the fear results from extreme perfectionism and concern about the consequences of doing things wrong. (And to be fair, a lot can go wrong in the kitchen, from a lousy casserole to a missing finger or a kitchen fire.)
People who fear cooking may also suffer from PTSD after a bad kitchen or cooking incident. It can be a singular incident that caused them (or someone else) harm or even years of being criticized for their cooking.
The kitchen can be stressful for many people, even those who once found it relaxing. Sometimes it depends on your most recent experiences. For example, a chef who gets a bad burn in a kitchen fire might suddenly become mageirocophobic.
This particular phobia may not get in the way of everyday life (as long as sufferers can find a way to eat). In that case, it may not ever be treated. Treatment for the phobia is typically reserved for those who need to get over the fear because it keeps them from enjoying life or eating properly (or caring for those they have a responsibility to feed, like children).
There can even be more mild mageirocophobia. In this case, you won’t enjoy cooking, but severe anxiety arises when trying a new recipe, cooking for others, or needing to use a new kitchen tool.
Of course, more severe cases result in a person being unable to think much about food or developing a fear of watching other people cook.
It’s common to experience a little anxiety when trying new things, but a phobia is a whole different category of fear. Luckily, some treatments can help reduce the effects of mageirocophobia. – WTF fun facts