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The significance of home cooking within families

Dean Simmons (The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
Gwen E. Chapman (The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 3 August 2012




The aim of this paper is to explore parents' and teens' perspectives on the significance of being able to cook.


In this qualitative study, 22 families participated in in‐depth interviews that explored their perspectives on food in the family and the significance of being able to cook. The sample was socio‐economically diverse and drew from one urban and one rural community in British Columbia, Canada.


The main themes from participants' descriptions of the significance of home cooking were that home cooking gave families control over their food supply, helped them to connect to others, enabled them to explore their own and others' food cultures and, in the case of teens, become more independent.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows that the familial motivations for home cooking go beyond concerns for health or home economy and would benefit from further exploration.

Practical implications

For food producers and retailers, cooking instructors, dieticians, food scholars and writers, understanding familial motivations for home cooking provides the opportunity to better target family cooks with food products or services, and to encourage increased home cooking as a means to promote healthier, more sustainable diets and socially rich family food practices.


A perceived broad‐based decline in home cooking has received a great deal of attention in the UK and elsewhere. In contrast, this paper describes how participating families really do see value in home cooking—though they place as much emphasis on social, cultural and personal motivations as they do nutritional health.



Simmons, D. and Chapman, G.E. (2012), "The significance of home cooking within families", British Food Journal, Vol. 114 No. 8, pp. 1184-1195.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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