“Cooking alone is the sixth stage of grief”

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The New York Times published a touching story yesterday about widows (now a gender-neutral term) who are adjusting to cooking and eating without their spouses. Some find themselves buying too many groceries because they’re still shopping for two. Some don’t see the point in cooking anymore—or they never learned to cook in the first place—and resort to junk food. Some are physically unable to eat.

Writer Amelia Nierenberg talked to widows around the country and spent some time with support groups where people learn to adjust their shopping and eating habits and cook meals together so they don’t have to eat alone.

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It’s only been in the last decade or so that researchers and counselors have started to study how grief affects eating habits. “It’s almost like the sixth stage of grief is cooking alone,” one New York grief counselor told Nierenberg. The support groups provide advice and companionship: “You need to eat to live, they remind each other, and you need to keep on living.”

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About the author

Aimee Levitt

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.