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Would you give up cooking or eating?

Say you're given two options and must choose one. Yes, this is a silly hypothetical, but I like silly hypotheticals.

Option 1: Give up eating. Imagine that all of your nutritional needs are magically taken care of without food, and you can eat at most about an ounce of food per day (in this scenario, really just enough for you to taste the food you cook and make sure it works).

Option 2: Give up cooking. Eat whatever you like, but if you spend more than 10 minutes cooking in a kitchen in one day, the kitchen explodes (in this scenario, really just enough time for you to make basic food but not really cook - the 10 minutes counts cutting, mise en place, etc.). Or something less violent if you like. Whatever, the point is that you can't spend more than 10 minutes cooking.

I'd take Option 1 no problem. Cooking's an important creative outlet for me and I really enjoy sharing my cooking with others (assume for this hypothesis that everyone knows which option you chose and nobody is creeped out by your inability to eat your own cooking).

Curious what others choose.

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  1. While I love the creative aspect of cooking, and I love to cook for myself, my friends, and my family, when it comes to enjoying food, I'm a hedonist through and through.

    Option 2, please.

    1. Probably eating. I'd get a lot skinnier haha!

      1. I think I love both equally...therefore, I would give up cooking. That way, I could spend my "kitchen time" creating cocktail recipes to pair with the food other people cooked for me ;)

        1. I would choose to give up cooking. I enjoyed eating way before I ever began cooking (age 10). And although I love the creative aspect of cooking, I just couldn't imagine being deprived of the pleasure of sitting down to a good meal.

          1. I'd give up cooking and just hover and micro manage whomever does cook for me ;)
            Since i can make coffee in under ten min my world will keep turning.

            1 Reply
            1. Option 2

              It's all about the eating - which is why I am a short, fat, middle-aged man, instead of just being a short, middle-aged man.

              1. I'd give up eating. Didn't have to think too long about it either!

                1. I love to cook. Nevertheless, I'd give up ever stepping foot in a kitchen before I'd give up eating. Hell, I'd give up a foot before I'd give up eating.

                  1. Option 2 without a doubt. Love to cook but love eating more.

                    1. Give up cooking. No brainer for me....still get to eat out at nice places right :P

                        1. Cooking...Fo shizzle. Can I still mix a drink without explosion?

                            1. I'd give up eating in a flash. I love to cook, love to feed other people. Left to myself, I'd have cheese & crackers for dinner.

                              1. I'd give up eating. Don't even have to think about it much.

                                This is influenced by the fact that I love cooking, and that I have a number of medical issues that would be greatly improved if I didn't have to eat. If I didn't eat, I wouldn't have to worry nearly as much about having an EpiPen with me.

                                1. Option 1 for sure.
                                  1 oz of food per day allows me to still taste all the food I make, and try 1 oz of foods that I haven't made yet so I can understand how to make them. My only concern is that I'm 24 and unfortunately haven't sampled the worlds cuisine enough to be able to understand what a lot of foods should taste like. So if I can't eat any 1 oz of food of my choosing (not necessarily cooked by me) per day, this option would definitely be more limiting but I would still choose it.

                                  I'd only take option 2 if I had two of the following three things:
                                  1. Unlimited time
                                  2. Unlimited money
                                  3. Inability to gain weight or have health issues from my gluttony

                                  Otherwise option 1 all the way.

                                  My initial response was "I'd give up cooking then go eat as many poisonous mushrooms as I could," I cannot imagine living without being able to eat and cook at will.

                                  1. Being faced with #1 as a very real possibility for the rest of my life, I would say #2 without any hesitation. Although cooking and baking are incredibly cathartic, entertaining, relaxing, etc. for me, not being able to eat (or only eat 1 oz a day, which is where I'm at now) is one of the most frustrating things I've ever had to deal with.

                                    Eating is one of our most basic instincts; removing this ability causes a deep soul-shattering emptiness that is indescribable until felt.

                                    I read this article titled "The Man Who Couldn't Eat" many years ago, before I too got sick, and it always stuck with me. The article has taken on a different meaning now, and can nearly reduce me to tears no matter how many times I read it: http://www.esquire.com/features/chron...

                                    ETA: I find that other hobbies soothe my need to create, like art, writing, gardening, or building stuff in the garage. There is no substitute for eating though.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                      Thanks for sharing. It does make the rest of our answers seem extremely frivolous. Our hypotheticals are too close to your reality.

                                      1. re: mcsheridan

                                        Well, I didn't mean to discount anyone else's opinion, but I am surprised at how many people answered that they'd rather give up eating than cooking.

                                        Surely all of us have experienced stretches of time where we were unable to cook our own food--whether it was back in childhood, while on an extended vacation/business trip, or what have you. And we all survived, and I doubt anyone would consider those stretches of time to be the "worst" of their lives. It is manageable and truly a first world problem.

                                        I don't think 99.9% of posters to this board have had to go extensive amounts of time with no food though. And if they did, it was likely due to temporary illness or insane dieting or possibly an eating disorder (i.e. of their own volition). I know a lot of people have had viral illnesses where they were unable to keep anything down for a day or a few days, and it is really miserable physically. Of course, you are also so sick that probably food is the last thing on your mind, aside from being a source of nourishment, energy, or healing.

                                        But if you stretched that out into years and years of illness where you are able to start feeling hunger through the nausea... always being surrounded by food at social gatherings, family dinners, birthday parties, work lunches, BBQs, etc.... but the food is always just out of reach. It's there, it's delicious, and it's yours, but you can't have it. The irony being that we live in a country of excess and obesity but some of us with wealth and cooking skills are literally starving to death.

                                        I don't know, it's just a very bizarre situation to be in. The author of that article describes watching his wife and kids eat burgers and fries and he slinks off to the other room and licks the salt from a French fry and sobs like a baby. Every morsel of food I am able to get down these days just about makes me sob. Nothing has ever tasted so good, and no other sense of mine is so pronounced now. It is an overwhelming experience to taste things like garlic or lemon zest or chocolate. Literally emotionally overwhelming.

                                      2. re: nothingswrong

                                        That article was intense. What a nightmare! Thanks for sharing.

                                      3. I've had to forego oral/solid foods in the not-so-distant past (mmmmmm TPN). It's not fun.

                                        Cooking is actually more difficult to give up, for me. Even when I could not eat, I'd cook for my family. It's a creative outlet. Much like painting. If I don't cook I miss the colors, the sounds, the smell and the physical chopping/stirring.

                                        1. Perhaps I misunderstood the premise, but..... I'd give up cooking before I'd give up eating.

                                          I'd just have someone else cook for me all the time. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me '-D

                                          1. I'd take option 2, without question. While I love cooking, my father had a feeding tube for a long time and was unable to eat food and it sent him spiraling into a deep depression. It's a horrible existence (not the worst)to love food and not be able to eat/taste.

                                            1. I would take option number one. But, I have to say, you are beyond silly and approaching weird territory. ; )

                                              1. Oh God no, I'd give up cooking..... When you do it everyday for going on close to forty years, the idea of someone cooking a meal for you is too good to resist! And it always, well, almost always tastes better when someone else slaves over a hot stove!

                                                1. I couldn't give up either. I was only able to eat one ounce of food per day. Eat whatever you like, but spend less than ten minutes cooking a day.
                                                  I see a deep dark place. Where junkies hang out.