The curse of the modern cook
Modern life is hard. Everything is getting bigger, faster, and harder—and yet supposedly easier. Some people are getting really worked up, so much so that there is now a plethora of psychological conditions to describe the situation. Kay Brennan considers the causes of the sudden emergence in phobias and anxiety syndromes
From the kitchen window you see the guests arriving. Your eyes follow them towards the front door. Stay calm, you tell yourself, there is nothing to fear. Suddenly the oven beeps: panic squeezes the breath from your lungs and turns your knees to jelly. “The apple pie,” you cry grabbing the dish of smouldering black pastry from the top shelf with shaking sweaty hands. The doorbell chimes and your heart sinks: this is the start of another dinner party disaster. How will you survive?
Sound familiar? If so, you may be one of millions who, according to researchers, are affected by kitchen performance anxiety syndrome (KPAS), a modern phobia that is seriously challenging our mental health. Psychologists believe that the increase in chefs on television has resulted in many less capable cooks with symptoms commonly associated with an anxiety neurosis. These include “butterflies” in the stomach, sweating, palpitations, and an