The Magic of Lutong Bahay

Have you noticed how, even when we travel, we tend to look for home-cooked meals? There is just something about lutong bahay that makes it extra special, even when it is cooked by someone else and we’re eating it in someone else’s home or at a restaurant. No matter how expensive and sosyal the common hotel and/or restaurant fare is, it will never compare to home-cooked dishes.

Even food and health experts advise that people should eat home-cooked meals more often. Even if we cannot cook our own food all the time, it is recommended that we choose home-cooked meals significantly more than we eat fast food or hotel fare. Why? What is it about home-cooked food that makes it so special? Read on to find out.

The Advantage of Lutong Bahay

There are several reasons why many people prefer home-cooked meals, even when they’re away from home. Here are some of the best reasons why lutong bahay calls out to us:

  1. It makes us feel closer to home.

Somehow, the aroma of dishes you grew up with cooking (even in someone else’s kitchen) just makes you feel closer to home, even when you’re half a world away. When you’re missing your loved ones, a good home-cooked meal somehow makes you feel in touch with them, especially when you get lucky and chance upon someone cooking your favorite dish just the way your Nanay does.

2. It reminds us of the values taught at home.

Growing up, perhaps many of the values you developed were taught at the dinner table, during discussions about school, work, and life in general. Dinnertime is usually the only time members of the family are all gathered together, which is why parents make it a point to discuss important issues, particularly values, at the dinner table. When we’re grown and live quite a distance from where we grew up, sharing home-cooked meals with friends and/or co-workers can bring back those good times when we had those dinner conversations with our loved ones.

3. It is ultimately more satisfying.

Even the simplest home-cooked dish is a lot more satisfying than fast food or expensive restaurant fare. Remember the last time you ate a home-cooked meal? How satisfied were you compare to the last time you ate at a restaurant or fast food joint, spending roughly the same amount of money? No contest; lutong bahay wins, right?

Other than these three, there are several reasons why you should eat lutong bahay more often. As mentioned earlier, eating home-cooked meals more often is recommended by food and health experts. Here’s why:

1. Reduced Sugar and Processed Foods Consumption

A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health showed that people who regularly ate home-cooked meals consumed much less sugar than those who rarely ate home-cooked meals. People who are used to eating home-cooked meals were also found to be less likely to choose processed foods, even when they eat out. This can result in much higher energy levels as well as improved mental health.

2. Generally Longer Life

The mental health benefits of eating home-cooked meals are considerably increased when you eat with other people. That is because a communal meal can make a person feel happier, and that happiness can continue even hours after the meal was consumed. When one is happy, he is less burdened by the daily stresses brought about by work and other factors. Add to this the fact that you are consuming less sugar and fats when you eat lutong bahay, and you can understand why people who regularly eat home-cooked meals generally live longer than those who don’t.

3. Reduced Carbon Footprint

When you choose fresh ingredients over processed meals, you are choosing to reduce packaging waste. When you choose to buy ingredients from local farmers, you are choosing to reduce transportation just to get food on your table. When you choose to buy organic, you choose to lessen the need for harmful chemicals in the farming industry. When these little things add up, the positive impact on the environment not only benefits the environment itself, but also you, your family, and the world in general.

Adobo, sinigang, pinakbet, kare-kare—whatever your favorite lutong bahay dish is, it certainly pays to enjoy it more often than burgers and fries. Yes, there are times when we cannot avoid eating fast food and restaurant fare, but we should make it a point to limit those instances and stick to good ‘ole home cooking as much as we can. That’s why when we travel, many of us cannot resist restaurants that offer hearty fares, like Samuel by VjANDEP in Camiguin.