From this I understand that labour is done out of necessity; we have to do it to survive. Work however is a choice, it is something we find enjoyable and our survival does not rely on it. When I cook, according to Green (1968), I am labouring: "whatever is produced by labor is produced to be consumed, not to be put into use" (p. 18).
The cooking I do every day it represents that I am a mother, a nurturer and an organiser - these words describe the roles I take on out of the necessity to provide for my family. If however I think about the cooking I do out of enjoyment, I am still a mother and nurturer but also a creator and a researcher. Essentially I am a person with different values when I cook out of necessity versus out of want.
So 'why do I need to do this activity?'. I cook for different reasons – some days I simply labour; other days when I have more time I labour and work.
I labour to cook in order to keep my family alive, safe and physically healthy; also to keep order in my family life and therefore reduce my own anxieties.
On the contrary, I work to cook to provide interesting and tasty meals for my family; to create an environment of sitting together to eat and communicate; to find pleasure and relaxation for myself and hold onto memories of cooking with my mum; and to cook with my daughter in order to create connections for her to the activity.
Fundamentally cooking is cooking, however when I differentiate between the labour side of cooking and the work side of cooking they have very different meanings for me personally.
Arendt, H. (1958). The human condition. Chicago, USA: Chicago University Press.
Green, T. F. (1968). Work, leisure and the American schools. New York, USA: Random House.