The current definition of food security neglects to explicitly account for the fact that most staple foods in many developing countries need to be cooked before they are edible. Because of this deficiency, household access and availability to cooking energy is not considered in many food security projects and programmes. In this paper we synthesize existing documents to promote explicit inclusion of cooking energy as a fundamental component in a food security equation. The synthesis showed that as fuelwood becomes scarce households adapt their cooking styles by omitting or substituting some essential energy-demanding dishes (e.g. dry beans) in order to save cooking energy. As a consequence, household members are denied essential nutrients supplied by the ingestion of such dishes, thereby compromising their nutritional well-being. We argue that when food is sufficiently available, fuelwood shortage may prevent households in poor countries from bringing about important improvements in their nutritional well-being. We therefore recommend to explicitly add cooking energy as a fundamental component of any food security project or programme.