Monday, August 31, 2009

cook it yourself

While it rained (and rained... and rained...) Saturday afternoon, I spent some time reading. My sister and I were joking that it was like we were practicing for winter - we had pork roasting in the oven, tomato sauce bubbling on the stove top, children playing board games... all we needed was the snow coming down, and it could have been December!

Anyway, on this bright, sunny Monday (thank you, sun!!) I wanted to share the link to the New York Times Magazine article Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch by Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore's Dilemma).

I admit to watching Top Chef pretty regularly, and Iron Chef and other Food Network shows once in a while. But until reading the article, I had never given much thought about how these shows are about competition and conspicuous consumption so much more than they are about cooking and enjoying food - nor had I paid much attention to what the focus on food products, food "games," and consumption (rather than creation) might say about our culture as a whole. As usual, Pollan gives us much to think about - I especially like that he ends by reminding us of the impact a "cook it yourself" philosophy can have on our health and our lives.

If you decide to read the article, I'd love to know your thoughts!!


Life Looms Large said...


Well, I confess that I only skimmed the article. Its main impact on me was to make me want to see Julie & Julia....because I would like to see how Meryl Streep portrays Julia Child's relationship and joy in food. I had been planning to read the book instead.

I'm out of the mainstream in many ways....and the whole food TV, convenience food, fast food culture doesn't play a huge role in my life. I grew up in the 60's and 70's, and even though my mom made dinner for us every night - I spend more time cooking than she did, and more of what we eat is made from scratch than in my house growing up. (I don't have kids....which makes that much more achievable than it would have been for my mom.)

I cook mostly because I like good food and I like healthy food...and the only economical way I know to have that combination in my life is to cook it myself. (The non-economical way would be to hire a personal chef to do it for me....)

Food and time are both things that are tough to manage in America right now.


PS: Can you imagine how long my comment would have been if I'd actually read the whole article?

MangoChild said...

I don't watch the television shows described/referenced, so I'm not sure I'm "qualified" to comment on their effect/reflection... but with that said, I do think that cooking is something that has been lost in the shuffle for many. But I do see it coming back. Even though people might not always have the time to cook, I think there is an appreciation for fresh, home-cooked meals. Rather than reveling in getting convenience foods or not thinking about it, many people seem to wish they *could* make things at home - but are daunted by the time or skill perception they have.

I do make my food almost 99% at home (by a combo of dietary restrictions and choice it is just what I need) and enjoy doing so. It seems natural, since it is what I grew up with. Nothing fancy, nothing for anyone to ooh or ahh at, but maybe that is the point. Cooking at home, if presented as something that can be achieved by all without that much special skill or training, is much less daunting. Not everything has to be fit for pictures or gourmet dinners. The simple is just as satisfying.

Colleen said...

Hi Sue and Mangochild -

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think food, eating, and cooking are such interesting topics - I love that they're getting more attention in "mainstream" media, as it seems the more attention they get, the more folks talk about and share their thoughts and experiences - so we all get to learn from each other. I love it!