Someone posted this video on Facebook today with this comment: “How lazy have we become?”
It made me think about the way we make and consume our food. Very often we eat food for fuel, only to scarf down a bite in a rush. The enjoyment of eating takes a back seat. Not only is food a commodity to buy and used for energy, but the art of cooking our meals is sold back to us on television. We’re marketed packaged cooking sets with the ingredients, the recipes, and sometimes even the utensils. Somehow they’re considered forms of Do It Yourself. We’re led to believe preparing it isn’t for us, but for professionals behind the kitchen. Fewer and fewer of us take part in cooking ourselves. Michael Pollack nails this concept in his four-part documentary called Cooked.
To cook or not to cook is a consequential question. Though I understand that is putting the matter a bit too bluntly, cooking means different things at different times to different people. Seldom is it an all or nothing proposition. Yet, even to cook a few more nights a week than you already do or to devote a Sunday to cook a few more meals for the week… Or perhaps to try every now and again to make something you only expected to ever buy. Even these modest acts will constitute a vote. A vote for what exactly? In a world where so few of us are obliged to cook at all anymore, to choose to do so is to lodge a protest against specialization. Against the total rationalization of life. Against the infiltration of commercialization interests into every last cranny of our lives. To cook for the pleasure of it, to devote a portion of our leisure to it to declare our independence from the organizations seeking to organize our every waking moment into yet another occasion for consumption. Cooking has the potential to transform more than plants and animals, cooking I found gives us the opportunity so rare in modern life to work directly in our own support and in the support of the people we feed. In the calculus of economics, doing so may not always be the most efficient use of an amateur cooks time. It is beautiful even so. For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted than preparing delicious and nourishing for the people you love?Michael Pollack
The perfect time to post this would be Thanksgiving, but nevertheless we face real issues in the relationship we all hold with our food. As cool as the hands free burger contraption is, I’d rather eat a Snickers with a fork.