I just wanted to share the New York Times Magazine piece that Michael Pollan wrote, “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch.” It’s quite a lengthy piece, and has a lot of information to digest (in true Pollan-canon fashion), but is infinitely enlightening when it comes to talking about the cultural divorce we’ve all taken with cooking.
No one cooks anymore! We like to watch cooking, we like to talk about cooking, but ultimately, we like the cooking already done for us. Our appreciation for food has shifted from the process to the final product. And it’s disturbing. This is most scathingly evident on the Food Network where I can bet you 7 times out of 10, you’re more likely to find a cooking game show (like Chopped!) than an actual cooking show. It’s horrendous! And is primarily why I no longer watch that channel. However, I am no saint when it comes to practicing what I advocate (which is cooking).
To be honest, unfortunately, I saw a lot of myself in the Pollan article. I watch cooking programs because I enjoy the spectacle and the sensuality of cooking… but when it comes down to it, I’m more likely to pull out a bag of frozen vegetables, some pasta, and some sandwich meat than attempt the creme fraiche-and-cilantro-topped crab cakes I was just salivating over on the television. I enjoy shows like “No Reservations” and “Man vs. Food” because they sensationalize the act of eating rather than the process of preparation. You would think writing a food blog would make me more apt to cook, but honestly, there are some nights I get home and the task seems so daunting that I just don’t have the patience to figure out a recipe, cook it, photograph it, write about it, and then (finally) eat it. Which is why my posts can be pretty scant/brief/improvisational/pathetic at times. However, I’m sure you’re not interested in excuses. The fact is, our societal view on cooking has changed, and to the detriment of our culture. I am hoping that articles like this, and a bit more dedication from people such as myself, will encourage a cult-of-cooking revival.