“The Lost Art of Cooking?” Not if we have anything to say about it!

Earlier this week Margaret Wente wrote a piece for The Globe and Mail that floated the idea that cooking will become nothing more than a “quaint artisanal niche” activity, with the vast majority of people either dining out or outsourcing their meals (assembling prepared foods, nuking frozen dinners, etc.) Why? The same reasons we’ve heard before: the prevalence of fast food, the microwave, the fact that most people consider cooking on a daily basis a “drudgery,” and the simple fact that they think most junk food tastes better than fruits and vegetables.

Southern Plate by Christy JordanI see her point to a point. Cooking dinner for myself with unprocessed ingredients when I get home at 8 or 9 o’clock from work is not always the most welcome task. But it might be easier for me than your average adult, because I am single and have to cook only to please myself. I don’t have to attend to finicky children, or a partner who has food aversions acquired when he was six. Nevertheless, I look to cookbook authors like Ree Drummond and Christy Jordan as evidence that cooking for your family doesn’t have to be a chore, but rather enjoyable. It places us within the continuum of our family traditions and gives us something in common with others.

It’s the last bit that I want to discuss here. People love to talk about what they’ve made for dinner, what they’re bringing to the neighborhood barbecue and debate who in the family makes the best cheesecake, roasted leg of lamb, or ragu. When I go to visit my retired aunt and uncle in Florida, we spend the last ten minutes of each meal discussing what we’ll eat at the next one. It seems glaringly obvious to me that Americans are invested in what’s for dinner when I consider the thousands and thousands of cooking blogs out there. The Secret Ingredient is our humble submission in this category, and we primarily discuss our favorite cookbooks and cookbook authors, but ’we’re all avid readers of cooking blogs, and know a hot prospect when we see it: The Pioneer Woman, Southern Plate, Framed, Big Girls Small KitchenSavory Sweet Life, and Weelicious, to just name a few. Food bloggers aren’t just food bloggers–on top of taking care of their family, working, and cooking meals, they’re then finding the time to write about it and post it on the web.

That’s just my take on it—and I’m not getting paid to be optimistic. I understand that the less money you have in America, the less likely you are to cook fresh vegetables for your family. But that speaks more to issues of education than to Wente’s suggestion that cooking may soon become obsolete and anachronistic.

What do you think? Will our country completely abandon its post at the stovetop in favor of world domination by Seamlessweb.com?

2 Responses to ““The Lost Art of Cooking?” Not if we have anything to say about it!”
  1. Cara says:

    I’m totally in agreement, Tavia. When I went to college, I felt the loss of cooking so much. Even more than I hated the dining’s hall’s awful food, I hated serving myself from a buffet–hated not being able to cook. There’s something so inherently satisfying about cooking for yourself and your friends, even if it’s not a crazy elaborate meal. In the end, I find it more convenient! Not only does it save money but it also slows down my lifestyle to a manageable pace.

  2. FramedCooks says:

    Great post and great topic to be discussing! While it’s true that we are surrounded by fast food ads, drive-in restaurants and microwaves, there really is nothing like the satisfaction of cooking your own dinner from good, simple ingredients and sharing with the people you love. I think it’s no accident that folks inevitably gather in kitchens when we visit each others houses…we instinctively know that the kitchen is the heart of the home! And as for the time involved, I have a firm weekday rule that recipes have to be 30 minutes or less…and I happily cook that way every night. So to answer your question…a resounding NO to ordering in or out, and a resounding YES to the wonderful, social, happy home-cooked supper!

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