Kitchen Little

When you argue, as I frequently do, that cooking has the potential to help us deal with many of our dietary problems, you often elicit a kind of “I don’t care, I hate cooking” response in addition to the expected “I don’t have time.” And that’s fine; cooking isn’t the only route to eating better, and besides, those who hate cooking, or can’t make the time for it, may be lucky enough to have someone else cook for them. As long as they wash the dishes.

But it pays to remember that it’s been 40 years or more since cooking went out of style for most Americans, and that a positive approach to it — one that encourages cooking and counters the ongoing marketing surge that helped make it seem so “unnecessary” — could help to change matters. And although that kind of approach can be effective with anyone (I’m constantly meeting people who began cooking in their 30s and 40s, for example), it’s bound to be most effective with kids, who haven’t yet been fully brainwashed to believe that there are better ways to spend their time than cooking — like watching television, for example!

Read the rest of this column, here.

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  1. rachel said...

    I keep reading from various food writers that nobody cooks, and i keep having the reaction that i think it’s regional. I live in the pacific northwest, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that all of my friends cook at least several times a week, if not daily. It’s become kind of a phenomenon. There’s a lady who used to run a local food blog that has cooking classes that sell out months in advance.

  2. Joanne Wise said...

    I am one of those lucky early career women who loved to entertain and cooking had a lot to do with my success. There are many weeknights that I wish a magic chef would appear. But keeping the meal simple – to 30 minutes – I feel we are eating healthy and usually tasty.

    Mark, via the NYT website, you have provided some clarification on many cooking levels. I bought the new Vegan book and although I might not be strict about it, there are recipes and ideas that encourage me … having both of us around the house now doesn’t bode well for a routine or regime like you suggest!

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Tom said...

    Good piece. Re the question of getting people into the kitchen wh othink cooking is too hard or too time consuming: Have you ever seen a little book called la Cuisine en Dix Minutes” (translated as French Cooking in Ten Minutes, I believe, or maybe Ten-Minute French Cooking)? It was published many years ago as a first cookbook for young couples or single people–setting up house for the first time, no servants of course, little time and not much bonne femme knowledge. It’s got a wonderful collection of simple, quick, classic recipes–omelettes of course, but muchy else besides. An excellent entry-level cookbook, but also something handy for working peole for whom there is no one who “will be happy to keep his dinner warm when he comes wearily home from downtown.”

  4. dl said...

    I love your comment on “as long as you do the dishes.” Can you please, do a piece on the ethical obligations of the non-cooking to do dish duty, mundane and stupid as it seems? The kitchen is an institution.

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