The Problem with Home Cooking

“The Grocery Industry Confronts a New Problem: Only 10% of Americans Love Cooking”

The current Problem with Cooking is that everyone works too much.

It’s also the problem with modern cookbooks. Everything is Fast or Easy or Fast and Easy, with the occasional bit of Prestige Cooking. Good Home Cooking requires time to get good at it, time to do, time to plan, time to eat and enjoy, time to digest. Hardly anyone has time to really do that any more; it’s a luxury. Even the whole Slow Food movement is a luxury thing.

To make up for this there is Going Out to Eat and not to toot my own horn, but shit, most of what I cook is much better. Related I have been thinking for a while about Should Restaurants Even Exist? In Luxury Gay Space Communism would we even have restaurants? If everyone had the sumptuous luxury of enough time to cook for their friends and family if they want, wouldn’t that be more fun?

This is not some deluded pipe dream. I have lived in this reality. In Communist Poland we didn’t really do Restaurants. Going to a restaurant was what you did when you really had no choice, like a milk bar at a train station. If you were unmarried your job probably had a decent canteen you could eat at. But luxury and fun eating was  a thing you did at home!

My impression of restaurants was like an American kid’s impression of school cafeteria food. Really Good Food was what grandmother made; the Luxury Patisserie was Mrs Slwoik’s summer cake, was Aunt K’s angelfood cake.

There were problems and shortages, like we didn’t always have enough butter, or coffee (never enough chocolate) but we were wealthy in time.

Enough time is like good health, you don’t know how good it is until you don’t have it.

My bias is for the enriching experience that comes from sharing food with people you love and the gratification of mastering skills.

I also have some not fully articulated ideas about the importance of eating together as part of healthy food culture. Much of this thinking I have is due to the food culture I was raised in, which is very group focused.

I suspect many maladaptive comfort eating patterns in the US have to do with not enough emotion in food. Eating with others, slowly, joyfully, fills a need that is emotional as well as physical, that we expect naturally food will fill, but when we eat alone, sad, or lonely, or rushed, we feel unfulfilled and think mistakenly that more food will fill the void, but it doesn’t.