Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Whose Cooking?

My previous post about my gift of eggs from a friend got me thinking. After I hit the publish button I thought to myself... a lot of people reading that post will think it is silly to 'gush' over something as mundane as a stupid egg.

I just came back from the grocery(it's Wednesday and 'old peoples day' where seniors get a 5% discount on their grocery order) and I always notice what is in other people's carts and it always dismays me. Piles of frozen 'entrees', boxes of mixes, frozen pizza, frozen potatoes, plastic bread, Little Debbie snack cakes, Velveeta and little packets of American cheese slices, canned biscuits and all sorts of dog awful stuff. There was a marked absence of anything fresh.

The thing is none of the stuff these folks are paying big bucks for requires any cooking. It only requires either opening or heating. You would have thought that with over 1oo million viewers the Food Network might have changed this but from my perspective it hasn't. When you think about it, it makes some sense and Michael Pollan alluded to it in a recent article. Most of those watching the Food Network are really food 'voyeurs' and not really cooks. It is also true that most of what is on the Food Network is not really cooking but shows about food related things and there are some really awful shows like Chopped, Challenge and Unwrapped that really stink. I admit I enjoy Ina Garten and sometimes Giada but I get really tired of seeing Bobby Flay trying to best every cook in the country.

I may be weird but I really enjoy cooking. I like to make things from scratch and I like to make things myself even if I can buy them. When I was growing up (and yes I'm a geezer) but cooking was a central part of daily life. Baking bread, making soups, stewing chickens, making cookies and cakes, making your own jellies and jams and even your own cheese was a part of the regular weekly activities. I was lucky growing up in a family of good cooks and in neighborhoods with Italians, Greeks, Slavs and all the rest. I got exposed to all kinds of food while growing up and most if not all of it was made from scratch. I was also lucky enough to travel abroad while in the military and experience the local foods in Europe, the Middle East and in Asia. All of this gave me a sense of food and appreciation for how important it was to the culture of a people. I learned to love food of all kinds and learned early on that "the realer" it was the better it was. I also learned that it was also cheaper to do it yourself.

This brings me back to the reason for the post in the first place. People need to learn to cook again. They need to stop throwing their money away on crap food and learn how food should be made and discover how wonderful and satisfying cooking for real can be. This, of course, brings me back to the eggs. If you think it is silly to gush over a dozen glorious eggs that were laid by hens raised the way hens are supposed to be raised then you don't or can't cook and probably don't know how to eat either and that is a damn shame. I for one am going to do each one of those culinary justice and I am going to relish each one for the jewel that it is.

In case you are wondering my grocery basket contained the following foods, King Arthur A/P flour, black beans, quesadilla cheese, chorizo, walnuts, org carrots, org celery, red grapes, buttermilk, butter, sweet potatoes, V8 juice, and bacon. With my frozen and canned garden produce that is the food shopping for the next week until 'old peoples day'.

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