I came across this article on Grist this morning and must, must, must share it. Here’s the critical link that makes eating locally, organically, and sustainably possible: people have to cook. I just blew your mind, right? Probably not.
Anyway, the article is a conversation between Kurt Michael Friese and Tamar Adler, both food authors. Adler is getting a lot of press for her recently released book An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, which is on a long list of books I’d like to pick up. But back to the conversation. They’re talking about how Americans have been convinced not to cook for themselves, often by many of the same companies that make both processed foods and health claims.
Okay, that isn’t really news either, but these two touch on something else that I think is so important and largely overlooked. Home cooking is not and should not try to be celebrity chef-ery. If you’ve been fed (sorry) the idea that anything you cook should be worthy of a hi-def close up, you’re probably not overly eager to get in the kitchen and awkwardly chop an onion into uneven pieces. In fact, you’re most likely convinced that anything you cook will be a disaster in comparison to the latest culinary challenge.
Now we come to my very favorite quote of the whole piece. Friese makes a great comparison: “I worry about what people learn from TV because it’s too much like porn: People who are prettier and more talented than you doing things you’ll never do in places you’ll never do them. It stresses people out to think that they need to live up to that standard.” It doesn’t matter that all these shows fall under the “reality” category: they aren’t the reality of cooking to feed yourself. The point being: this is a conversation worth reading.
And a quick aside: both authors cite MFK Fisher, arguably the best food writer of the past century. I’m currently reading The Art of Eating, which was published in the 50s and is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. It’s a compilation of five of her previous books and I’m just about to the end of one called Consider the Oyster. I have never eaten an oyster, but now find myself wondering where I can find oyster stew and Oysters Rockefeller. More on this adventure and the rest of the book later.
A very successful and un-stressful last minute shopping week to all!