ARTICLE: It’s a noble choice to spend more time in the kitchen, but it’s not for everyone. Are you listening, Michael Pollan?
The following is an excerpt of Jayson Lusk's article in Salon entitled, "It’s a noble choice to spend more time in the kitchen, but it’s not for everyone. Are you listening, Michael Pollan?"
"According to a new Netflix series based on Michael Pollan’s book “Cooked,” we should all head back to the kitchen and relish in the joys of home cooking. It’s not necessarily bad advice. There is an inherent dignity in seeing the fruits of one’s labor immediately enjoyed by friends and family. But good advice for one doesn’t always make good advice for all, particularly when it comes to food policy, which Pollan has attempted to change. That cooking, and in a particular manner and philosophy, should be a pressing issue for most households is presumptive at best.
Amid the lofty goals of the leaders of the so-called food movement runs an undercurrent of food philosophy and politics that undermines our food freedoms and prosperity. While recognizing that our modern foodstuffs, from wheat to corn, are unnatural human creations, there is a sense in which our more modern innovations – from microwaves to biotechnology – are nefarious plots of Big Food that are to blame for current problems as diverse as obesity and soil runoff.
Heirloom varieties. Small farms. Diversified agriculture. No corporate intrusion. Heavy reliance on labor. This was the romanticized state of food and agriculture in the middle of the last century. If, as the story goes, we could get ourselves back to this ideal, there would be less nitrogen runoff, flourishing local economies, and low rates of diabetes. It is wishful thinking. Farmers themselves rapidly embraced technologies like hybrid corn, tractors, man-made fertilizers, mechanical milkers, and in-door animal feeding operations. It saved farmers time and labor and made them more money. And, as less labor was needed, our country moved from an agrarian to a modern industrial and service-based society.
American women today spend half as much time in meal preparation and cleanup than they did in the 1960s. If that change seems deleterious, a chat with one’s grandmother might provide an alternative perspective. Modern innovations in food processing and preparation, in kitchen technologies like microwaves and dishwashers, and the advent of inexpensive restaurants freed would-be domestic servants to pursue their own desires and careers precisely because meal preparation and cooking have become so easy. It is a noble choice to spend more time in the kitchen. The key word is “choice.” For many of our forefathers, or more precisely foremothers, there was little choice in the matter."
Check out the full article here.