Friday, April 26, 2013

Who is Cooking?

Food advocate, author Michael Pollan is back in the news thanks to the release of his new book.  In a nutshell, he believes we need to get back into the kitchen and start cooking again.  Consequently we will select higher-quality ingredients, thus be in control and eat more intelligently/healthier.

Read On:
Will America start rebuilding a culture of cooking?  I hope so.  However, when I examine several lifestyle and demographic trends, I believe that only a select few will subscribe to Pollan’s latest manifesto.  Rationale: 
  • Working Households – According to a 2010 study released by the Center for American Progress “The New Breadwinners”, among families with children, 44.8 percent were headed by two working parents and 26.1 percent were headed by a single parent.  Who has time to shop and cook?
  • Commuting – The average commute one-way is 25.5 minutes (source: U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 Community Survey).  Multiple that by two, five times a week and we are looking at approximately 4.2 hours in commuting time.  Add in the estimated average hours an American works full time per weekday, 8.46 hours (source: U.S. Department of Labor), the equivalent of 42.3 hours per five day work week.  Who has time to cook or shop?
  • Single, One Person, Nonfamily Households – Primarly attributed to people getting married later in life, divorce and seniors outliving their spouses, single households are on the rise in America; 26.7 percent of the total population (source: 2010 U.S. Census).  How many single people do you know like to shop and cook?     
  • “Digital Natives” (a.k.a. Millennials) – America’s number one population group, approximately 80 million, Millennials (individuals between the ages of 16 and 34) are heavy snackers/grazers.  It is estimated that 35% of this group’s daily meals are snacks.  On average they own 2.4 gizmos; 83 percent use social networking sites compared to the overall adult population of 67 percent (source: Pew Internet & Life Project).  In addition to connectivity there is gaming.  Multitasking is their norm.  Dude, who has time to shop and cook?
Who is cooking in your kitchen tonight?



  1. While it would be great to have the time and money to always make a nice home cooked's just not possible for most people. Like you mentioned, people don't really have the time. We spend time on the commute to and from work, overtime, kids extracurricular activities, shopping, and other appointments...most people just don't have time to cook!

  2. Thanks for your timely post. I'm printing it out for my client's brainstorm session this morning... the information is a quick snap-shot of what we'll be focusing on. It was like you were reading my mind!

  3. All of the above is so true. Sad really as some of our best family moments have been spent around the dinner table. I had a rule with the kids when they were all home that we all ate together on Sunday night. We all helped get dinner on the table and took that hour to enjoy, laugh and sometimes fight with each other. It was far from the 7 home made nightly meals that I recall having as a family growing up but it was better than nothing. I still enjoy cooking and do more of it again now that my kids are gone. Now when they are home they look forward to having a home cooked meal with everyone!

  4. Sadly accurate. My niece told her college roomate that what she misses most is family dinner and her roomate asked what family dinner is.

  5. I know when I make my shopping list and buy food, it is always with intentions to cook and eat healthy. Sadly, it just isn't always possible. Food goes to waste too often because I can't eat it while it's fresh.

  6. I agree that the domination of work in our culture has eroded family life, cooking and eating together being an ingredient. Immigrant cultures that have preserved an intergenerational life style have retained this value . While many work long hours the tasks of child care, shopping, and communal eating have survived with the help of extended family.

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