I was flying home Monday from the National Restaurant Show, when I read some of the letters to the editor in the New York Times regarding the May 11th op-ed “Pay People to Cook at Home.” The letters further validated my April post: “Who is Cooking?”
“PayPeople to Cook at Home” was written by Kristin Wartman a journalist who writes about food, health, politics and culture. She presents an interesting point of view as it relates to the current debate that food advocate Michael Pollan recently initiated. He contends Americans should take control and eat more intelligently/healthier by getting back into the kitchen. If you have time, I suggest you click on the link and read Kristin’s op-ed. She provides some original solutions, including the concept of the “1.5 jobs model” which several Northern European nations have instituted. Men and women are allowed to work 75 percent of their normal hours when they have young children (e.g., in Sweden until children turn 8). Consequently parents have more time to nurture their children like shopping for food, cooking or tending to a community garden.
Back in April, in response to the release of Pollan’s latest book, I questioned whether America was ready to rebuild a culture of cooking. I argued that we are suffering from time deprivation thanks to our busy lifestyles. Most Americans prefer processed convenience foods or inexpensive restaurant meals that tend to have more unhealthy calories and are less nutritional value than carefully planned home cooked meals. A majority of the letters confirmed my rationale. To quote one woman from Brooklyn: “Try getting home at 6 or 7 with children weary from after school, starting your fresh-cooked dinner and supervising homework at the same time.”
Ms. Wartman and I both agree home cooking will require a major cultural shift.
What do you think?