I'm curious when people say they appreciate these time-saving cooking shows. But really, how long does it take to make good food? A roast chicken can be tossed with a broken up head of garlic and some herbs in less than 30 seconds. And how many seconds does one save by opening a bottle of pre-made salad dressing as opposed to mixing together a few spoonfuls of olive oil & vinegar? Is it really that much easier to rip open a box of cake mix than to drop a stick of butter in the mixer, add some eggs, then stir in some flour?This is always my thing with the Food Network, and with American food culture in general. I know I'm in a unique situation, working from home and whatnot, but I actually enjoy cooking. The process of taking raw ingredients and turning them into something delicious and nutritious is one of the best parts of my day. I'd hate to have to rush through it. Everybody has nights when they've got to throw something together; not every night is seven hour leg of lamb night. I know this. But what Lebovitz is saying, I think, and what I fervently agree with, is that a meal that takes minutes to prepare will likely also be eaten in minutes, and this ain't a good thing.
And doesn't homemade foods taste better, and is far healthier for you (and much less-expensive), than all those convenience foods? Other than as a gimmick, I don't see how how saving a few minutes is really worth sacrificing your family's health and well-being for by using all these processed foods. While I don't begrudge any tv chefs cooking with real ingredients, it's quite a disservice to spray things with aerosol cheese and call it dinner.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Food, for Convenience Sake
See what happens? I step away for a few days, and Anthony Bourdain goes nuts. First, my blog mentor Max posted on the Millions about Bourdain's Food Network rant at Michael Ruhlman's blog. Now David Lebovitz has chimed in with his two "centimes." (I haven't written about David Lebovitz before, but I will now. He's a pastry chef and chocolate aficionado who lives in Paris. His blog is always entertaining, especially if you've ever been to Paris. Check it out.) Lebovitz comments on the message board at Simply Recipes, wondering why people find value in shows about convenience cooking (Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee, etc.).