New Michael Pollan article in NYT - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 03:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here is his new article. It's about the decline in scratch cooking in America (among other things).

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Despite the scary statistics, I loved this article because it articulated why I find cooking to be so satisfying.


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#2 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 03:50 AM
 
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excellent article! thanks for sharing
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#3 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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too cool- thanks!

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#4 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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What an awesome article! I love it so much that I will print it out and keep it in my recipe book. Julia Child is my mentor.

Quote:
But many of these programs — I’m thinking of Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, Sandra Lee — tend to be aimed at stay-at-home moms who are in a hurry and eager to please. (“How good are you going to look when you serve this?” asks Paula Deen, a Southern gal of the old school.) These shows stress quick results, shortcuts and superconvenience but never the sort of pleasure — physical and mental — that Julia Child took in the work of cooking: the tomahawking of a fish skeleton or the chopping of an onion, the Rolfing of butter into the breast of a raw chicken or the vigorous whisking of heavy cream. By the end of the potato show, Julia was out of breath and had broken a sweat, which she mopped from her brow with a paper towel. (Have you ever seen Martha Stewart break a sweat? Pant?
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#5 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing! That was a great article - long, but very good!

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#6 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 05:17 PM
 
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It confirmed what I was beginning to realize. Due to financial reasons, I've been cooking a LOT from scratch. Ok, I do use canned tomatoes & pickles, but otherwise, I make it. I don't make my own butter or olive oil either, so whatever. I don't think I need to go that far down for 'scratch' cooking, lol.

Anyway, I noticed that even when I baked cookies, I didn't eat much of them. They usually disappeared fast, but there wasn't the constant, everyday snacking around them. Baking bread: less bread eaten throughout the day. It was also a lot more filling that grocery store bread.

It also made me seriously consider my 'cravings'. I mean, do I really want cake if I have to mix & sift the dry ingredients, let the butter soften on the counter, cream it with the sugar, etc etc etc. And we aren't even getting to the frosting! I've found that I can go weeks without giving in to my 'bad' food cravings.

Hmmm, laziness as a diet method. Maybe I should write a book about it.

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#7 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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It also made me seriously consider my 'cravings'. I mean, do I really want cake if I have to mix & sift the dry ingredients, let the butter soften on the counter, cream it with the sugar, etc etc etc. And we aren't even getting to the frosting! I've found that I can go weeks without giving in to my 'bad' food cravings.

Hmmm, laziness as a diet method. Maybe I should write a book about it.

Ami
This was so me last night!!! I wanted brownies so bad, but didn't want to start baking at 10pm, so went without!

I

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#8 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 09:21 PM
 
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Wow, long article. INteresting. He assumes though that everyone who watches the food network must just "watch" and never cook. I'm sure that is true of some. But I love cooking shows, I've been watching them since I was a kid, pbs shows and then the food network. I will spend 4 hours cooking homemade soup for my kids, or 3 hours cooking homemade pierogies with my mother. Yes lots of folks are lazy BUT not everyone
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#9 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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So sad.

I cook from scratch, but have learned everything I know through books, the internet and the food network!

I feel like cooking is a very organic process and while I may not know the way I'm suppose to do xyz, I get there and it tastes delicious.

I vow to teach my boys how to cook!

I am not crunchy enough for this forum. Everyday I get a little crunchier though! :
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#10 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 09:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post
It confirmed what I was beginning to realize. Due to financial reasons, I've been cooking a LOT from scratch. Ok, I do use canned tomatoes & pickles, but otherwise, I make it. I don't make my own butter or olive oil either, so whatever. I don't think I need to go that far down for 'scratch' cooking, lol.

Anyway, I noticed that even when I baked cookies, I didn't eat much of them. They usually disappeared fast, but there wasn't the constant, everyday snacking around them. Baking bread: less bread eaten throughout the day. It was also a lot more filling that grocery store bread.

It also made me seriously consider my 'cravings'. I mean, do I really want cake if I have to mix & sift the dry ingredients, let the butter soften on the counter, cream it with the sugar, etc etc etc. And we aren't even getting to the frosting! I've found that I can go weeks without giving in to my 'bad' food cravings.

Hmmm, laziness as a diet method. Maybe I should write a book about it.

Ami
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#11 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 10:41 PM
 
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I really enjoyed that article. Thanks for posting it.
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#12 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 11:27 PM
 
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That worked for a while, but now I have a good collection of 30 minutes or less recipes for pure homemade junky goodness.

And once you start cooking vegan you realize it really isn't a problem to be out of eggs or milk, so there goes that excuse...

I'm so screwed

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#13 of 27 Old 08-02-2009, 11:32 PM
 
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With regard to the article--I thought it made a lot of good points

The only food network persona that seems to inspire me to try a new dish is Alton Brown.

It is much easier to watch these guys on tv and then go out and buy their food "fresh in your grocer's freezer"

Thankfully I seem to have surrounded myself with people who DO raise their own chickens...(and do make/repair their own socks )

A lot of what he was writing about seemed reminiscent of articles from Slow Food

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#14 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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You also might enjoy this thread:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=881050

It is one of my favorite of all time!

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#15 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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That was depressing!

Quote:
People think nothing of buying frozen peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches for their children’s lunchboxes. (Now how much of a timesaver can that be?) “We’ve had a hundred years of packaged foods,” Balzer told me, “and now we’re going to have a hundred years of packaged meals.” Already today, 80 percent of the cost of food eaten in the home goes to someone other than a farmer, which is to say to industrial cooking and packaging and marketing.

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#16 of 27 Old 08-03-2009, 11:30 PM
 
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How about some Raw Recipes! : http://www.fromsadtoraw.com/RawRecipes.htm


Pat

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#17 of 27 Old 08-04-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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I just skimmed the article, but a couple of things caught my attention:

“You know what I love about cooking?” Julie tells us in a voice-over as we watch her field yet another inconclusive call on her headset. “I love that after a day where nothing is sure — and when I say nothing, I mean nothing — you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.” How many of us still do work that engages us in a dialogue with the material world and ends — assuming the soufflé doesn’t collapse — with such a gratifying and tasty sense of closure?

I work full-time outside the home as data manager of a research study. A lot of my work is very abstract, and the results aren't apparent for years. One of the things I love about cooking (and laundry, and dish-washing) is that I can accomplish something immediate and real and very practical.

After World War II, the food industry labored mightily to sell American women on all the processed-food wonders it had invented to feed the troops: canned meals, freeze-dried foods, dehydrated potatoes, powdered orange juice and coffee, instant everything. As Laura Shapiro recounts in “Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America,” the food industry strived to “persuade millions of Americans to develop a lasting taste for meals that were a lot like field rations.”

: It's such a big scam! And it gives this subconscious impression that we're in some sort of emergency situation where not only do WE have no time to prepare real food, but we have no right to expect to eat real food or to have someone care for us by cooking--and we're in that situation every day, forever. No wonder we all feel so stressed.

Cutler and his colleagues also surveyed cooking patterns across several cultures and found that obesity rates are inversely correlated with the amount of time spent on food preparation.

I've suspected this for a long time! A friend of mine keeps complaining about how fat he is, and I keep telling him to cook--he knows how and says he's pretty good at making things taste the way he likes them, but he's convinced himself that his career is such an important use of his time that he can't make time for cooking AND that he's making enough money that he can afford restaurants all the time so he may as well. Now I can cite this study and maybe get through to him....

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#18 of 27 Old 08-04-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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Thanks for posting this. I love Julia Child even more than I love Michael Pollan.

There's a lady at my church who's going to be teaching a pie making class (crust and fillings from scratch!) and she's encouraging teens to attend. I'm going to email her this article and tell her what a great idea that is. This article and her class made me think of ways I can teach the next generation how to cook. I benefited so much from learning this craft from my grandmother, aunts and mom. My son cooks with me every night, but who else can I reach? Hmmmmm......

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#19 of 27 Old 08-04-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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This article articulated a lot of things that have been marinating around in the back of my mind.

We recently got Food Network back after not having it for quite a while and I've been really frustrated that I can't seem to find any good cooking shows there. It always seem to be Unwrapped or Diners Drive-ins etc. The only shows where they cook are Sandra Lee :Puke or Rachel Ray Where did Alton Brown go?

With dd getting mobile I've not been cooking as much as I'm used to and want to. I've noticed us starting to gain weight. I was already promising myself that I was going to get back into cooking real food. Thanks for posting this article because it helped me firm up my resolve.

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#20 of 27 Old 08-04-2009, 06:48 PM
 
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Here is an interesting old thread (it does get a bit OT occasionally): What TV CHef is the Most TF??


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#21 of 27 Old 08-04-2009, 07:11 PM
 
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Great article!

Cooking from scratch really is dying and it makes me really sad. I find it to be so gratifying. Last Thanksgiving my MIL hosted (who serves boxed mashed potatoes) and all of the desserts were store-bought!!! I was astonished! Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl of cooking events!!! Anything store-bought on Thanksgiving is sacrilege in my house! LOL

I cook mostly from scratch and I love the Food Network! There are several shows I don't watch like Rachael Ray (her perkiness irritates me) and Sandra Lee (I don't consider dumping items out of a box as "cooking"). A couple of my faves that give good ideas and inspirations while using REAL food are Ina Garten and Bobby Flay's grilling shows. I want to like Alton Brown but the corny jokes & sketches make it so painful to watch. LOL

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#22 of 27 Old 08-04-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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Quote:
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Where did Alton Brown go?
He's still there! But we have a DVR and set it to record, I watch it with the kids. So I'm not sure what time it's actually on, maybe 7pm Central? Can you tell I love Good Eats?
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#23 of 27 Old 08-04-2009, 07:26 PM
 
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Great article!

Cooking from scratch really is dying and it makes me really sad. I find it to be so gratifying. Last Thanksgiving my MIL hosted (who serves boxed mashed potatoes) and all of the desserts were store-bought!!! I was astonished! Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl of cooking events!!! Anything store-bought on Thanksgiving is sacriledge in my house! LOL

I cook mostly from scratch and I love the Food Network! There are several shows I don't watch like Rachael Ray (her perkiness irritates me) and Sandra Lee (I don't consider dumping items out of a box as "cooking"). A couple of my faves that give good ideas and inspirations while using REAL food are Ina Garten and Bobby Flay's grilling shows.
That is the way it is at my in-laws. I still vividly remember the first holiday w/ dh and how there was like 10 kinds of cocktail weanies. My mom uses plenty of boxes and cans from day to day but by golly on Thanksgiving the pies and cakes are made by her- the rolls are yeast rolls that are loving done by hand and the dumplings made w/ a recipe that is only in her head- I honestly don't know that my mil really knows how to cook- not real food cannot say I have ever seen her do it- yet they are amazed that their daughter doesn't know how- How do kids know if they are never taught. I would guarantee that my 5 y.o. son knows better what goes in deviled eggs than most people. I love them being in the kitchen(most of the time ) and really hope that they have a great grasp of how to cook from scratch and from instinct by the time they are grown- whether or not they use it is up to them of course.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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#24 of 27 Old 08-04-2009, 07:30 PM
 
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My 3 year old loves helping me knead the pizza dough that we make by hand It's so cute.

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#25 of 27 Old 08-06-2009, 06:37 PM
 
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Homefrontgirl wrote:
Quote:
This article and her class made me think of ways I can teach the next generation how to cook. I benefited so much from learning this craft from my grandmother, aunts and mom. My son cooks with me every night, but who else can I reach? Hmmmmm......
I was a Girl Scout leader for 6 years (taking a year or two off now...) and cooking is one of my favorite things to do with the girls. In addition to cooking meals at camp, we did the Cooking badge one year, and for the Plants & Animals badge we made fried okra, and a couple of times we thanked the church for letting us meet there by hosting a Sunday coffee hour for which we made all the food from scratch. Oh, and when my son was a newborn, my co-leaders organized a meeting where the girls baked pizzas, a little one for each of them and a dozen for me to take home to reheat in the toaster oven for quick lunches!!! All the girls enjoy cooking, those who get to do it at home like showing off their skills and teaching others, and those whose families "never cook anything that doesn't come in a box with instructions" (as one girl put it) get a big thrill out of learning to make something. I've been able to teach a lot about nutrition, too!

So, you could be a Girl Scout leader or take a regular volunteer position with another youth organization, but a less daunting option is to hook up with one of those organizations and offer to lead the occasional cooking workshop. I remember when I was a Brownie, somebody's mom who wasn't the leader came to one meeting and taught us to make Vietnamese spring rolls. :

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#26 of 27 Old 08-06-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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I was a Girl Scout leader for 6 years (taking a year or two off now...) and cooking is one of my favorite things to do with the girls.
I still have my recipes from the lady who taught us cooking in Girl Scouts. I was about 4th grade.

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#27 of 27 Old 08-06-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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Homefrontgirl wrote was a Girl Scout leader for 6 years (taking a year or two off now...) and cooking is one of my favorite things to do with the girls. In addition to cooking meals at camp, we did the Cooking badge one year, and for the Plants & Animals badge we made fried okra, and a couple of times we thanked the church for letting us meet there by hosting a Sunday coffee hour for which we made all the food from scratch. Oh, and when my son was a newborn, my co-leaders organized a meeting where the girls baked pizzas, a little one for each of them and a dozen for me to take home to reheat in the toaster oven for quick lunches!!! All the girls enjoy cooking, those who get to do it at home like showing off their skills and teaching others, and those whose families "never cook anything that doesn't come in a box with instructions" (as one girl put it) get a big thrill out of learning to make something. I've been able to teach a lot about nutrition, too!

So, you could be a Girl Scout leader or take a regular volunteer position with another youth organization, but a less daunting option is to hook up with one of those organizations and offer to lead the occasional cooking workshop. I remember when I was a Brownie, somebody's mom who wasn't the leader came to one meeting and taught us to make Vietnamese spring rolls. :
That's an excellent idea! Those girls we're lucky to have you!

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