A few months ago, when I miraculously had Food Network, I caught the first episode of a show called “Worst Cooks in America.” I thought that I was going to watch a show about people who were really bad cooks. But this went waaay beyond that. The contestants on this show were actually unable to cook. Take a moment and think about that because I mean that they really didn’t know how to make toast or boil an egg. So it’s not that they were the worst cooks in America , it’s that they didn’t know how to make food for themselves.
That blew my mind then and it blows my mind now. How do you not know how to feed yourself? I understand not knowing how to make chicken masala or how to bone a duck, but I cannot wrap my mind around not being able to make anything to eat. To me this is like forgetting how to walk. How does one survive if one doesn’t know how to make food for themselves?
Apparently, the Food Network executives aren’t the only ones to notice that people just don’t know how to cook. Please note that I’m not saying they don’t choose to cook, I’m saying they don’t know how. Today on cnn.com, I found this article. It’s about how people literally don’t know how to cook anymore. The article links this to the early 1970’s when women starting working outside the home in great numbers. When that happened, the article says, society as a whole was exposed to more convenience take-out type foods because there was no one home to make dinner. And because there was no one home to make dinner that generation of kids never learned to cook. All of this is, of course, tied to the obesity epidemic. My thoughts on the cause of the disappearing knowledge of cooking as portrayed in the article are confused. On one hand, I think that this is a valid point. On the other hand, I think it’s really misogynistic to blame the lack of cooking skills and ultimately an obesity epidemic on women’s liberation. My mom worked outside the home (and got two masters degrees) when I was a kid and still managed to make a home cooked meal most nights. Ultimately, the real reason is probably partially that people were exposed to more pre-made meals (thanks to the explosion of fast food in the 1970’s), fast food and take out is generally not healthy (obesity!), and it’s just easier to not cook (so you never have to learn).
Regardless of the reason, this trend is really confusing and disturbing to me. I honestly can’t comprehend not knowing how to boil an egg. **Sidebar, in case you’re reading this and don’t know, put water in a pot, put the pot on the stove, turn on the stove to high heat, wait until the water boils (big bubbles), use a ladle (or something) to gently put in an egg, turn the heat down a bit, and leave the egg in the pot for about 10 minutes. ** See? It’s that easy. This whole thing is disturbing because, while I realize that you probably will not literally starve, I can’t imagine that people who don’t cook really get that much enjoyment out of eating. And I love eating so this is kinda big deal for me. Also the idea that people are forgetting to cook really causes me concern for the human race… are we becoming so technologically advanced that we’re getting basic survival skills? I would lean toward yes, because when you boil it down, that’s what cooking is.