Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kick It Up A Notch!

In the past decade, food shows have risen in popularity, warranting their own TV station. With all of these chefs having fun and dishing out some amazing-looking grub, one would assume we'd all be heading for the kitchen, ready to add some "gahlic" to whatever Emeril dish we're concocting, adding some "bam! bam!s" of spices, and making it "happy, happy, happy" with some butter or bacon.

But strangely, sadly, we're not. Instead of being inspired to cook, we're glued to our couches, strapped in to be entertained some more by something out of a diner in Arizona as some punk with bleach-blonde hair visit every greasy spoon in America.

In Pollan's article, "Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch," he reveals the scary reality that we are not cooking any more than we were ten years ago, that we are relying more and more on pre-packaged convenience foods, and that we are watching more and more people cook food that we aren't eating.

My first hint at this was seeing the "Joy of Cooking" brand of frozen TV dinners at my local grocery store. "But isn't this..." my husband peered. I nodded. "A total contradiction." The fact that these dinner exist proves that we have entered an era of wanting to experience the same great flavors that we see on our favorite primetime food show (braised beef tips with noodles, roasted herb chicken with potatoes and vegetables) but without the hassle of actually cooking it.

When we aren't eating out, we are staying in, throwing a frozen tray into the microwage, and nestling in to watch two top chefs go head-to-head as they cook up several courses from the mystery ingredient... fiddlehead ferns! Salads, risottos, gelees, fern-squid soup, panna cotta with ferns and berries, all fly from the kitchens to judges who deconstruct every nuance of every bite... then, Ding! Microwave brownies are done and we are ready for watching people make towering cakes that look like the Grand Canyon for someone 50th birthday!

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