Rachel Laudan has me thinking about how much time I spend in the kitchen, how much time I spend shopping, putting everything away, prepping, cooking, eating, cleaning up, planning. The list could go on and on.
Our discussion makes me wonder, why do I do it? Why do I bake my own bread, pasta, not use prepared foods. I think it’s my way of offering a bit of myself to my friends, to my loved ones. A gathering with friends isn’t complete until we’ve shared a bite, and maybe some wine. If I visit with my son and we don’t get to eat together, we both feel al little gypped, like it wasn’t a real visit.
We could consider those pesky and every changing health benefits: processed foods can contribute to attention deficit disorder, or pre-cut vegetables loose more nutrition, or red wine melts body fat. Then there are the seemingly intuitive things like fresh tastes better. Which isn’t always true because for certain dishes you want dry pasta, or dried porcini, or the concentrated flavors of frozen berries. (Puree some berries, freeze them and then thaw them…they will be more intensely flavored. This is because the freezing bursts the cell walls of the fruit releasing sugars and flavors.) But, these are all societal considerations and fluctuate according to time and place.
The one thing that doesn’t seem to change, regardless of the time in history or the place, is the communal aspects of eating, and that it represents something pleasurable.
I asked Rachel this question, and now I ask you: what else do you do in the course of your day that has the potential to give this much pleasure to multiples of people? (That should exclude most of you who were thinking bedroom thoughts!). Is the time you spend in the kitchen worth it?
(Photos are last night’s fried bunny and fave bean dinner, and some very quick puttanesca penne for lunch. OK, so we ate dinner at around 10:00 last night because I was running late. But, I got lunch out in about 14 minutes!)