2017-10-06 / Commentary

Cooking made really, really easy

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation
Mike Cox

Riding in Central Kentucky with an employee. He was from Corbin; had lived there for his full 50 plus years, except for a two year stint working in a factory in Indiana.

I was going through the death throes of a 25 year marriage in a workplace where there were no secrets. At some point during our day together he asked what I did for food. My confused expression encouraged him to press for more.

“I mean, do you eat out every meal or buy ready to eat stuff?”

I told him that being the oldest of four kids in a family where both parents worked, I learned to cook at an early age. I could make cat head biscuits at ten; peach cobbler by my early teens. I told him I had cooked my whole life and encouraged my three sons to do the same. Seeing his confusion, I asked about his culinary skills.

He told me he had never so much as made a sandwich. His mother refused to allow men in her kitchen, and his wife was of a similar bent. Even when he was working in Indiana with a group of guys, someone else did the cooking. I told him to make sure he never did anything to irritate his wife. He’d be lost if she left him.

I think of that day every time I see a commercial for one of those everything’s included food services now being advertised for consumers who are too stupid to read a recipe, measure ingredients in specifically marked implements, and properly set time and temperature on a stove or oven.

I realize the smart people who run businesses understand marketing way better than I do. I know they can create a need for a product as quickly as some pretty blonde lady can learn to say a product’s name earnestly through parted red lips. But I still marvel at the things that become popular.

I laughed out loud the first time I saw “100 calorie packs” of cookies and crackers. Since Big Brother mandated the inclusion of nutritional data on the side of packages, anyone should be able to tell how many Nutter Butter cookies equal 100 calories. The correct answer is: Not Very Many.

I also realize my generation, and the ones that immediately followed, were well taken care of by capitalism—TV dinners, prepackaged pasta dishes, biscuits, and rolls in a can. We were spoiled quite nicely compared to our parents.

My dad ate pork and chicken he personally fed, and other critters he hunted and killed. Their flour and cornmeal came from grain grown on their farm and ground to powder by a local mill. Even the lard for seasoning came from rendered fat at hog killing time. No wonder he had a fondness for canned biscuits.

Considering all this, I still don’t understand why someone would pay hardearned money to have a recipe and all ingredients delivered to the front door. This seems so much like cheating and wasting money at the same time. No wonder the world is going to Hell. And no I don’t eat canned biscuits.

I buy frozen ones.

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