I love Mark Bittman. His cooking philosophy and flavor favorites really resonate with me. So I feel a tad guilty saying that sometimes his food politics articles turn me off… a little too preachy and reminiscent of Michael Pollan to feel fresh and original to me.
His Op-Ed in today’s Times, though, was terrific. He started by busting the myth that fast food is cheaper than “real”, home-cooked food. He continued on to dismantle the other common excuses for fast food’s popularity:
– fast food is cheaper on a per calorie basis
– people can’t afford real food
– people don’t have access to fresh food
– people don’t have time to cook (Actually, as Bittman notes, “The average American watches no less than 90 minutes of television a day.”)
The core issue, he declares, and I strongly agree, is that many people see cooking as work and fast food or takeout as a reward, “a pleasure and a crutch”.
People just don’t want to cook.
Bittman continues with thoughts on how to change that attitude (Kids Cooking Classes!), our “food carnival” culture, this feeling that food should be instantly available without any effort other than getting in car or dialing a telephone.
Yes, eating real food takes some work, maybe 20-30 minutes a day. But the rewards are incalculable.