Saturday’s New York Times featured an op-ed contribution by Amanda Hesser that deserves attention. “Commander in Chef” highlights the fact that all too often, developing cooking skills–and the desire to cook–is overshadowed by issues surrounding the acquisition of food:
[T]errific local ingredients aren’t much use if people are cooking less and less; cooking is to gardening what parenting is to childbirth. Research by the NPD Group showed that Americans ate takeout meals an average of 125 times a year in 2008, up from 72 a year in 1983. And a recent U.C.L.A. study of 32 working families found that the subjects viewed cooking from scratch as a kind of rarefied hobby.
As we lost our skills at the stove, we also lost something less tangible but no less important: the opportunity to spend time together in the kitchen, talking and cooking. Similarly, we gave up the chance to improve our children’s eating habits by example. Studies by Harvard Medical School and the University of Minnesota show that children in families that ate together consumed more fruits and vegetables, as well as less fat and fewer snacks.
Read Ms. Hesser’s piece in its entirety on the Times’ website.