Sunday, August 02, 2009


One of the best things about our little apartment is the kitchen. No, it isn't a great kitchen but it is a kitchen so we can cook in-house. Tonight dinner just hit the spot since we have been eating out for a few days in a row. I roasted a couple of tiny cornish hens, boiled Olathe corn on the cob and made a salad tossed with feta cheese. While I was shucking the corn the smell of the first cut of spring grass sprang up. That was followed by the smell of the roasting hen that was filling the apartment. It is a joy to watch the hens transform from raw to a deep golden crispy skin that when pricked let the juices run clear. I even like cutting up a salad and gaging how much orange bell pepper and red cherub tomatoes to cut up to add color, taste and texture to the greens. Yes, I do like cooking.

While the cooking was happening I kept thinking about Michael Pollan's article in the New York Times Magazine today, Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch. He starts the article by talking about Julia Child, her delight in ingredients and preparation and the impact she had on cooking in America. And of course, he mentioned the movie that will be out in a few days, Julie & Julia. I'm looking forward to seeing it. But I digress. The article is kind of a history of what has been happening in the kitchen since the 1950s and he ends up connecting that back to what is happening with the growing girth of the country. "The more time a nation devotes to food preparation at home, the lower its rate of obesity. "

The article talked about how until recently we didn't eat things like french fries everyday because to prepare them took effort and time in the kitchen so they were a "special" food that we ate sometime. Now we can drive-thru and get them day or night. It also talked about the work and calories that cooking food from scratch requires. Subtle changes but very significant in our eating patterns.

Michael Pollan's article isn't just about food. It is about Julia Childs, the movie Julie and Julia, our history, our culture, and the food industry. He is really quite an amazing writer to pull all these things together. If you find time to read it, I think you'll find it thought provoking.


DanaJ said...

Laughing my head off, reading that article, and I'm only on page2!

pitchertaker said...

I know that when I cook, I work up a sweat, a really good sweat if I'm cookin' for more than just me and Ellen. It takes little or no effort to meet the pizza delivery guy at the front door. Last night our supper was a grilled small, bacon-wrapped, tenderloin, a big ol' sweet tater baked with skin on (it was big enough for the two of us) and some nice steamed broc. Tonight I'll do a salad thing with strips of grilled chicken.

Rooster said...

I loved the article, Billie. I heard Michael on NPR yesterday and went straight to the Times website. It's so interesting the connections between the feminist movement and convenience "cooking" and where it's all led us today. Pretty scary stuff when you consider how far we're yet drift away from natural food prepared simply.