Is the art of cooking dying?

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by onepiece, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. onepiece

    onepiece

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    I walk into my Walmart, and I see Chunky Soup, Spices in pre measured packages, fast food places in the walmart, and one of the worst things I have seen in a while, a plastic container containing pre diced onions.  Seriously!?!?!  The onions are even pre sliced now.  I feel that a decent soup is disregarded now that a chunky soup only cost around $1.25.
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I think there's a higher interest in being able to cook well. But not on a daily basis, rather for occasions.

    The art of cooking daily from scratch to feed the family well and economically, that I would say is dying.
     
  3. onepiece

    onepiece

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    I think you are right about the daily from scratch cooking is dying.  It is funny what has happened to cooking pancakes.  First pancakes were made from flour (pancakes from scratch), and then we had Bisquick, which made it where you only need milk and eggs.  Have you seen what they have now?  Squirt bottle pancakes, a container that is barely filled with a premade mix,  and you just fill the bottle with water.   So now it has become where you put water in the jug, and pour into the skillet.
     
  4. thekitchensink

    thekitchensink

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    I don't think you can really judge based on the food available at Walmart. You know from the jump that Walmart is all about convenience. They're not interested in the art of anything. However, plenty of people shop at Whole Foods and other markets that sell quality ingredients, and even if you're just shopping at the local supermarket you'll still find plenty of base ingredients. Pre-packaged food is definitely very popular right now though - no arguing that.
     
  5. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I believe the art of cooking in the home is controlled by economics. When mom left the kitchen to go back to the workplace to raise the family standard of living , is realy when pre prepared foods or less work for mother realy started. If mom was lucky enough to stay home and remain a housewife, she was able to spend moer time on cooking.. Today we are all in the center of a speed, hurry up  society  ""Time is Money ""so to speak. The home and commercial applications differ. Many food service facilities still scratch cook.In many cases they do not based on labor cost. Its a fine line . Fast food today is not fast enough for most people. I visualize the future when every corner will have a battery of vending machines where you will put your credit card, A prepared item will be dispensed, you will go back to your car and where your glove compartment is now will be your  own microwave oven. Bingo thats it. Don't laugh it is feasable.
     
  6. ishbel

    ishbel

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    I still cook from scratch.  My children do so, too.

    We (perhaps, luckily) don't have Walmart here.
     
  7. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    Is it taught ?

    My grandmother's mother did it . We were all taught to make it from stratch. Oh don't worry, if there was a short cut, we found out about it. But that is how our family came to together. This was how the generation taught the younger generation. We were told we could not marry men if we could not cook. We were also told that a way to a man's heart was to or through (so my translation) his belly.....so my sisters and I spent summers in the kitchen and taking classes , trying to learn from scratch how to cook.

    The "life lessons" which I like to call them, have never left me. When I go to the store and I see a box of Mac and cheese , I know the chemicals that go into making it, yes , it takes all of 5 minutes to make, but when I make it from scratch, it is real food.,

    I enjoy a break from cooking like everyone else . But in my line of work, there are no short cuts.

    It brings me back to a day (when I read this) 8 years ago my boss invited 36 people to lunch, no warning. My boss wanted my famous Borscht. What my boss did not know was that i did not have fresh beets on hand that day, I resorted to canned beets. There was nothing wrong with my soup that day. In fact everyone loved it. But later on that afternoon , a lady came into my kitchen and asked one question : Did you use fresh or canned beets ? Could not look at her.........canned !!!!

    I know what you are saying..........get over it. But that is what I mean........do you know what i mean ? 
     
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    As is evident by the diverse responses, OnePiece, you're really talking two different issues.

    Issue one is the convenience world we live in, where "get it done" is more important than "get it done right." And there's no question, due to a number of influences, that most people are quite happy with that. They know that many of those convenience products suffer in quality, and that there are potential health issues. But convenience rules.

    Just for what it's worth, voting in favor of convenience isn't at all new. In one of his letters Thomas Jefferson explains why the Declaration of Independence was signed so quickly. Independence Hall was located next to a stable, and the horseflies were particularly numerous and agressive that July. "Teason," he says, "was preferable to discomfort." But I digress.

    The other issue is, are people not learning to cook nowadays. And in that I partially disagree with the other posters. After two generations of Americans who grew up confusing cooking with microwaving, there is a large, and growing population, of people who now want to cook. There are a number of influences causing this; health concerns, the return-to-family-values syndrome, the whole foodie thing, and others. Their problem is that they lack the gestalt, the basic education Petals refers to that us older folks learned at our mothers' knees.

    Is cooking taught, anymore? Not in the sense of mother-to-daughter, or in home-ec classes at school. But there are lots of learning venues. There is the plethora of cooking shows on the TV, for instance; two networks devoted to food, and specials and series on half a dozen other channels. And there are short courses offered by culinary schools. And the people like myself who offer classes of various kinds.

    So, from where I sit, the art of cookery is actually in better shape now than it's been in the past 30 years.
     
  9. onepiece

    onepiece

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    May interesting points made here.  See, I am raised in a single parent home, as a young child, home cooked food wasn't an often thing.  Most items were instant, Chunky Soup, and frozen pizza.      I do agree with the point that food will eventually be served much quicker.  It isn't uncommon to see vehicles lined up to the outside of the parking lot waiting at the Mcdonalds drive thru.                     I also agree with the idea that more people want to be able to cook good food for an occassion, but only then. 
     
  10. ishbel

    ishbel

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    It's interesting that at least 2 of the McDonald's in my home city have closed due to lack of customers - the franchisees just gave up the ghost - and the premises are now boarded up - and will presumably stay so in the present deep recession.

    I can only speak from personal experience.  I am a good cook.  My mother and grandmothers were good cooks - as were their mothers...  my daughters are getting there!
     
  11. onepiece

    onepiece

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    Indeed, that is interesting.  I live in the US, on the Kentucky/Tennessee border, and the Mcdonalds are just all over the place.  I find it odd because there are quite a few foreclosures, and the average household income isn't very high here.

    My parent never enjoyed or liked cooking.  She holds the knife in the fist grip, and the idea of spending more than $20 on a knife is foreign to her. 
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  12. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Just out of curiousity, OnePiece, where, exactly are you?

    I'm outside of Richmond, where the fast-food, take-out, convenience mentality is, at a guess, about 70% or so. That's without counting the college community. Among them it's probably an effective 95% or higher. The rest of the people do cook. And once you get into the hill country to the east of us the percentage of people who cook goes up.

    I wonder how much that might reflect the country at large? That is, the more urbanized the environment, the less likely it is for people to cook on a regular basis?
     
  13. onepiece

    onepiece

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    I live in Oak Grove, Kentucky.  About 4 miles from Fort Campbell, and Clarksville TN.
     
  14. jim berman

    jim berman

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    I had the very good fortune to talk with Jacques Pepin a few years' ago. We got on the topic of home cooking and he said, as I'll never forget, "The cooking shows are more popular than ever! Yet, nobody cooks!"  I think there is no arguing convenience is merely part of our every day lives. It is what we have created, good, bad or otherwise.
     
  15. mikelm

    mikelm

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    I can only offer the extremely small sample of my own experience, but I don't accept this premise at all. Why is Whole Foods doing so well? Why of CT so popular?

    Anyway, my family members are all enthusiastic and adventurous cooks, and most of their spouses and kids are, as well. When my wife announced our engagement, her aunt (a spinster) and her mother (a widow) both said "here's what you must learn before you get married," and proceeded to drill her in kitchen skills, which our family has enjoyed and benefitted from for many years.

    I only got interested about twenty years ago,, when my wife insisted we buy a food processor. I'm a woodworker and tool nut, and I looked at this gadget and thought "hmmm... what can I do with that thing?" The rest is all downhill and now I, retired, do most of the cooking. We don't eat out a lot because I'd rather do it myself.

    As I say, all the family members, and nearly all their kids like to cook a lot

    Although, we have two or three sophisticated grandchildren who like gourmet dining-out so much that their parents have to restrict their restaurant adventures rather severly. :eek:

    As another view on this, my Rotary Club, in the last couple of years, has switched , as an economy measure in these straitened times, from club parties at a nice restaurant to potluck dinners where members supply the food... there are a LOT of good cooks in this group of Rotarians, most of whom are quite well-to-do. They gotta be doing a lot of good cooking at home.

    Don't despair. Just stay away from McDonalds.

    Mike

    And, if your kids ask for Mcdonalds or the equqivalent






    Beat them ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  16. chefross

    chefross

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    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........... potluck dinners. Now there's a venue where one can tell just who knows how to cook and who does not.

    Casseroles with those crunchy fried onions on top.

    Strange looking salads with bits of who knows what inside.

    The list is endless.
     
  17. granny smith

    granny smith

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    I live in the hills of Kentucky. While most, if not all, of the older women know how to cook from scratch, many of those of my generation (baby boomer) and younger, do not. I've had women older than me ask me to teach them how to make bread, rolls, and even biscuits. I'm in talks now, with the extension agent, to teach a class in scratch cooking. I want to start with bread, but move into foods you can produce yourself. Another lady is going to teach canning. I might do a class in dehydrating, too, if I can find the time. People need to know this stuff.
     
  18. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    My daughters friend was bragging about how good of a cook her dad is.  A frozen burrito, covered in canned chili. I just nodded my head politely.
     
  19. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

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    I've been home cooking for a long long time and cooked for my parents and siblings for many years so my parents could both go out and work to support the many of us.  Ever since I pretty much home cook, and much of it has been from "scratch".  My teenagers know the basics, and could well survive without me. 

    However, we do have take-out from time to time when there is no time for cooking, and the occasional frozen pizza, tarted up with extras.  There is no other option at times, depending what is happening on the day.  Some tinned ingredients take part in it, such as crushed tomatoes and beetroot.  It's all a part of cooking is realistically in any given situation.  But, cooking with fresh ingredients every day is definitely my preference, and I've been glad to be able to be passing it on to them (1 boy 1 girl). 

    On the other hand, hubby can cook bbq. Getting better at it.  Can make a toasted sandwich.  His parents did him no favours by not getting him to cook, whereas his brother is excellent at cooking.  Just not interested I guess.  His speciality is his "Shepards Pie".  Baked beans in a pot with instant mashed potatoes plonked on top then smothered in ketchup .  Eaten when he is travelling for work straight from the pot /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif
     
  20. iceman

    iceman

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    Hey GRANNY SMITH! I hope your class goes well. For the past coupla years I've been working with a program teaching adults and their kids together. It was called "Operation Frontline". I start a new program/class the first week of May called "Cooking Matters". Anyway, I have a great time doing these classes, and I know you will too. 

    [​IMG]

    Here is the COOKBOOK. Maybe it can give you some ideas. 
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011