Have we forgotten how to cook?

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Ken Bateman Guest Opinion

In today’s fast-paced world of cell phones that are more like computers than phones, instant everything and two-income households (if you are lucky), cooking has kind of taken a back seat. Frozen boxed dinners, take out, and canned goods have become the “go-to foods” of many people’s everyday lives.

Just the knowledge of how to cook has started to become lost. The ones who can cook are looked at in wonder, as if they know some ancient secret that everyday folks don’t know, or just don’t want to know.

What happened? How on earth did we get here?

Maybe when we asked women to leave the kitchen and get jobs — way back when — we should have demanded that the men get in the kitchen. Maybe home economics should have been a required course to graduate high school — nothing fancy, just some basic knife skills and the proficiency to cook a couple of dishes using a few basic ingredients.

Somehow we seem to have gone wrong. That fundamental connection between fridge and store … somehow lost to the masses … or maybe just blocked by the microwave.

I mean really, how much do we stand to lose? In my opinion — a lot. We lose that connection with our past, our history really, and stop any forward progress we might make by being, not just introduced, but by learning something new and incorporating that into our methods.

American food, as we know it, is a mash up of so many cultures. All one has to look to is dishes like gumbo, pizza, and the humble hot dog. Well yes — that is what food is — an ever-evolving collage of ingredients, people, and ideas.

Yet somehow we have let big corporations sell us frozen rubbish, loaded with preservatives and tell us it is good for us. Our ballooning obesity problem in America couldn’t have anything to do with this … right?

So let’s start bugging mom, grandma, or grandpa. Let’s not lose something so precious, so vital. I mean, everybody has got to eat, right? Why not do it well?

• • •

Ken Bateman has been a professional cook and chef for 22 years in Washington, Kentucky and Idaho.

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