Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Let’s stop glorifying the inability to cook

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Despite the proliferation of cooking shows in recent years it seems that most television programs glorify the anti-cooking life. Sure, there are shows like Masterchef and Chopped and all of the standard celeb cooking shows but those are far removed from the reality of the average home cook. They glorify challenges and gourmet meals, not getting supper on the table for a family after a long day of work.

When I think about pretty much any tv series or movie these days nobody cooks. It’s like a badge of honour to have an untarnished kitchen. A sort a bragging about being unable to cook. Can’t you just picture Olivia Pope curled up on her couch after a long day of falling in and out of love with the president with a big bowl of popcorn and a big glass of wine? Or how about all the shows that have an iconic restaurant, diner, or coffee shop where all of the characters meet on the daily? When I try to think of shows that feature regular family meals they’re all from my childhood and generally assume that it’s the woman’s job to feed the household. I don’t think that equality has to come at the expense of home cooked meals. My boyfriend and I take turns cooking depending on our schedules. Eating out is a treat, not a daily, or even weekly occurrence.

Being able to cook is something that should be considered an essential life skill. I can’t imagine anyone bragging about being illiterate. When people proudly proclaim their incompetence in the kitchen to me that’s the same thing. It’s bragging about being food illiterate. I’m not saying we all need to be gourmet chefs or cook every single meal at home from scratch but we do need a cultural shift. These shows reflect our reality and our reality mirrors these shows. Let’s stop aspiring to a life where the closest we come to cooking is reheating leftover delivery and start showing individuals and households where cooking is the norm.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

8 thoughts on “Let’s stop glorifying the inability to cook

  1. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. Further, the glorification of the “Take Out” drawer sends another message – we should all be able to afford to order in every night, hit the drive-thru every morning, and visit the café near the office at noon. It’s the foodie equivalent of airbrushed magazine models attacking the body image of regular people.

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  2. I really liked this post!

    I think one thing that is an important part of this conversation is how food work (in the private sphere and the public sphere) is valued. Food work is very undervalued, especially when it is cooing for a family. In our culture, food work is women’s work and both food and women are undervalued. Notice that nearly all of the very popular celebrity chefs are men, who, like you said, are not doing the daily task of feeding others. The male celebrity chef is cooking the profit making, celebrity fare, on TV. Food work in the public sphere is also very undervalued with food workers barely able to make ends meet despite working a 40+ hour week.

    A really good book that sheds light on this is Majorie Devault’s “Feeding the Family”.

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    • Excellent points Jen. I know that even many chefs in highend restaurants don’t make much money and work long sweltering hours. That doesn’t even touch on the line cooks, servers, and bussers.

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  3. A big challenge when we eat healthy is that food preparation takes much longer then when using prepared foods. As a healthy vegetarian family with both of us working it can mean eating much later in the evening than we would prefer. I can see where many people choose to pick something up on the way home because of their hectic schedules. Unfortunately eating out or picking up takeout is in many cases no better than buying processed food.

    It is a challenge that I believe we all must undertake if we are to live a long and healthy life. Better education to everyone on how to prepare fresh healthy foods in a timely manner would be a great beginning.

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    • Absolutely. And having the media and culture ceasing perpetuation of the myth that not cooking is something we should all aspire to is just one piece of the puzzle.

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  4. I’m thinking the closest my tv viewing gets to family dinnertime is the family in Downton Abbey!

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  5. Pingback: Should feminists stay out of the kitchen? |

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