Posts Tagged ‘NY times’


Yes Americans are getting fatter,  Yes Americans do not eat fresh food, Yes Americans do not exercise enough…. Roger Cohen’s  list goes on and on, how Americans have divorced themselves from real food and cooking while substituting it with plastic.  His article in the NY Times “Advantage France” describes how the French people have an amazing connection with their food and derive immense health benefits as a result. At the same time he chastises Americans for their lack of connection and what he calls our “fear” of food. But what Mr. Cohen is seeing are only the by products of the American culture and not looking at the source of these problems. I feel like he is standing in the rain yelling that the floor is wet and people are going to slip, DUH. We need to examine and fix the root causes not just the end byproducts. He rails against the use of pre packaged food but never mentions once how many hours the average american works, or how many single mothers, or two working parent households, or even how many vacation days. Americans work harder than any other country in the world. (end of statement)  Its not so difficult to find time to shop for fresh food with a mandatory 35 hr work week, and 6 weeks of vacation. How are can we expected Americans to work more than 40 hrs a week, be with their families and home cook every meal. I agree Americans can start to change their eating habits because the mind is more powerful than the gut, but be a little more sympathetic to the average American,, who works hard and needs a little comfort.


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Food seems to be getting more and more popular, through TV shows, books and movies.  But food has always been around why now? And why food? In a long but well worth read in the NY Times Micheal Pollan “out of the Kitchen and onto the couch” gives a lengthy explanation of our current media obsession with food. In summary (since it is long) food preparation has shifted always from cooking and more toward eating because of technological advances (according to him none of which are good). The media is fueling this obsession to further its future as the entertainer of the masses. But Pollan does bring up some good points, people don’t cook any more. He attributes it to working too hard and having the convenience foods readily available its hard to resist.

I love cooking, and as mention in this blog many times I love eating. But they are not necessarily the same thing. I was watching a great video of  top chef winner of season 2 Ilan Hall cook in his shoe box apartment in NY, and he said ” I don’t really like eating my own cooking”. Hall is right; there is something utterly special in not knowing what is in your food. Its like magic, can you compare the experience of  the magician versus the little kid sitting in the front row who has no idea how it is happening. No.

But Pollan is right we need to cook more because in doing so we become part of the process and not just a parasite living off of the system. Interacting with food, working hard brings appreciation and maybe a little more awarness. Plus if you are doing the cooking it is more likely that you’ll put less oil, more veggies and eat less knowing and with more awareness.

Some how that doesn’t work if you are making sloppy joes (what is the best side veggie for sloppy joes).

And even if it doesn’t and you just cook everything with oil and lots of sugar, at least you know that your calories are from real food that you made. I read a book about a fat girl living in Chelsea who gets a job a restaurant with a fat boss. The boss turns to her and explains the difference between her fat and his. When he looks down at his fat he sees the good cheeses, vintage wines, crusty baguettes, tender pastas, rich chocolates and a myriads of other fatty and caloric food but they were good food. What do we see when we look at our bellies: potatoe chips, soda, white bread, ground beef.

Now I am not advocating eating unhealthy foods, but if we are going to indulge maybe we should treat our indulgences like we would like to be treated, well. Because in the end crap food makes us feel like crap. So I hope everyone takes a little time to make the most out of every meal for our health and happiness.

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