Cooking | past and Present
To some the task of making a meal has become something we rush or rely on others to create for us. Modern times see more merit in material things and less appreciation of living things. When did we start to abandon our skills in the kitchen? At what decade did our kitchens begin to shrink, yet the amount of gadgets to fill them are still infinite? And why are we so infatuated with cooking shows when we rarely use that knowledge or skill in action?
"At a certain point in the late middle of my life I made the unexpected but happy discovery that the answer to several of the questions that most occupied me was in fact one and the same. Cook." Michael Pollan
It's not that we have become bored of food, after all it is thrown at us in the form of television ads and reality shows, grocery specials and online shopping. If anything we're still connected, but the way in which we are connected has changed significantly.
I was fortunate to grow up with people who cooked and cooked well. The art was passed on from generations and, up until recently, that was pretty normal. Sometime in my late 20s I experienced seeing and hearing how others were devoid of basic food skills. I was appalled, flabbergasted and really disheartened. When you know how to do something it's easy to forget that everyone else might not. In a changing society, more influence in career meant our priorities changed with more hours at work and less hours preparing meals. It's not that I don't get our inflicted society of fast-paced and grueling work schedules. Who would have the time to cook after working an 8-10 hour day, getting stuck in traffic and then collapsing at home only to find you have to cook dinner? I've been there and I really do get that.
But. (And it's a big but)
We all need to eat, and if we don't eat well we won't be able to live well. This means less dependence on fast, ultra-processed food and back to basics with responsible eating and feeding. Food isn't just something we eat - it's a journey of skill and supporting something nourishing to ourselves and others.
In the calculus of economics, doing so may not always be the most efficient use of the amateur cook's time, but in the calculus of human emotion, it is beautiful even so. For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love? So let's begin. Michael Pollan
Something changed when I moved from America to the United Kingdom. I grew up with so much choice in fast food and easy, microwavable meals in the States - you don't really think much of it, even if you know how to cook and do it often. In Europe there was less of that, a smaller presence of cheap fast food and takeaways, albeit it's now catching up and growing steadily. I was proud of the variety of fresh, clean food I had access to in the UK, but I was still aware of the need for people to cook more and to understand the importance.
This past month I watched a brilliant documentary on Netflix called Cooked by Michael Pollan. In this four part series covering fire, water, air and earth, Pollan talks about the history of food preparation and highlights why we've lost some of our meaningful and traditional connections with food. The whole series fascinated me and only made my passion bloom further for sharing cooking and food education.
I've now ordered Michael's book of the same name and am excited to uncover this culinary journey and hopefully will use its insight to inspire others to get back into the kitchen, gain back nourishing foods and feel more alive - more resourceful. I highly recommend you check out the Netflix series and the book. Trailer is below - I've watched it so many times and every time I have this 'YES' moment. I truly hope that resonates with some of you.
I'm on a quest to bring us back to our roots in doing more cooking and food preparation. I started my business Kindred Suppers because I not only do I know how to cook, but I absolutely love doing it and am well aware others aren't so motivated or lucky. It's also very difficult when there is a lack of interest or awareness. What makes people give up on this skill, and how do you reignite something that you feel is important for all of us? Cooking has become a dying art, and I suppose you could say I've got a long, hard fight ahead of me, but if we didn't fight for what we thought was right, we wouldn't know the true sense of the word passion. Food belongs in our lives and I hope it will always be there to stay.
Can't cook you say? Not interested? Yes, there will be many of you that say that, but any small step forward is better than two steps backward. The challenges we face are in the distance we've made between physical interaction between food in its raw state and the journey it makes to our plate. There are many children who are oblivious how to 'open' an egg or how a potato grows! This breaks my heart - in some countries this sort of knowledge is crucial to survival and familial traditions.
Whatever your journey or relationship with food, we invite you to our table. Our first and foremost objective is to create and inspire so that you can use these skills often and well. Perhaps today is your day.
More information on our workshops and supper clubs is available by clicking on our Events tab. Join our Food Sharing Revolution - eat better food, be inspired to cook more and nourish your roots.