Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dammit, Michelle, get in the kitchen

Posted By on Sun, May 31, 2009 at 4:03 PM

A New York Times staffer, Amanda Hesser, thinks it's dandy that Michelle Obama planted an organic garden but she wants Michelle to get more savvy about cooking:

When The Washington Post asked Mrs. Obama for her favorite recipe, she replied, “You know, cooking isn’t one of my huge things.” And last month, when a boy who was visiting the White House asked her if she liked to cook, she replied: “I don’t miss cooking. I’m just fine with other people cooking.” Though delivered lightheartedly, and by someone with a very busy schedule, the message was unmistakable: everyday cooking is a chore.

Both times Mrs. Obama missed a great opportunity to get people talking about a crucial yet neglected aspect of the food discussion: cooking. Because terrific local ingredients aren’t much use if people are cooking less and less; cooking is to gardening what parenting is to childbirth. Research by the NPD Group showed that Americans ate takeout meals an average of 125 times a year in 2008, up from 72 a year in 1983. And a recent U.C.L.A. study of 32 working families found that the subjects viewed cooking from scratch as a kind of rarefied hobby.

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