On the menu of entertainment, food never has been bigger. This may be, in fact, the most food-obsessed generation ever.
Every cable television program that isn’t about housewives screeching at each other seems to be about cooks competing with each other or demonstrating how easy it is to make coq au vin in 30 minutes or less, including time out for commercials. Food-related movies such as “Ratatouille,” “Chocolat” and “Julie & Julia” have been big hits. A recent search for “cookbook” on Amazon turned up 89,452 choices.
But with all this focus on food, I keep wondering if people really are spending more time over a hot stove or if cooking merely has become just another spectator sport.
At our house, for instance, we have a majority of those 89,452 cookbooks, cupboards full of kitchen gadgets and a new professional-looking gas range. Despite all that, we seem to spend a lot more time watching food being prepared on television than we actually spend preparing it.
Partly this is because my wife and I disagree about the term “horrible mess.” Her definition of “horrible mess” includes any spot on top of the professional-looking gas range that can be seen with a microscope. I figure no mess is worth worrying about unless it requires attention from a hazmat squad.
“You have to break an egg to make an omelet,” I frequently point out to her.
“Maybe so,” she’ll reply. “But the kitchen floor doesn’t need to wind up knee deep in broken egg shells.”
Sometimes she’ll encourage me to cook out, but only if the grill is at least 50 yards away from the kitchen. So our weekly dinner menu generally consists of three nights eating out, two nights carrying in, one night of pizza delivery and one night eating leftovers from the eating out, carrying in and delivery.
Even on the rare occasions I think I might have an opportunity to cook I don’t get a whole lot of support from the rest of my family.
Recently for instance, my son, his wife and their two kids said they were coming to town for the weekend and I assumed they’d want to enjoy some of grandpa’s home cooking. I figured I’d make my famous pasta with Bolognese sauce, paprika chicken, or osso buco. So I sent them an email asking what they’d like to have.
My son sent me a list by return email. It consisted of Donato’s pizza, Skyline chili and Frisch’s Big Boys.
So now I’m thinking that maybe we should sell the cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and professional-looking gas range. With the proceeds we could have a drive-through window installed on the side of our house for the pizza delivery guy to use.
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