I created a “Rants” category for posts as soon as we put this site together, because (1) a good, solid rant is one of my favorite activities and because (2) ranting is probably the number one reason why people start blogs. Commence rant now:
We hear plenty about how Americans are tempted into “convenience foods” and fast food chains (both of which I’m firmly against, btw), but I think we don’t hear enough about how some Americans are scared away from cooking with ludicrously inflated expectations. As an example, take a look at this weekly menu – actually one for JUST SIX DAYS – that I found on a food blog. I won’t name the blog because I think it’s a perfectly good one, and I’m really just picking on it for the purpose of an example. Here is the week’s menu that they suggested:
“Grilled flank steak with salsa verde, curried cauliflower with yogurt and mint sauce, radicchio flatbreads, cumin shrimp, garbanzo salad with roasted carrots, pasta bolognese, green salad, tacos, cole slaw with cilantro, scallions and yogurt, spinach souffle, marinated broccoli salad, sliders, cole slaw”
I’m sorry. WHAT?!?!?
Looking at this menu makes me
1. Feel exhausted
2. Think about how much money all the ingredients are going to cost
3. Wonder what’s going to happen to all the leftovers
4. Want to just eat takeout kung pao for the rest of my life
Now I know that things are different when you have a family and more mouths to feed, but I do think that the idea of a “meal” requiring a meat, a starch, two vegetables, a salad, and never-ending breadsticks is too engrained in the minds of Americans. The myth that dinner must be miso-basted cod with prosecco-steamed arugula and gently-massaged new potatoes one of the many, many reasons why people don’t cook, particularly people cooking just for themselves as so many twenty-somethings are. And it’s a totally baseless one.
Sometime dinner is a simple salad with some fresh vegetables. Sometimes dinner is a simply cooked grain with some eggs. Sometimes dinner is steamed kale and popcorn. I know that kale and popcorn isn’t a glorious Meal, but it is a meal. A Meal is a fussy pain-in-the-ass. A meal is something that will fill you up; provide you with some nutrients; and doesn’t require $100, 6 hours, and a sous-vide machine. I like eating Meals and I like to cook them every now and then, but meals are what get me through the week. The sooner you start thinking about what you could throw together as a meal and stop thinking about how you can’t cook a Meal, the sooner you’ll find yourself in the kitchen more often and the happier you’ll be when you’re there.
Especially once you get rid of that sous-vide machine.
Ranting complete. You can go on about your business.