Living In Convenience
When the ‘easy way’ wins, we all lose.
Every day, millions of people all over the world choose to eat fast food over a home-cooked meal. The reliance on ‘quick’ meal options has grown steadily, and far from being healthy choices, this has led to an increase in obesity and the overall unhealthiness of our society. Beyond this, we are at risk of losing the enjoyment and beauty that comes from cooking real food.
There is no question that cooking good food takes time. When is the last time you cooked a meal for your family, using real food and fresh ingredients, and were able to serve them in under two minutes? I think we can all agree, that this would be an impossibility. Yet, nobody seems to complain when they frequent a fast food restaurant and purchase an entire meal that arrives within minutes. In fact, people complain when their food isn’t ready quickly.
Consider what you’re eating, and then, consider what you would have to do to recreate that meal. It would take you significantly longer to cook a hamburger and fries, for example, and yet, people simply accept the fact that their food has been pre-processed, pre-cooked, and pre-heated, so that it can be ready for when they make it to the front of the line.
The lure of convenience has converted millions of people into an almost Orwellian group of fast food automatons. Consistently standing in line, complacent and obedient, and accepting of the factory-made meal being provided by a multi-billion dollar corporation. Constantly looking to reduce costs and improve profits, these mega-corporations are not looking to improve the quality or taste of their food, but rather, find what food people will accept, at the smallest cost to produce.
Considering the number of fast-food options available to us, the pull is hard to escape. We are easily tempted to gobble up the simple option of drive thru, when faced with the fact that we may have to spend time cooking and preparing a proper meal.
Memories start with great food.
Food creates memories. Gathering with friends and family, sharing in the preparation process, and sitting around the table, talking and socializing, make for a perfect memory. If you ever doubt this fact, consider the last time you were at a fast food restaurant. What memories do you have of that?
It has been said time and time again, by experts and others, how we should all try to make better choices when it comes to the food we eat. Beyond that, what people don’t seem to talk about are the many benefits of the social aspect of food. (Sorry, Foodies. We’re not talking about visiting the newest “hot spot” restaurant, or that chic new bar downtown. This is more about food as a life-improving journey, not simply a trendy destination.)
As a society, we should not trivialize the positive impact of cooking good food. Skipping the convenience of consistently dining on fast food, in favour of choosing healthy cooking not only creates healthy changes in our attitude and body composition, but the social aspect of cooking improves our overall well-being.
Certainly, there are times in life when fast food can be important. Having easy access to food, when your schedule simply does not afford you the time to eat, can be better than going hungry, however, we seem to have set aside making the time to create a meal in favour of the quick fix. If we can make the change, and instead, set aside the time to cook, to enjoy, and to be involved with our food, then we will be on a better, healthier path.
As John Lennon wrote, “Love is all you need.”
There is no question that there is an art to cooking. From the simplest of meals, to the most complex food preparation, there is delicious beauty in every action when preparing food.
Whether you’re chopping crisp vegetables on a wooden cutting board, placing a thick, porterhouse steak to sear on a well-oiled grill, or dispensing fresh penne pasta into a pot of boiling, salted water, there are sights, sounds and smells which are, in their own way, art. The changing colour of fresh bell peppers as their skins soften under a broiler, the sizzle and pop of the meat as it cooks, and the smell of home-made pasta sauce simmering in a pot… …each example can make for a great memory, and one you can call upon when you want to remember a simpler time.
For each time that you cook something, you’re putting a part of your soul into every action. Even if you’re not feeling it, you are. You’re consciously making an effort to build something special, whether you know it or not. It may be for your own enjoyment, or for a family meal. Either way, the art of creating something takes time, skill and patience.
There is something cathartic about cooking, and when you become aware of the feeling, it can grow even stronger. This is a result of the feeling of inner pride, and brought on by stimulation of the senses. You can argue that it’s hard to feel inner pride when you’re cooking up a grilled cheese sandwich, but I disagree! (As you may be able to tell, I’ve made some pretty delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.)
Cooking real food – for yourself and others – is art. It should be enjoyed and shared as much as possible, as life is simply to short to be stuck in the drive-thru.
Editor’s Note: I can’t recall any “memory” made while waiting in line at a drive-thru fast food restaurant, unless you call kids fighting in the back seat a “You two stop it right now, don’t make me come back there – I will turn this car around!” moment. If you do, well, I guess that counts. Happy Holidays!