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Monday, November 03, 2003
Home cooking...

... there's nothing like it.

Once upon a time, there was a Bloom County strip that talked about the top 3 fast food chains battle over who made the best burger (At the time, the top 3 was McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's - this was 1983). The strip featured a taste test between the burgers, and after quickly consuming them, the panelists were asked what they preferred the most - an emphatic HOME COOKING was yelled out, and those 3 were gone from the last panel. Opus (the penguin, who was labeled 'whomever' in the strip because I don't think he formally had a name then) was left asking for another, extra preservatives.

That's still representative of the population out there, I think. At least it is in my world. I know many people who live for those catering trucks, or eat at fast food outlets every single day.

I don't know how thier digestive systems handle it. Do they live to pop Maalox or Tums or Zantac at every meal? We're talking healthy 20-35 year olds here. Or am I the exception that lives for a good home cooked meal (or at least non-fast food options for lunch) in my age range?

Yesterday I had company (a friend of DH's who is going through a messy divorce, and his two small children) over, and I ended up inviting them for dinner. I was planning on making homemade chicken and dumplings, and I always have more than enough when I made that stuff. We're talking leftovers for days (which makes everyone in the house happy). This wasn't the case last night, as people were inhaling the food. DH's friend had thirds, I think. Even A, who we have to cajole to even try a piece of the chicken, had seconds. B inhaled two servings of it - which is normal for her.

I think the meal was most appreciated because DH's friend hasn't had a good "home cooked" meal in a long time. Mention of finding good quick microwave cookbooks was made as he perused my very messy cookbook shelf that is filled with a black book of my recipes (a 4" thick binder), a Campbell's cookbook, and at least 5 tomes on the chemistry of cooking and why things work. I'm a big believer in cooking from scratch, as it's very zen to me. It's almost as calming as my stitching.

Almost. I can get out more frustrations in annhiliating an onion than I can working a perfect (and complicated) interlaced double hemstitch. For the former I can hack away with a cleaver and yell while I do so; the latter requires to me sit very still, use all of my concentration, and make very precise movements. Which means the stitching has to be done after the kids are either outside playing, or up in bed, because I cannot make those precise movements with them running and fighting around me. *grin*

But I digress. This is about home cooking... which I think is rapidly becoming a lost art. With so many restaurants willing to do take out, and so many fast food outlets trying to portray themselves as healthy, it's a wonder anyone even requires a stove in thier homes/apartments anymore. If people keep neglecting thier cooking skills (even the most simple ones like boiling water for pasta), who is going to know anything beyond pulling the tab on the plastic can of soup to toss it in the microwave? I can see Corelle, Calphalon, and Waterford all groaning at the idea that thier beautiful and functional wares will be no longer needed because of the fast food outlets going 'healthy'.

Take KFC, for example - they're trying to appeal to those on the low carb/high protein (read: Atkins) diets. Their new ad campaign is about people eating healthier - and one of the prime ways to do it is to get a bucket of thier grease laden fried chicken parts.

And McDonald's new ads - I'm loving it! Loving what? The fact that I can actually get a salad from you, that's supposedly healthy, but is laden with sodium? And don't let those healthy chicken sandwiches from Burger King pull you in either - they may have only 5 grams of fat (and are very yummy, btw), but they're overloaded with sodium - a very bad choice for anyone who is watching thier blood pressure. Which I'm not, but it *is* starting to rise with all these ads trying to convince people that thier food is healthy...

...when really, the only healthy thing about them is the budget they had to put them together.