Monday, May 6, 2013

Cooking By Numbers

Cooking is a big part of my life - it's a big part of my family's life too.  However it's amazing how much times have changed since I learned to cook up my first pikelet on Mum's old Chef stove here at Springwood when I was 9 years old.  We made them from scratch with eggs, milk, sugar and self-raising flour.  However, if you asked a young child today of the same today to help cook in the kitchen today, they'd head straight for the microwave.

Today's society has made it so that nobody can survive these days without package foods inundating our lives.  This is not a good thing and makes us very dependent on taking home excess packing home from the supermarkets.  Children today don't know where fruit and vegetables come from anymore.  And when you buy you frozen veggies, they seem to think the frozen section of the supermarket is where those veggies come from.  Now, there's people out there who will deny this, but I've heard children say this while out shopping; and have been shocked to find they don't have clue about where their food comes from exactly; not even their meat.  Sure it comes from a butcher, but before that, they don't realise it comes from a farm.

Another example I've witnessed recently, which shocked me was only a few weeks ago while I was out shopping at Coles at Logan Central.  There's a lady there, Val, who is the lady who does all the sample foods and cooking near the deli and butchers.  She runs around Coles and uses all their products to show you can make great meals at a low price by using their brochures and recipes.  It's a great way of marketing their products.  Well, on this particular shopping day of mine, she had made chicken and veal meatballs and was putting some pickles with them... people were finding them delicious!  Me? Well, I'm vegetarian, but they did smell wonderful!  Anyway, she turned to see a young man standing in front of her stall looking at the meatballs and he asked how long they took to cook, she told him about the recipe and then he asked which packet they came in.  She stood there stunned, and asked again... he asked which packet they came in.  She said none, that she had made them from the butchers and handed him the recipe.  He glanced at it and said if he had to actually handle it and it couldn't be put into the microwave it wasn't worth it.  She told me she was digusted about what he had told her, I said that's advertising for ya, it's warped people's minds and it's the reason why I don't own a microwave and never will.  Not five minutes later, I came across the same man with his girlfriend chatting a few isles over and he told her about what happened at the stall, she turned to him and said that not all things come in packets and yes, she'd have to make the meatballs by hand.  He just stared at her blankly as though he had never considered this.

Microwaves were invented a long time ago... this is fantastic.  But why?  Okay, my folks got one but we only cooked in it a few times before we realised it's not designed for cooking.  It turns things into rubber, makes eggs and baked beans explode and gives everything a horrible tasteless textureNow, we mainly use it to reheat our tea, put on a timer for cooking something in the gas oven or it just sits there keeping the time of day for us.  So, why do companies insist that it's a good thing to use to cook in?  Uncle Toby's says it's great to cook your oats in (hey, it only takes 90 seconds!) so it must be good for something like that to taste like cardboard when you've got a stove not that far away and it only takes another 2 minutes longer to cook it there.  To cook oats this way is lazy, inconvenient and causes children to not learn to cook correctly.  
I understand that times have to change.  However, when our children grow up and they go out into the world, they will have to take off the blinders and rose coloured glasses and learn to cook proper meals for themselves and not microwave everything they can lay their hands on.  For one thing, it's not healthy.  Microwaves dry out food and they remove a whole lot of nutrients from the food we need to survive.  And the sooner our children learn to cook properly, the better their survival skills for the outside world they will have.    


  1. Overcooking on the stove can loose alot of nutrient value in particular foods too!

    1. Part of learning to cook is also knowing how to cook vegetables, meats and other things properly on the stove. The microwave isn't the only thing in the kitchen to use... and as I said, a lot of foods turn tasteless in it when it's used.