Recently I read a response that a famous food personality had to the aggressive criticism of what is arguable to the worst food show on TV. She said that people who expect American households to cook with real, whole, unprocessed ingredients just don’t understand how real US households function, that it isn’t realistic to expect people to cook food that isn’t mostly can-and-box, defrost-and-feed type food.
I can’t underscore enough how much I not only disagree with this mentality, but how that line of thinking devalues food and the abilities of working America. I grew up in a family of ten, a family that was pay check to pay check on our best months, I’m not naive to what American households face when it comes to limited time and money.
I also have more faith in America, in food, and the resources we all have access to that can empower people to cook for their families in ways that don’t necessitate can openers and microwaves. The mentality that the best we can do is a jazzed up Hungry Man and a can of apple pie filling in the middle of a pre-made cake is demeaning. We can do better, regardless of budget. Corn is inexpensive, it’s easy to grow herbs in even the windowsill of an apartment, and inexpensive meat like chicken thighs have more flavor than their light meat counterparts. We can buy vegetables in season, when they are the least expensive, and freeze batches for months. We have options and abilities that extent far past what may be expected of us. Some of the best food I’ve ever had was handmade food in the poorest parts of the world, made with simple, inexpensive ingredients. America isn’t old enough to have a rich culinary history, but it isn’t too late to start building one that doesn’t begin with yelling a food order out of a car window into a metal speaker.
We can do this, I have faith in us.