The Culture in Kitchens

G. Murphy Donovan (November 2012)

civility and civilization.

The day that food sharing moved beyond the immediate family was surely the beginning of a village. The day when a family produced an extra piglet or an extra baguette was surely the beginning of bacon and bakeries. Villages and markets grew to become centers of culture that we now know as places like Athens, Rome, Paris, London, and the Jersey Shore.

Ironically, most of the alternatives to eating at home are pretty grim: grazing, takeout, or off-ramp tramping.

The scientific causes for obese, dull, or obnoxious kids are surely complicated. Yet, empiricism has yet to rule out environmental factors like poor parenting and bad nutrition. Indeed, each may be two sides of the same cookie. The idea, that bad nutrition and poor socialization are unrelated to much of the pathology that afflicts children today, is an illusion.

There are probably a dozen or more reasons why we believe we can not cook for, or eat with, our families. Yet, none of the excuses are as persuasive as the common sense for dining at home: economy, health, and education.

A single 20lb sack of rice is a testimony to the economics of home cooking. This ten dollar investment provides 220 servings at a nickel a portion. Chicken might be had at the same store for as little as .99 cents a pound. A chicken (8oz portion) and rice dinner, at home, costs .55 cents. If you boil the bird, you have the makings of soup. Throw in a vegetable and fruit for dessert and you have a five course meal for less than a US dollar.

See those beautiful, healthy bodies on magazine covers at the supermarket checkout line? With a little carotene and roughage, that could be your family.

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