Last week was a good week in our household. My mom came to visit so that meant there would be home-cooked meals on the table every night for my kids, meals I wouldn’t feel pressured to prepare. (The photo is one meal my mom whipped together, a Greek-Turkish meat filo pie.)
The idea of regularly preparing a healthy dinner for the family can cause stress in my life. It’s hard to work a full day and then whip up something everyone will eat that’s also good for us all. And ordering take-out food can sometimes feels like a foodie fail!
Turns out, I’m not alone.
A new study from the North Carolina State University, titled The Joy of Cooking? shows that “home cooking and family meals place significant stresses on many families – and are simply impossible for others.”
“In the fight to combat rising obesity rates,” the authors point out, “modern-day food gurus advocate a return to the kitchen.” But the message from the likes of The Omnivore’s Dilemma author Michael Pollan, the New York Times food writer Mark Bittman, the Food Network’s Rachel Ray, and even first lady Michele Obama, may be misguided, the study found.
The authors of the study:
offer a critique of the increasingly prevalent message that reforming the food system necessarily entails a return to the kitchen. They argue that time pressures, tradeoffs to save money, and the burden of pleasing others make it difficult for mothers to enact the idealized vision of home-cooked meals advocated by foodies and public health officials.
Indeed, some nights I can’t muster the energy to kick off my work shoes and become a barefoot short-order cook, let alone a barefoot contessa!
The findings of the Joy of Cooking? study uncovered this reality. (more…)