The popularity of cooking shows, the emergence of “master” chefs, celebrity chefs, wanna be chefs has become the norm in our popular culture, and I get it, I totally get it, food is delicious, what’s not to like. But, where are the shows about people who hate cooking?
As I sit here it’s lunchtime and I contemplate the possibility of of drinking two raw eggs for the protein, eating a punnet of cherry tomatoes as much for the Vit C as for the no preparation necessary, and maybe munching on some celery sticks for the fibre. It may sound healthy, albeit slightly disgusting, but that’s not why I’d do it. Every day it’s the same tiresome challenge of what to eat not just for survival, but for optimal health, to prevent illnesses and cancers, to boost energy, to reverse ageing and whatever other reasons we’re supposed to ingest food, other than for the sake of eating food itself.
I realised, when I talked myself out of buying yet another fabulous cookbook, that the thirty already sitting on my shelf only dish out confusion.
The first books I bought of course were “the basics” aka how to boil water, add salt and put a chicken in the pot. Immediately having mastered this I leapt to The French Kitchen and Chinese banquets because that is what I’d like to eat, (I never made anything from either book) Perusing my parents bookshelves I permanently borrowed the crepes and fondu collection (I made crepes). Then along came children and things had to simplify. With that came exhaustion from tending to children, and the only cookbooks able to tempt my eye involved words like “simple, easy, no fuss, 10 min, 4 ingredients”. I may have cooked a few recipes out of those.
However such cookbooks inevitably hit your self esteem, so you start reaching for the ones that have Fabulous in the title at the same time as Easy. Remember since a few more children have been added to the mix, we now want the words No Fat, Low Fat, Good Fat somewhere on the cover too. Not to mention that these books had to have pictures, otherwise how was I to trust the promise of text only delights?
Yes this is the short and sweet of my history with cooking, until that is cooking shows came along! Thank heavens for Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and the rest of the Super (food) Heroes of the culinary world! My books would be safe from any pretence that they may inspire sustenance to our home. How easy it became to watch what Jamie Oliver had to offer, dimples and all.. was anyone even hungry after watching his show? Not me. Not much. They say food goes in through the eyes first, I’d had my fill. Who knows what I cooked or what we ate, my kids and I are still alive so it must have been something.
The cooking show binge was replaced by programs like The Biggest Loser and the line of super healthy shows that made you feel guilty if you didn’t sprinkle chia or “substitute” bad carbs for good carbs and before you knew it, your pantry became a crime scene worthy of a toxicology report being written up. Don’t even get me started on Quinoa, as a Bolivian, I have complex issues with this, I’ve barely come to terms with. So.. Sugar, the new evil. Flour creating cancer. Purge your pantry, purify your pores is the mantra I interpreted from all this. Exhausting.
Into the hearty soupy mess that cooking was becoming, poured reality tv cooking shows. The wizardry of an Iron Chef took cooking to a whole new level. Not only was now cooking a meal to do with health, sustenance, avoiding cancer, allergies, religious requirements, but it was about Memories, history, your grandma’s favourite wooden spoon and .. tears.
Tears were the New and improved secret must have ingredient to cooking. If preparing a meal didn’t make you cry (even when no onions were in sight) then you were doing something wrong.
There was no love, and we can all taste love. We want the taste of love and tears along with antioxidants and good fats, thank you very much, in portion servings for a family of 4.
The innumerable cooking reality and cooking competition shows, escapes me as I tend not to watch television anymore. The food industry as brought to me by various media and I have gone through a conscious uncoupling as the food guru Gwenyth would put it. Yes we’ve uncoupled and in it’s place I’ve substituted, reconstituted my cravings for food visuals, with Instagram.
Sometimes the foodie Instagrams are of my food creations, but more often than not they are of other’s food creations, from restaurants, cafe’s, friends and family.. which I have enjoyed heartily and with much gusto!
Oprah would love this, because thanks to Instagram is when I had my very own “lightbulb moment”. I love food.. no, i LOVE food, but I hate cooking. In fact I hate food shopping, more than that, I even hate writing shopping lists. I hate the whole process of thinking about what to put on my plate and everything to do with making sure there is something on my plate. But I LOVE food! I love eating. I love savouring, devouring, ravishing, drinking, tasting… I Love Food. Beyond that, I love the food prepared, cooked by OTHERS!
I must warn you, before words like “1st world problems” are uttered, might I suggest that this is a “3rd world problem”.
See I grew up in Bolivia with wonderful women who would cook for our families and friends. I have extremely fond memories of them and can name them to the very first house cook, who cooked for us, along with their signature dish, and who to me was like a big sister.
Yes my grandmother also cooked occasionally, mainly cakes, but none of that translates to me wanting to cook to recreate the flavours or experience. My mother cooked, but badly. My aunts cooked, competitively. What this malaise does do, is make me want to eat something dished up by someone else.
So, where are the tv shows about people who simply Love eating but have no desire to cook, cry or obsess over preventing illnesses?
Because that would most certainly be my kind of show… Food as Pure Pleasure with yours truly the guest host eater!