When you argue, as I frequently do, that cooking has the potential to help us deal with many of our dietary problems, you often elicit a kind of “I don’t care, I hate cooking” response in addition to the expected “I don’t have time.” And that’s fine; cooking isn’t the only route to eating better, and besides, those who hate cooking, or can’t make the time for it, may be lucky enough to have someone else cook for them. As long as they wash the dishes.
But it pays to remember that it’s been 40 years or more since cooking went out of style for most Americans, and that a positive approach to it — one that encourages cooking and counters the ongoing marketing surge that helped make it seem so “unnecessary” — could help to change matters. And although that kind of approach can be effective with anyone (I’m constantly meeting people who began cooking in their 30s and 40s, for example), it’s bound to be most effective with kids, who haven’t yet been fully brainwashed to believe that there are better ways to spend their time than cooking — like watching television, for example!
Children are probably more likely to develop healthier eating habits if their parents cook, and there are countless reasons it pays to cook for your kids, though for the moment I’ll leave that argument to others. It’s also true that one of the few benefits of food television has been to increase kids’ interest in food and even in cooking, and I frequently meet 7- and 10-year-olds who actually spend time in the kitchen, with or without their parents. But food TV rarely provides direct cooking instructions; watching cooking has become hip, but actually cooking has a long way to go.
Enter ChopChop, a magazine founded in 2010 by the Boston-area food writer Sally Sampson, which bills itself as “The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families,” but is clearly aimed at kids. Last week, ChopChop was named “publication of the year” by the James Beard Foundation. It would have gotten my vote; it glorifies simple food and the ease with which it can be prepared.
Click here to read full article.
(published in the New York Times, May 7, 2013)