I just don’t get it. My girlfriend is so hooked on the cooking shows and watches them as if they were huge events. Top Chef, Chopped, Next Food Network Star, 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray, etc, etc. I find them so boring, and every night I take a stand trying to watch sports games, or Entourage, or anything but the cooking shows.
Recently, I saw an article* that brought to light our fascination with cooking shows and how they are hurting America. Of course, I jumped at the article and was itching to triumphantly share it with my soon-to-be defeated girlfriend. But after reading the article, I realized…it wasn’t so much taking shots at the cooking shows as it was taking shots at all those people who don’t know how to cook. That would be me. I don’t know how to cook. The article strongly suggested that by my lacking that skill, I’m slowly but surely losing my humanity.
This notion supports what I try to express in my Yoga + Chocolate and Yoga + Wine workshops. When we spend so much time in front of the gadgets (whether they be the TV, computer, or cell phone), our minds become over-stimulated and our senses begin to atrophy. A huge part of cooking is the sensory ecstasy of the spices and sauces pushing your thoughts and worries aside and drawing you into the moment (or so I’ve heard). So many days go by in this crazed Information Age where we lack even a single moment of sensory pleasure. Sometimes all it takes is one amazing moment to make your day just right.
So I’ve decided to start cooking. And if you’re like me and don’t cook, following are 3 reasons that might convince you how learning to cook can save your humanity:
1. People Who Cook are Healthier
Think about it. In the old days, when there were no processed foods, one could only eat what they could create with their hands. It would have been very complex to create a Twinkie from scratch. Nowadays, we can purchase countless ready-to-eat treats that require 30 seconds to heat in the microwave. And God knows what’s inside of those treats. The science shows that by taking the time to create what we eat, we will be healthier. Consider this: “Poor women who routinely cooked were more likely to eat a more healthful diet than well-to-do women who did not.” *
2. People Who Cook Have a Healthy Sense of “Time”
People are spending significantly less time in the kitchen today than we did in the past. In face, today the average American spends 27 minutes a day on food prep. That’s less than half of what we spent per day in 1963.* Why? We’re busy and if you’re halfway normal, you probably feel like you lack the time to cook. I once read that meditation creates more time than it takes. And I’d venture to say cooking has the same effect. The yogis teach that with love, you can bend and shape time to your liking. Rumi put it perfectly: “Come out of the circle of time and into the circle of love.” So if you never feel like you have enough time, I encourage you to embrace the magic potion known as “love” and all the passions and gateways that get you there…particularly cooking. When love takes precedent over work, the paradigm flips. And time is less an angry master demanding our every second…and more a joyful friend eager to please.
3. Cooking Gave Us Our Humanity, Not Cooking Might Take It Away
When our ancient ancestors learned to work with food and fire, they diminished the time needed to chew raw meat and vegetables… while also unlocking certain nutrients from cooked foods. Their brains got bigger and their intestines got smaller.* And they became human. In the modern day, as less and less humans are cooking, more and more humans are becoming obese, lazy slobs. Our brains are getting smaller and our bellies are getting bigger. Might we be reverting to our more primitive selves? Next time you see someone (it might be me) porking out on processed foods, and vegging out in front of the TV, you just might be seeing a future human being…something akin to our animalistic monkey relatives of the distant past. It’s not too late to get our butts in the kitchen and save our humanity.
As I try to emphasize in my book, sometimes there are remarkably simple solutions to seemingly impossible problems. I just didn’t realize cooking was one of them.
Imbarueri Maurício Pereira
Talk of the Town Jack Johnson & Kawika Kahiapo
She’s Gone Bob Marley & The Wailers
Turnin Me On Keri Hilson & Lil Wayne
HOME E DWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS
Empty Pages Traffic
Lately The Helio Sequence
Seven Nation Army The White Stripes
Hot August Evening Biscuit Burners
Message from Your Heart (Doritos Mix) Kina Grannis
Broken Afternoon The Helio Sequence
*Inspired by and all stats taken from “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch” (NY Times, 8-2-09)