Michelle, It’s Not Just About the Garden

It really is great that Michelle Obama is growing an organic vegetable garden at the White House. She’s sending a great signal about buying locally to eat healthfully.

But, she’s not going far enough:

However, when The Washington Post asked Mrs. Obama for her favorite recipe, she replied, “You know, cooking isn’t one of my huge things.” And last month, when a boy who was visiting the White House asked her if she liked to cook, she replied: “I don’t miss cooking. I’m just fine with other people cooking.” Though delivered lightheartedly, and by someone with a very busy schedule, the message was unmistakable: everyday cooking is a chore.

Cooking is a chore? Sadly, for most people, it is. To those, cooking it much like sweeping or washing dishes — an annoying task that must be completed to maintain a household.

It’s a shame that prepared and packaged meals have taken the place of real cooking in too many American homes.

As we lost our skills at the stove, we also lost something less tangible but no less important: the opportunity to spend time together in the kitchen, talking and cooking.

Indeed. One of the most pleasurable things in life for me is to cook for others. It gives me a creative outlet, lets me explore new things, and shows my family and friends that I like them and want then to be happy when they are in my home. It’s something of a catharsis after spending an irritating day at work. I can think of few things better than preparing a meal while having a glass of wine with my friends and family.

An added bonus is that cooking at home gives me the ability to control my food in order to make it more tasty and healthy (I’m starting to put ground carrots into most everything I cook, as the carrots don’t seem to change the flavor of most dishes, but that addition makes my dishes more healthful.

Getting away from fast food and processed food is an admirable goal, but it would be made better if the art of cooking were seen as the next step that will help people live happier lives.

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4 responses to “Michelle, It’s Not Just About the Garden

  1. To cook your own food gives one control over food intake..many young people in N.A. have never learned to cook and I even see many of my friends from south east asia under the age of 30 never learn to cook either.At least the Obama family in the White House have given national coverage to organic gardens…..but Michelle should take a cooking course one day…she might enjoy it.lol

  2. Hey, when they’re done being the First Family Barack can learn to cook if Michelle doesn’t enjoy it. Speaking for myself, I haven’t really liked cooking on a day to day basis since I was thirty at the most. That’s almost thirty years ago. I just got worn down, I think. Who doesn’t like what, who has decide he/she is allergic to what, who’s on a new fad diet, this one is a vegetarian this month, that one eats meat but not the kind you’re cooking that night. What was a favorite meal last month brings on and “Eeew” this month. And so on. Having two kids and a husband to deal with might be why Michelle doesn’t miss it. I don’t blame her.

  3. Who, yep. I find it sad how many North Americans refuse to cook and if they do cook, it’s a chore when it should be a joy. If young people in Southeast Asia are giving up cooking as well, I don’t think it bodes well for future obesity rates and health problems there.

    Zen, point taken. As First Lady, Michelle does and should have chefs at her disposal (I wonder how much her mother cooks in the White House). And I can also see Barack taking up cooking when out of the WH and needs to find new ways to spend his time.

    But, I thought that part of the point of Michelle’s garden was to encourage healthier eating. If people control the ingredients they put into their food, they are more likely to eat healthfully. Maybe once the veggies from her garden are ripe, she can have some high-profile visits from talented chefs who speak about the benefits of cooking at home? Or something?

  4. I know and for some people it’s a pleasure and a creative outlet. I’d guess that about half of those people don’t have to cook for a whole family every single night and plan 21 different meals a week for kids who mostly say, “Yeccch” in response to what’s served. To those who do and still enjoy it, I salute you. It’s just Mr. Yenta and me for most meals now, but between what he’s not allowed to eat – which includes such things as leafy greens – for a variety of reasons, and dragging my tired butt home at the end of the day, I’d be fine with never seeing the inside of a kitchen again. Sorry. That’s just me. And most – but not all – the women I know who’ve been doing it for a lifetime.

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