Cooking Coaches

Sometimes I fantasize about Mark Bittman coming over to my house for dinner. I’d cook as I usually do, but Mark might interject with suggestions to improve my technique, change up the flavors, or something similar.

When I read Michael Pollan write about how people don’t cook anymore, it occurs to me that other people might benefit too—people who don’t know that you can make pasta sauce in the time it takes to boil water for pasta, for example.

As we’ve all been deskilled by the consumption industry, maybe we need cooking coaches to get us back on track.

2 thoughts on “Cooking Coaches

  1. I think cooking coaches are a good idea. I did learn some cooking from my mother, but all my perspectives on how to do things are either hers or non-existent. It would be good to get some additional perspectives on how to do things, as well as de-mystifying foods she never taught me.

    I feel similarly about simple mending jobs, especially on clothes. I was astounded to learn, back in college, that one student of my acquaintance paid for a dry-cleaning shop to sew buttons back on his shirts. (I couldn’t even have afforded the dry-cleaning, let alone paying someone to mend my clothes). When I told a prof about that, he admitted that his drycleaning shop sewed his buttons back on, too, but they used only white thread, and he colored it with permanent marker to get the thread to match his shirts.

    The de-skilling forces us to make bad tradeoffs like that. And, of course, it leads to a fundamentally less sustainable lifestyle. A culture in which a lot of people buy new clothes constantly is one in which people don’t mend clothes. Even good will won’t take clothes that have to be mended…



  2. I totally agree with you. There is a movement to eat only what you cook yourself. That alone should make people thinner. My legs were killing me this weekend from running up and down the stairs doing chores and standing in the kitchen to make a soup and bread pudding from almost scratch. (Bought the bread and ground pork vs baking and grinding my own stuff. Is that ok?)

    At the same time, it was a very satisfying meal because we bought food at the local farmer’s market and tried out our new stove and oven. It felt really good to make a meal that is a win-win for two courses and know I can add the dishes to our menu rotation.


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