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February 18, 2021

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But the actual skill set of buying ingredients and making a palatable meal out of them is not that hard to acquire.

My son started making two types of meals for himself at around the age of seven: boiled spaghetti with garlic butter was one; baked chicken with baked potatoes was the other. I'm pretty sure my memory is accurate on that, though from this vantage point I wonder if I wasn't the one who poured the boiling water off the spaghetti for him.

This came about in part because he was a big eater, and I didn't cook meals often enough for him. By the time he was nearing his teens he could polish off a pound (uncooked) of spaghetti as a sort of quick snack between proper meals.

He wasn't big on vegies...which was a problem, but not a hard one to solve. Lots of vegies are as easy to boil briefly as spaghetti, and even easier to eat raw.

The point is, putting together a basic, decent meal isn't all that hard. Some people aren't used to seeing it done, and/or don't do it -- as Snarki's story illustrates -- but that doesn't mean it isn't pretty easy to learn.

Was there a shop class at any level in your district?

yeah. but that was in HS.

i learned how to fix a lamp - something i have done a few times!

i don't know if HomeEc is still a requirement. it was like ~35 years ago when i had to take it.

could be, like wj said, phased out for more test prep.

In order to cook at home you also need to have working appliances, cookware, and a store with fresh ingredients close enough to make cooking feasible (which is challenging if one is working three part time gig jobs to make enough to pay for basics and for the benefits that you have to cover on your own.)

Urban areas have food deserts and cheap apartments often have only rudimentary kitchens.

Those things are also obstacles.

Received my initial Moderna Covid-19 vaccination today.

Via Kaiser. Briskly efficient and a relief.

Second shot April 2.

One side effect is that I temporarily feel more bi-partisan and would like to announce that Governor Cuomo of New York must immediately step down from the Governorship and then jump headfirst off the Brooklyn Bridge.

Those things are also obstacles.

Here's another: There is a subset of ideologues who claim that large swaths of the population want to be poor.

WalMart-industrial retailing + industrialized agriculture: The overlap of the venn diagram of true believers in "free enterprise" and rural types who lament the loss of the "small town way of life" is surprisingly large. Hard to believe, I know.

The pillow I sewed was a skateboard. Boys and girls both took shop and home ec in my school in AZ in 7th and 8th grade. In HS in NJ, those were both purely elective and anyone could take them. For me, all that history started in 1980. I liked the cooking part of home ec because we got to eat. I already knew how to cook, though.

Governor Cuomo of New York must immediately step down from the Governorship and then jump headfirst off the Brooklyn Bridge.

Y U want to pollute waterways???? That's what landfills are for!

In HS, it was just cooking AFAIK, rather than the full home ec, and there was a good mix of boys and girls - because food. There was metal and wood shop, which were de facto (almost?) entirely male, not by rule.

The only electives I recall taking in HS were typing, art, Latin, and computers. Don't be impressed by Latin. It was a go-at-your-own pace class for people who didn't need the credits.

yeah, turns out Cuomo sucks. oh well.

The overlap of the venn diagram of true believers in "free enterprise" and rural types who lament the loss of the "small town way of life" is surprisingly large.

Jesus and his invisible hand want ownership to consolidate in the hands of the very few. too many shopkeepers spoils the town. everyone who isn't a commie knows that.

yeah, turns out Cuomo sucks. oh well.

That Cuomo sucks has been the take amongst lefties for more than a few years. But maybe we just made a lucky guess.

i'm sure y'all predicted this current situation.

It's funny. I saw a headline a couple days ago from Faux News about Trevor Noah "changing his tune" (or something to that effect) on Cuomo. You either get criticized for not coming down hard enough on one of the people on "your side," or you get criticized for changing your position. The only way to avoid such criticism is never to say anything good about a Democrat.

The only way to avoid such criticism is never to say anything good about a Democrat.

opposition's gotta oppose.

Urban areas have food deserts and cheap apartments often have only rudimentary kitchens.

Those things are also obstacles.

Absolutely, but I think the former is a much bigger problem than the latter. The former is systemic and (as this discussion keeps hitting on) in some sense deliberately created, and it would require a massive set of systemic changes and the political will to remedy.

As for the latter, it's possible to cook pretty well with only a rudimentary kitchen. (Depending, obviously, on what you mean by rudimentary.) I've cooked plain but decent meals with only a pot, a spoon, and a campstove, for weeks at a time. But even that relied on access once a week or so to an actual grocery store.

one fun thing about cooking videos is seeing a lot of the Asian chefs do everything on a single induction burner - or sometimes on a single flame burner with a little butane tank attached - a camp stove, basically. that's all they have in their apartments.

one fun thing about cooking videos is seeing a lot of the Asian chefs do everything on a single induction burner - or sometimes on a single flame burner with a little butane tank attached - a camp stove, basically.

Best food ever is Chinese breakfast food cooked outside with one chef/one burner/long line. Yum.

That said, cooking is intimidating for a lot of people, and as JanieM said, ingredients are key. It's easy for me to cook because I've done it all my adult (and teenage) life - it was an inherited habit, and nutritional consciousness is second nature. I've travelled a lot and love all kinds of food. I have no food allergies. I've never been without good sources of food, or money to buy food (except for maybe a very brief time in college, when my parents would have helped if I'd told them). In other words, I am supremely privileged. Some folks have little access, time to learn, or experience. It's great that people are out there trying to change that.

Sorry - revision to previous comment: There's no best food ever. Vietnamese breakfast of pho and other soups - maybe that's best. Or maybe a good ole southern breakfast. Or Ukrainian borscht. Delicious food is a gift - so necessary, so various, so divine.

If you want to talk about urban areas and food, take a look at what Ron Finley does

https://ronfinley.com/

https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-07-10/gardening-with-gangsta-gardener-and-masterclass-teacher-ron-finley

I don't know why people constantly return to this idea that there is one thing to do to fix things and feel vindication when they find that the one thing doesn't solve the problem. It must be sad to live with such a cramped, narrow viewpoint of how the world works.

Porridge* is the best non-leisurely breakfast, and one of the few things which cook perfectly well in a microwave.

*I used to work a few days a year on the East Coast. And the floor canteen served porridge, except that no one knew what I meant when I asked for it. Eventually I learned to say "oatmeal" instead.

@Pro Bono: Heh. For a lot of my life I thought "porridge" was some kind of thin soup, not cereal. I'm sure that was because I only ever encountered the word in books, and the books (Dickens, let's say) assumed everyone knew what it meant. :-)

And I, for my part, assumed I knew what it meant from context, and didn't look it up. Which is weird, because I wore out a dictionary looking things up when I was twelve or so.

And to compound the possible misunderstandings, most people don't know that "gruel", as referenced in almost all pre 19th or 20th century literature, is actually very, very runny porridge!

The higher-priced spread goes on strike.

"Even at room temperature, some Canadians claim, their butter now won't soften and spread. And, like a nation of Connor Roys, Canadians are waving their hands and dropping F-bombs as they attempt to get to the bottom of the problem, which they've dubbed "Buttergate."

The first to point out the problem was Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of Dalhousie University's Agri-Food Analytics Lab, who tweeted about hard butter in December. Then, last month, popular Canadian food author and columnist Julie Van Rosendaal also suggested something is amiss with Canada's butter. She speculated the country's now unspreadably hard butter could be the result of tariff changes or changed farming practices."
Hard Butter Mystery Riles Canada: Is it the cow feed? Dairy regulations? A mass delusion?

You guys are lucky. Over here 'porridge' is known as "Haferschleim" (oat slime).

To reduce the slime effect I bring the water to a boil before adding the oats.

I grew up on good old Quaker Oats, which are rolled if I’m not mistaken.

In adulthood, I discovered steel cut, specifically McCann’s, which were a revelation, an ‘aha’ moment.

You can’t be in a hurry, but if you have the time, it’s worth the wait.

Hard Butter Mystery Riles Canada: Is it the cow feed? Dairy regulations? A mass delusion?

Have they considered the possibility that it’s freaking cold in Canada?

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