(image: flikr, citymama)

(image: flikr, citymama)

In his August 2 article, in the NY Times Sunday Magazine, “Out of the Kitchen onto the Couch“, Michael Pollan looks at the relationship between time spent cooking and obesity.  He begins with Julia Child‘s remarkable ability to encourage women to challenge their cooking skills and leave their fears behind.  She cooked from scratch and her audience dared to do the same.  Her love of food preparation and partaking in the results was intoxicating and contagious.

Coincidentally, Julia’s series was first aired the same year that Betty Friedan‘s, The Feminine Mystique, was published.  Child was not anti-feminist but she did come on the scene when woman’s lives were changing.  What has ensued over the past forty-six years is that women, whether working inside or outside the home, are spending less time cooking.  Rather than following recipes we frequently use short cuts to assemble and combine processed foods.  Saving time has resulted in an increase in calorie consumption.  No time to make mayonnaise; just scoop the processed facsimile out of the jar.

David Cutler, a Harvard economist, led a study in 2003 that determined the rise of food preparation outside the home could explain most of the increase in obesity in America.  In addition, in their survey of cooking patterns across several cultures they found that obesity rates are inversely proportional to the amount of time spent on food preparation.  By using basic ingredients you eliminate many of the non-nutritional calories from sugar, salt, and fat that are abundantly present in processed foods.

I have no advice for you other than to suggest you read this very interesting article, www.nytimes.com/magazine,

and look at a copy of, former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, Dr. David Kessler‘s book, The End of Overeating – Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.

Debbie Jones-Steele

Do you have have time to cook from scratch? Leave your comments!