I have found myself frustrated with Michael Pollan lately. In the course of promoting his new book about cooking, he's taken to spouting some opinions that I'll frankly call claptrap. He's mocked women who felt trapped by the kitchen drudgery that they got stuck with simply because they owned a vagina. He's implied that it's easy (if you're not lazy) for everyone to make every meal an ideologically sound slow-food meal. In general, he's disparaged the very idea that some people don't like to cook.
Thankfully, my personal food guru, Lynn Rosetto Kasper, is here to call shenanigans on all this nonsense. She gave a fantastic interview on MPR this afternoon, shooting down the idea that everyone would love to cook if they only tried it. In fact, says Kasper, you don't have a moral obligation to cook at all. The world needs eaters, too.
Tom Crann: What are some of the pressures, and why? Where do they come from, for people who feel pressured to cook if they're not very good at it?
Lynne Rosetto Kasper: The new food awareness that we've seen over the past decade. Here's the flip side. We cook if we are smart. We're supposed to cook to save our families and ourselves from dysfunctional, unhealthy lives. We cook to fight the obesity epidemic. We cook to save our identities, culturally, our traditions. We cook to strike out against the forces we feel are evil — you name them. We cook because it shows how cool we are. … the pressure today is we all should be doing this thing. And yeah, it's great to cook, it's wonderful to cook. But this is not something you take on if you really think you're going to hate it.
I think we should – if we possibly have an option — do what we really enjoy doing. Because no matter what it is, that's what we're going to be good at.
You can read a transcript online, but it leaves out some of the discussion and I recommend listening to the audio. It's an interview of beauty. And I say that as somebody who loves to cook. The key, though, is that cooking every meal is not something I alone am solely responsible for, no matter how I'm feeling or what day it is. It's not something that takes up a large portion of my life. And it is something that I just happen to find relaxing and fun. If any of those facts weren't true, my thoughts on cooking might be very different. And it's silly to expect otherwise.