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The Joy of Using Your Kitchen

25
Apr

The Joy of Using Your Kitchen

Snatch 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 reps

The 5pm class takes Nicole's instructions to stay together as a group on a 400m warmdown, literally.

The Joy of Using Your Kitchen

I’m turning 30 in a few weeks.  My brother visited this weekend and asked me if I wanted an All-Clad Master Chef 14-Inch Fry Pan for my birthday.  “What!?” I exclaimed, “That’s not a 30th birthday present, you’re supposed to get me something that says 20-year old to make me feel young and cool and hip, not a pan that makes me feel domestic and homely and…30.”  He was a little upset, I could tell.  In his mind, he knows how much I enjoy cooking and how much time I spend in the kitchen.  He was sure this was something I would both use and enjoy.

That night I sat down to read the Atlantic Magazine which had a feature article titled “The Joy of Not Cooking.” The article explained that Americans are spending more on designer kitchens and appliances (both small and large) while they spend less and less time in the kitchen actually cooking and using the tools.  The article also detailed the history of the American kitchen.  Cool stuff.

A few excerpts that stood out:
“When my grandmother was growing up in the 1920s, the average woman spent about 30 hours a week preparing food and cleaning up. By the 1950s, when she was raising her family, that number had fallen to about 20 hours a week. Now, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, women average just 5.5 hours—and those who are employed, like me, spend less than 4.4 hours a week. And that’s not because men are picking up the slack; they log a paltry 15 minutes a day doing kitchen work. One market-research firm, the NPD Group, says that even in the 1980s, 72 percent of meals eaten at home involved an entrée cooked from scratch; now just 59 percent of them do, and the average number of food items used per meal has decreased from 4.4 to 3.5. That’s when we’re home at all: by 1995, we consumed more than a quarter of all meals and snacks outside the home, up from 16 percent two decades earlier.”

and

“The best-selling cookbooks are aspirational fare, like Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Yet the No. 1 cooking magazine is Taste of Home, which relies heavily on mixes and processed foods, and offers speed and convenience rather than lifestyle fulfillment.”

After reading the article, I got to thinking.  How much time do I spend in my kitchen?  Take today, for example.

Breakfast – 5 minutes to peel my hardboiled eggs and scarf it down before running out the door
Lunch – out with Mom and Dad who were visiting from out of town, not a usual occurrence, usually I mix together a salad with leftovers
Dinner – 2 hours which included a bike trip to the grocery store with my Mom, an 1.5-hour extravaganza in the kitchen to prepare dinner, and another 20 minutes to do the dishes (which Dad and Eric took care of).

On a typical day, I think I spend roughly an hour in the kitchen cooking or preparing meals (more on the weekends) and I’m happy about that.

Maybe a 14-inch All-Clad Iron Fry Pan is a great birthday gift after all.

How much time do you spend in the kitchen?  What trade-offs have you made to spend more time preparing food?  Post to comments.

12 Responses

  1. That would be the one and only Kendrick Farris, Sean.

    I spend a TON of time in the kitchen. Even if I’m not cooking it is pretty much the hangout spot in our house. I decided long ago that when I buy a house the kitchen will be the center. Kitchen’s bring people closer together. Living rooms are for televisions, usually, which don’t exactly lead to social hour. Kitchens on the other hand store all the food (and adult beverages) and provide a place where people can get together in a joint effort to create something of their own, and all the while socialize.

    I bought a 14in cast iron skillet from McGuckin’s about a month ago and it was the highlight of my day.

  2. TYD

    I saw a similar article about a year and a half ago. It linked the decline in cooking time with the rise of obesity and health problems of affluence. Near the end of the article, an anonymous senior marketing director from a major food processing company suggested a way that he thought most Americans could lose weight:
    Eat whatever you want! But, cook it all yourself.

    I’ve never tracked my kitchen time, but with the overwhelming majority of my waking hours at home spent in the kitchen/dining area (where I do a lot of work and where I am writing this comment), suspect my kitchen time is above average for the 20-something bachelor demographic.

  3. TYD

    Oh yeah, and good work guys with sticking together on the run. Who says CrossFit has to be all-Paleo-PRing-seriousness all the time? Evidently, nobody around here.

  4. Tracy Emmanuel

    great post nicole… very interesting! yeah, we definitely spend WAY more time in the kitchen, since we switched over to the paleo lifestyle a few years ago… i’m guessing about 15 hours a week… which is about ~2 hours each weekday and a bit more on sunday prepping food for the week (and one night eating out). most of the hours stack up prepping/cooking/cleaning up dinners, but almost every dinner we make, yields lunch/snack leftovers for the next day, if not for a few days. i think the trade-offs for all this time in the kitchen (for me at least) is less time in front of the TV or on the computer, which is absolutely not a bad thing! its definitely a lot more time spent doing dishes, but the benefit of making an extraordinary yummy meal and feeling good after eating it, makes it all worth it! 🙂

  5. We usually eat in 6 nights a week, and it’s almost always cooked from scratch. Between breakfast, packing lunches and dinner/cleanup, I’m probably in the kitchen about 3 hours a day, maybe more if I do a big Sunday dinner (which we usually do). We also have family/neighbors over about twice a week, so I’m cooking for 6-8 instead of 3. I wouldn’t have it any other way (though I do like it when Alex takes a night to cook, he’s much better than I am!).

    I’m with Shane – my dream house would feature the kitchen as the biggest and most comfortable area to hang out and be together.

    (and you should totally take the All-Clad!!)

  6. Tracy, loved your post. I have always done all the planning/shopping/prepping and cooking for my family of five. How much time do I spend in the kitchen? Shit, put me in the category of the 1920’s mom! To make matters worse, I forced this whole paleo thing on my entire family, (without their consent!), knowing full well that my life would be forever (or at lest until my kids grow up) harder. That said, it’s worth it. I enjoy doing it, and I don’t find that it wastes my time. More importantly, my family is thriving, while also growing to love paleo food.

    Are there trade offs? Sure, just ask my wife, there are plenty of things she would rather I be doing. ; )

  7. Dizon

    On a side note about All-Clad Master Chef pans….

    After going through 2 expensive non-stick fry pans, we just started cooking with CAST IRON pans and we are loving it! Aside from being inexpensive (12″ = $34.00), they distribute heat well, hold the heat, can be used in the oven for baking and they clean up easily (no soap!). You can even take them camping to cook over an open fire and as a bonus … they can be used for overhead lunges around the kitchen and living room as a family activity 🙂

  8. Nishaa

    I think a pan would be a great gift, but i’m a cooking dork ; ) Even though i’m not 100% paleo, i spend a lot of the time in the kitchen trying to create fun and healthy dishes.
    On another note, unfortunately, I can’t make it on Saturday (again) busy packing for our move! Good luck Roots Crew!

  9. Your article really splendid. I think that we should have to make one schedule for kitchen. So we can gets the ideas that how much time we spent in kitchen.. It become really fruitful for us.