Today I went to a program. I listened to a chef discuss a recent 'Hot Pockets' (a microwave meal) commercial. It shows a teenage boy in bed. The alarm goes off and he drags himself from bed. He had slept in his clothes. The chef discribed them as 'singularly unattractive', offering the world a pleasant view of his boxers. The boy grabbed his books, ran downstairs, grabbed a hot pocket from his mother waiting with a supercilious, doting smile on her face,
and bolted out of the door to school.
The chef wondered what would happen if it was portrayed differently. He wonders what would happen if the commercial showed the mother going up the stairs to wake her son, to send him off for a shower? What if he came downstairs scrubbed, in fresh clothes, maybe wearing a belt even. What if they had showed the mom dishing out some eggs, bread popping out of the toaster? What if it showed the two of them sitting down to have breakfast together?
It's true. Convenience foods are not all that convenient in my opinion. We've been fooled into believing this. They are more expensive. They are less healthy. I've long believed that when you don't put any effort into meal preparation, that meals become a mindless chow-down, a process that has you eating too quickly, so that by the time your brain realizes your belly is full, you have eaten a few extra bites. When you prepare a meal, you savor the meal, you discuss the meal, you take pleasure in the meal.
Fast food has its place, I suppose. Sometimes, I throw a frozen pizza in the oven. But really, what do you think would happen if families began to cook?