What’s cooking?

Castlegar News bi-weekly columnist Karen Haviland slows things down for supper

Karen Haviland

Karen Haviland

We live in a busy world nowadays, don’t you think? It seems as if most ads on the television are geared towards those with busy lives. You know the ones I am speaking about – the busy soccer moms who are not only juggling a career, but a household as well, or the hectic life of a father who is also precariously balancing a career and obligations to his family.

When there are only so many minutes in a day, something has to give and quite often the one thing which is given up is the serving of good, home-cooked meals.

When I was growing up, which, as many of you know, was in the dinosaur age, both of my parents worked, and yet, despite that, the one thing which my parents insisted upon was that we sat down as a family every evening and ate supper together. Now, mind you, mom and dad had five children and we all had to chip in to make that happen. My job was peeling potatoes, my brothers learned how to set a mean table, while my older sister did her part by orchestrating it all and making sure it all came together. It was a group effort, and I highly doubt my parents could have managed the family supper for seven all on their own while also working full time outside the house.

Which brings me back to today’s world in which many parents are much too busy to cook and instead choose to rely on frozen food or fast food to help them negotiate the many stumbling blocks along the way.

Let me be crystal clear about this; I am NOT judging those folks, merely making an observation. People do what they need to do in order for their world to continue rotating smoothly on its axis.

When I started researching for this column, I was surprised at the statistics out there regarding people who don’t cook. I’m not necessarily talking about the aforementioned, but more so about those people who, even if given all the time in the world, choose to find their meals in other, creative ways.

I found some great information at cvc.ca/news. According to the article, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada commissioned an online survey in which half of the respondents said they didn’t have enough time in their days to eat healthier meals, or be more active.

Of those who responded, 41 per cent said preparing healthy meals takes too much time. I can’t disagree with that, given the pace of our lives nowadays.

And some people just hate cooking. Period. That’s the part I don’t understand. I try very hard to not be judgmental about people who live their lives differently than I do. You know the saying, “Walk a mile in their shoes.”

But you don’t like cooking?

For me, cooking is an outlet. It’s a time of relaxation and there is a certain sense of accomplishment when the final product is set before my family and/or friends. Mind you, I don’t like the clean-up part of cooking, but I absolutely adore the knife work and the prep work. No fancy Bosch machines for me; I actually enjoy the drudgery of peeling carrots, dicing celery or slicing meat. It doesn’t matter if doing it the old school way takes a lot more time and effort than letting the newest kitchen equipment do it for me.

As for not cooking, while that is hard for me to understand, I can see how that works out in some families. I have a sister-in-law who admits to being a lousy cook and finds cooking a supreme waste of time. However, she doesn’t mind cleaning up after supper and doing the dishes. My brother, her husband, on the other hand, can’t stand the clean up aspect of meals, but he is a superb cook. Thus an agreement was made early on in their marriage; he would do all the cooking and she would do the clean-up. It’s worked for them for more than 35 years and if you look at them today you can see that no one is starving in that household.

In the end, I guess that’s what’s really important. Maybe it’s not about who cooks the meal, but more so about utilizing the skills of those in the best way possible. If cooking isn’t your gig, I am sure that you are skilled or talented in other ways.

Whatever the case might be, the most important thing, in my view, is finding the time to sit down as a family each and every day, even in today’s busy world.

Oh, one last thing. If you’re truly interested in learning more about people who don’t cook, just Google “I don’t cook,” it will open your eyes.