This latest offering by Mark Bittman of a list of 101 dishes that can be cooked in 10 minutes or less makes me think of an oft-repeated response to critics of Rachel Ray who, as anyone with a nanometer of sense understands, cannot cook to save the life of a virus. "Well," Ray's apologists opine "at least she's inspiring people to cook their own food."
Yeah, I say, she's doing them a real favor by inspiring them to add canned tuna fish to jarred tomato sauce when they could be eating a Big Mac and not having to scrub pots. Thanks Raych!
I feel almost the same way about Bittman's quick and easy approach to cooking and his recent list of Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less. Cooking, not matter how simple the dish, is only a small portion of the total work involved in getting a meal on the table. Even a fast dish like boiled lobster with lemon and butter from Bittman's list requies that the cook
- works X minutes to earn the purchase money
- spends X minutes transporting ingredients home
- Cooks 10 minutes
- Cleans at least 10 minutes
And it never, I mean never, talks about all the drudge work that comes along with it.
I'm not suggesting that cooking cannot be immensely rewarding -far from it. But I think that in taking the rhetorical position it's so easy, anybody can do it! food media evangelists like Rachel Ray and Mark Bittman end up tricking a lot of people into wasting money on books and wasting time in front of the TV and in the kitchen when they could be out doing something more idiosyncratically fulfilling, like picking up the phone and ordering a pizza.
Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less - New York Times