Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 03.12.03
Quebec City


Whatever happened to cooking?

The other day I was watching the tube when a commercial came on that set me to thinking.

An obviously Italian family was having an alfresco lunch.

Suddenly, one of the men put his arm around an elderly woman and commenced serenading her.

It was quite touching, at least until a disembodied voice started touting the undeniable pleasures of a McCain's pizza.

No offense, but the Italians I grew up with would die, or at least slit their wrists, before they served McCain's for a festive occasion.

And that wasn't an isolated occurrence.

In another commercial, a man is about to dial for either reservations or take-out and his wife says wait!

She tells him to fire up the oven, she's cooking in!

And then, with all the care that Mother used to muster, she opens the box, slides out the plastic bag, and pops it all into the oven.

Meat, potatoes, vegetables, all in one handy easy package. Hmmm, how tasty can you get?

It's ironic. In North America we are building houses with bigger and bigger kitchens.

People are buying everything from pasta makers to food processors to microwave ovens.

And yet we're raising a generation that thinks pot roast comes in cellophane.

And it's all hype.

I've got news for you. The hulking football players that sing that little Michelina song? They didn't get to be that big eating lovely little frozen dinners.

Unless they were eating them by the case.

And no, if you take a frozen package toss it into a skillet and stir fry it, it doesn't come out just like Mother used to make.

Unless your Mother's name was Swanson and she had a thing for TV dinners.

I know, I know, it's the modern rat race.

In today's busy world with two-income families and everyone in a rush there's neither the time nor the energy to cook.

But that's just it!

More and more of us are looking at food as nothing more than fuel to keep us going.

We fill our faces with about as much thought as we fill the gas tanks on our cars.

And it shows.

We've got lumpy kids. And we've also got the fattest population in the history of the world.

Cooking is part of any culture. It's part of what we pass down to future generations.

And right now, the next generation is getting the impression if you can't nuke it, toast it or pop it up it's not worth doing.

But think of the advantages if we actually cooked more.

You could throw away your Prozac -- cooking is therapeutic. It's cheaper than buying food by the box or a bag. Anybody can learn.

And best of all, unlike all those commercials, you won't have to hire a family to smile and 'ooh and aah' at supper time.

Your own will do it for you.