Random Thought: Family Time VS Kitchen Time

I promise to try and keep this short, but there’s never a guarantee.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’ve been hearing radio commercials for ready-made Thanksgiving meals that people can call ahead and purchase from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Fresh ‘n Easy, etc, etc. I don’t remember which of the locations said it, but I’ve been a bit livid over it.

“Spend less time in the kitchen and more time with family”

Excuse me? Some of my fondest memories as a child through my teen years were spent in the kitchen, smelling and taste testing everything. The kitchen was where the family hung out. Even the kids were called for (yelled for) by the adults to taste dishes and sauces once their tongues couldn’t tell the difference anymore. It was my favorite part of get-togethers and parties (and still is).

Maybe it’s because I don’t have the heart to lie about buying ready made meals and claiming it as my own, but I do not appreciate the “slogan”. It’s an insult for a true Foodie. Something like…

“How dare you hint that I’m not spending ‘enough time’ with my family.”

Or maybe it’s more like…

“I can’t help it if I know how to time my cooking and you don’t.”

Hmm… that seems a bit patronizing. How about…

“I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. My family does.”

Hmm… that didn’t come out the way it sounded in my head.

Nevertheless, I think I’d rather be able to tell people eating my food that I did all the labor compared to them judging me for cheating what they were expecting to be a “home cooked” meal. In my small circle of friends, almost everyone cooks and try not to do a lot of take-out or processed foods, but I know several people who have gone years without a real “home cooked” meal. We’ve actually joked that their last “home cooked” meal was at a Waffle House or IHOP or Cracker Barrel or some small, hole-in-the-wall cafe. However, I must put my foot down. In a five-item holiday meal, three out of five of the items must be made by your hand for it to be applause worthy.

During the Thanksgiving festivities, I’ll advocate for the pre-cooked turkey from any grocery store but frown on the 8- to 10-item prepared meals for purchase. (For those who are interested about the pre-cooked turkey, Fresh ‘n Easy – and I think Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods – have call ahead orders for birds pre-cooked. All you have to do is take it home, pop it in the oven for 1 to 2 hours to finish cooking.)

Okay, I better stop this rant. Final word: It’s never too early to get the kids started in the kitchen. My niece is four (turning five), and she’s been helping in the kitchen since she could stand on a step stool. My friend’s little girl is also four (turning five), and she’s been helping in the kitchen since she was three. I started making soup at age five and knew how to make Filipino Adobo by the age of six. Blueberry muffins and pancakes and waffles were also at age six, and it was from scratch from George and Eleanor. Start the Foodie passion early, and you’ll find that you’ll have a kid who’s up to try new foods as the years pass. My niece’s favorite food: LOBSTER. The girl’s got taste and style!

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