Everyday eating is too important to leave to celebrity chefs and media personalities

I once was a food writer for a metro newspaper food section. My beat was writing about food at home. Food for family meals and snacks. Food for parties. Food for holidays. I tested quinoa recipes in 1981. I interviewed a grandmother who baked gluten-free treats for her grandkids. I wrote about the “latest” research linking a high-fiber diet to lower cholesterol levels. One story featured a Minneapolis woman whose particular Greek cookies were considered the best in the local Greek community. Every recipe in every story was tested in my kitchen: brioche, pickles, roll-your-own-rice paper bundles, chicken salad with edible flowers. My editor and my fellow writer did the same with their stories.

The editor-in-chief of said metro daily, decreed that restaurants were entertainment. Our food section supplied ideas for people who went to the grocery store and came home to cook. Any chef recipes we printed were adapted to the home audience.

I say all this to make a distinction between food as entertainment and food as nourishment in every sense, which may include entertainment, but only as an additional factor to health, well being, satisfaction, sharing and making time for and with others.

Every day eating is too important to leave to the celebrity chefs and media food personalities, whose success, creativity, and business savvy, I laud. It just seems wrong to me that culinary education has become a high and holy calling that at best leads to inspiration for the viewer and media and financial success for the star, and at worst glorifies absolutely horrid eating habits.

Celebrity Chef Paula Deen

Everyday eating is really, quite ordinary. It doesn’t have to be ready for prime time.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are the core of your state of health, the basis of your children’s life-long well being, the building blocks of every day of your life.

What if your daily food intake isn’t entertainment, something to keep you distracted from life’s challenges and problems? What if what you eat every day is survival, itself? What if the most commonplace thing you do every day is the most important? Cooking healthy, delicious food has extraordinary implications for the rest of your life.

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5 Responses to “Everyday eating is too important to leave to celebrity chefs and media personalities”

  1. Mary, I just love this. You are really, really good at writing about the culture and climate of food as well as the enchantment of it. I just started loving to cook recently and SO appreciate writers who can write about cooking and food without shaming us, but who can draw us into doing more ourselves. (Love the cabbage salad. I have some in the frige right now that looks just like it!)

    Keep this UP!

  2. Sheila says:

    Good stuff Mary!

  3. Mickie Turk says:

    You are a kindred soul. I do not possess your knowledge of professional cooking, eating or writing about it, but I share your values. I don’t laud the food network or it’s celebrity cooks; I mistrust them and the recipes. Food as entertainment – just plain wrong. It can fun like that on special occasions, but the real work of food: to keep us healthy. Our bodies are our temples and need to be nourished properly. I’m so glad you wrote this piece. I hope it reaches a ton people.

  4. Heather Olson says:

    So very practical, Mary. Thanks!

  5. Cindy Jurgensen says:

    What a well-written and timely article, Mary. I love last your line: “Cooking healthy, delicious food has extraordinary implications for the the rest of your life.” How true!

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