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How Food TV Feeds Our Fast-Food Culture August 2, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Food.
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The Food Network can now be seen in nearly 100 million American homes and on most nights commands more viewers than any of the cable news channels. Today the average American spends a mere 27 minutes a day on food preparation (another four minutes cleaning up); that’s less than half the time that we spent cooking and cleaning up when Julia arrived on our television screens. (Currently the most popular meal in America, at both lunch and dinner, is a sandwich; the No. 1 accompanying beverage is a soda.)

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Julia Child on PBS 1963/Paul Child/Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard Universit

When we let corporations do the cooking, they’re bound to go heavy on sugar, fat and salt; these are three tastes we’re hard-wired to like, which happen to be dirt cheap to add and do a good job masking the shortcomings of processed food. And if you make special-occasion foods cheap and easy enough to eat every day, we will eat them every day. The French fry did not become the most popular “vegetable” in America until industry relieved us of the considerable effort needed to prepare French fries ourselves. The time and work involved in cooking, as well as the delay in gratification built into the process, served as an important check on our appetite. Now that check is gone, and we’re struggling to deal with the consequences.

Read the whole article here Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch – NYTimes.com.

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