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America has given up on cooking.

Stashed in: Facts, Good Eats!, Awesome, America!, Nutrition!, Consumer Trends, Fitness, Consumers, Nutrition, Calories!, Microbiome, Food Network, Girl Scouts!, Food Industry

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Buried in this article is some depressing data about the American diet. 61% of the calories from supermarket purchases came from highly processed (e.g. Cheetos, Hot Pockets) foods and drinks, with another 16% from moderately processed (e.g. bread, pasta, cheese) foods and drinks. 84% of calories were from ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat products. These percentages did not change at all over the period 2000 - 2012, regardless of economic ups and downs -- unlike exercise, which increases during downturns presumably because unemployed people have more time to work out -- showing that even with more free time, Americans do not cook fresh food more or improve their diets at all. And this study does not cover food from restaurants, which is apparently at an all-time high. The methodology used in this study was exceptionally excellent: instead of asking people what they ate, the researchers looked at barcode data from 157K shoppers over 12 years. So there you have it, the best data we have about American dietary patterns shows that probably a lot of people literally don't know how to cook any more even if they wanted to.

Cooking is becoming a lost art, and for the life of me I cannot understand how so many cooking shows survive given this information.  I guess cooking has become a spectator sport.

For sure! I hear that Food Network doesn't even have real cooking shows any more, just stunt-cooking competitions and Guy Fieri eating junk food.

True that - you have to wait for Saturday on PBS for Cook's County, Mexico One Plate at a Time and Primal Grill.

I do think that Guy Fieri ruined the Food Network...

But also, people like Alton Brown and Rachael Ray stopped making cooking shows, too.

PBS is more about cooking than the Food Network!

Hey laaaadiieeeeesss... speaking of PBS cooking shows:

I'm adding the words SCANNER and MICROBIOME to this page so I can find it again when I search for scanner calories and the huge amounts of processed foods Americans are putting into our microbiomes.

Joyce, the original article you stashed -- "How Lite Food Is Ruining Your Diet" -- is eye opening:

More Americans are eating Nestlé’s Hot Pockets than actually taking the time to cook a healthy meal these days.


Luring in shoppers with phrases like, “all natural,” “simple grain,” or “no preservatives,” food companies make us believe that their moderate and highly processed products—breakfast cereals, granola bars, salad dressings, breads, cheese-like substances, ready-to-heat meals—are healthy.

Yet on Saturday, we still think we earned a cheat day. It’s not a cheat day, however, when our weekday diet—which we consider healthy—has more in common with our cheat day, go-to snack ofGirl Scout Thin Mints (loaded with sugar, salt, and transfat—but how can you say no to a Girl Scout?).

Call it Machiavellian, but food corporations make us believe their amalgamation of some 30-plus ingredients (I lose count after 10) is healthier than our ability to crack some eggs, add some spinach, and make a frittata for dinner.

If the marketing practices don’t work, however, food companies have something else going for them: unlike the frittata, their food products act like drugs and create the ultimate bliss point in our brains. Their creations generate that “high as a kite” feeling you get when munching on a chip, drinking a soda, or opening the microwave and smelling the TV dinner odors engineered in a lab.

And yes, it's sad that our food companies are doing this not only to Americans but around the world, too.

Bottom line: Processed foods are drugs.

Like drugs, when we eat highly processed foods, the body absorbs the substances and active ingredients more rapidly into the bloodstream than minimally processed foods (unless raw, most foods are processed to some extent) because the processing strips these foods of their fiber and so-called natural packaging.

With no mechanisms to slow the delivery of sugar, fat, and salt into the body, highly processed foods foster the release of the feel good celebrity drug in our brains, dopamine, the same as taking a hit of cocaine. The age of culinary modernism has entirely skewed our perception of health, convenience, taste, and what it even means to cheat on a diet we’ve been sold as “healthy.”

The only way to really cheat on your highly processed diet is to go in the other direction entirely: Cheat on the food companies themselves.

I love PBS cooking. I remember Yan Can Cook and I still watch America's Test Kitchen. 

Dawn, good to see you!

I've never watched America's Test Kitchen but they have an excellent YouTube channel:


The thing is that the producers of this show and magazine are... New Englanders. So most of their recipes are of high technical interest -- they will roast 50 different cuts of cheap beef to see which makes the best sandwiches -- but moderate to low actual DELICIOUSNESS. They are very focused on traditional New England food rather than anything with a flava. So... great technique, especially with pies and cheap meats and other things Americans don't cook any more. :(

Having grown up in the northeast and now living in California, I know what you mean.

There's so many more favors here than there. 

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