• 24 March, 2008 at 02:21 #497

    [html] Cooking from scratch might be defined as using fresh ingredients without added products of any kind, in that food, at time of purchase.A trip to the supermarket to source natural ingredients is not so easy today. Disregarding fresh fruit and vegetables, dried pulses, flour, sugar and olive oil there is very little. Indeed if one looks at a whole aisle of cereals, there is probably only one, that is the actual cereal itself and nothing else added; that one is porridge oats. Most foods have added ingredients, preservatives and non-food numbers (which we know nothing about until we take the trouble to look them up)Why do few people 'cook from scratch' today? One would expect the answer to be 'I'm too busy'. This is a fair comment in today's society, unlike our parents and grandparent's era, as most women are in the workforce, even with families to care for.The surprising thing, is that today's women have modern equipment all geared to make life easier and quicker. Gone is the need to simmer a stew for 3 hours, steam puddings for 2 hours, bottle fruit or make your own stock which takes time and trouble. Today there is the microwave, pressure cooker, crock pot(slow cooker) and fridge freezer all designed to save time.In addition women are bombarded with television cookery programmes to stimulate creativity and cookery websites with recipes to suit every taste. The reasons for the decline in 'real' cooking like our ancestors may be :-LACK OF TRANSMISSIONThe passing on of knowledge from one generation to the next. Housekeeping including cooking used to be taught by mothers to their daughters. Now we have a generation of mothers who cannot cook and daughters without role models. The cycle has been borken.'INSTANT' SOCIETYNowadays everyone wants everything now, instantly. This is the same for all aspects of our lives. In the early days of television and radio people waited for the set to warm up. Now reaching for the remote is a strain! The ultimate instant time savers are perhaps ordering takeaways and shopping online for groceries. What would our ancestors have thought of this!LAZINESSJUST DON'T WANT TO COOK.It should, be possible, with the aid of modern appliances, (despite women working), to 'cook from scratch'. Meals and sauces may be cooked in bulk each time and frozen for future meals. The use of a slow cooker whilst at work would provide delicious 'ready' meals and even bread could be risen during the periods at home, whilst doing other activities. Easy to grow vegetables are always available and close at hand.Perhaps with the wish to be free of chemicals and pesticides, there will be a desire to return to the real foods of our ancestors and we will use those good, healthy ingredients to cook and create meals like theirs, but adapted to our lives today. I think it can be done. Do you ?Moderator Comment:Hibiscus girl raises a number of important issues which reflect the changes in our society. Changes which are accelerating at an ever increasing rate. Today we see the introduction of the first genetically modified foods for example.Changes in lifestyle, technology and hygiene are to be welcomed.. or are they?This extract from BBC radio 4 suggests that despite our concerns, things were not always what they seemed:"During the 19th century, much of the food consumed by the working classes is adulterated by foreign substances, contaminated by chemicals or fouled by animal and human excrement. By the 1840s, the practice of home-baking bread has died out among the rural poor; in the small tenements of the urban masses, which have no ovens, it has never existed. In 1872, Dr Arthur Hill Hassall (1817-94), the pioneer investigator into food adulteration, demonstrates that half of the commercially made bread he examines is full of alum, which inhibits digestion. The list of poisonous additives includes: • strychnine in rum and beer • sulphate of copper in pickles, bottled fruit, wine and preserves • lead chromate in mustard and snuff • sulphate of iron in tea and beer • ferric ferrocyanide and lime sulphate in Chinese tea • copper carbonate, lead sulphate, bisulphate of mercury and Venetian lead in sugar confectionery and chocolate • lead in wine and cider. The Privy Council estimates in 1862 that one-fifth of butcher's meat in Britain comes from animals that are 'considerably diseased' or have died of pleuro-pneumonia or other diseases. As late as 1877, the Local Government Board finds that about a quarter of the milk it examines contains excessive water, or chalk, and 10% of butter, 8% of bread and 50% of gin contains copper to heighten the colour. Red lead gives Gloucester cheese its 'healthy' red hue. In the long run, these additives result in chronic gastritis and, often, fatal food poisoning. Even the rich are not safe. For example, the London county medical officer discovers the following in ice cream: cotton fibre, lice, bed bugs, bug's legs, fleas, straw, human hairs and cat and dog hairs. Such contamination can (and does) cause diphtheria, scarlet fever, diarrhoea and enteric fever. Still, over the 19th century, diet improves among the masses. Working people's regular meals of bread, potatoes and beer are increasingly supplemented by meat, milk and vegetables."Makes you think eh?Martin [/html]

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