The question of whether one prefers fast food or home cooking is akin to asking whether an unhealthy, disease ridden, wobbling with ripples of fat body or a slender, agile, lithe and fit model is preferred! Of course the latter is the wisest choice to make and yet many people don’t make it, even though the health risks of fast food are commonly known.
This is why, in fact, the subject presents such an extremely good question. Why people often make unhealthy food choices is in a large part due to the crafty and unethical ploys of food manufacturers who value wealth above their consumers health. They use additives such as colourings and flavourings to cause convenience foods to appear attractive and to taste pleasant, even though the additives do nothing to improve food quality and contain no nutritional value.
Preservatives or extremely high temperatures during processing are used so that food that is easily and quickly prepared can be stored in fridges and freezers at home, in the supermarkets and in fast food outlets. This makes it simpler to eat processed foods rather than fresh foods that contain a wealth of nutrition. We’re bombarded with advertising on a daily basis that show healthy looking families eating fast foods, when in reality people who live on this type of non-food are more likely to be extremely unhealthy and overweight.
Advertisers are paid to lie about the foods they sell. For instance they might claim that a food contains ‘less fat’ when it contains a large amount of sugar or salt. If a product is labelled ‘less fat’ it means that it contains less fat than the original food (as in the case of spreads that contain butter for instance), not that it is actually low in fat.
Nowadays fast food chains are attempting to cash in on the current health trends by making their foods appear to be healthier than they are. A burger might contain a piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato but that doesn’t make it healthy! My advice is to not trust processed foods, even when it’s claimed to be healthy, or healthier than other foods. In my opinion the only truly healthy foods are those that are as close as possible to the condition they were in when they were growing.
The majority of people are aware that fast food is not as healthy as home cooking but there’s much more to my preference for home cooking than simply that. Cookery is a creative and enjoyable pursuit that brings about an appreciation for food that can’t be found in fast foods.
The kitchen can be an inspiring room that causes exciting sensations arising from the aromas, colours, textures, and flavours of a wide variety of foods, herbs and spices. The Italians are considered to be sensual people and they’ve given the world some of the most amazing recipes that everyone loves. Their sensuality is tied in with their cuisine. Preparing a bolognaise sauce with fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, oregano, paprika, basil, chives and dark green lentils or fresh mince from the local organic butcher is a satisfying experience. The aromas and tastes of freshly prepared dishes are exquisite!
Apart from the well known dishes it’s also enjoyable to invent meals; to begin with a chopping board, vegetables, perhaps some dry ingredients such as seeds, pulses or beans and a myriad of treasure in the cupboards, and to improvise. Some of the most astonishingly delicious meals arise from ideas and creativity set free from cookery books and habit.
There’s a sense of achievement and peace of mind that arises when handing a plate of nutritious food to a child. They’re being educated to appreciate healthy food later in life and will be more likely to look after themselves. Children are influenced by advertising, supermarkets, fast food chains and their friends to make unwise choices and it’s up to parents and other carers to compensate and teach them the benefits of healthy foods and home cooking.
I dread to think that perhaps in a few generations from now home cooking will become a lost art, and yet the only people I see buying fresh fish, fruit and vegetables from local markets are generally over forty years of age. It seems that even when healthy food’s available many younger people don’t want it.
I applaud today’s television chefs who are teaching that cookery is an interesting and dynamic activity and especially those who encourage growing and using fresh fruit, berries and vegetables. There are programmes about growing and using herbs for nutritional and medicinal reasons and I hope that young people are watching them so they might carry the torch for home cookery into the future.