64 minutes | Jan 21st 2021

Pressure Cooker: Why Home cooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It

“Not everyone agrees about how to reform the food system and restore the nation’s health, but one message often rises above the din: We need to get back in the kitchen. From celebrity chefs to home cooks, lots of people seem to have the feeling that our country has lost its way and that returning to the dinner table will get us back to healthy kids and strong families. It’s an alluring message.”   This is the conundrum that Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What We Can Do About It explores through a granular look at how many of us navigate the daily task of keeping ourselves fed.    Authors Sarah Bowen, Joslyn Brenton, and Sinnikka Elliot -- a trio of sociology professors from universities across the US -- conducted a variety of interviews between February 2012 and March 2013 with female primary caregivers to learn more about how eating plays out in their households.    Then, between April and December 2013, the authors took an immersive approach and entrenched themselves with the nine families. This included the morning rush, supermarket trips, meal prep, family dinners, and visits to government support offices. The stories unfold from the vantage point of the women in the family, who more often than not shoulder the burden of shopping, meal planning, cooking, and accommodating their families’ divergent dietary preferences.  From Greely Janson, wife and mother in a middle-class family who finds herself torn between feeding her family the highest quality foods and allowing her daughter to have a “normal” childhood experience, to the Washingtons, an intergenerational family living in a hotel and struggling to make ends meet.   Divided into seven sections, the book explores how common foodie-centric phrases with good intentions often leave consumers across the socio-economic range battling a relentless cycle of pressure, guilt, shame, surrender, and hope. Most of these phrases will be familiar to you like, “You are what you eat,” “The family that eats together, stays together,” and “Know what’s on your plate.”    The intimate look at the way these phrases impact each of the nine featured families will have you questioning your perceptions of what makes for “good food policy.” The tales also highlight how the latest food trends often have an impact on so much more than just what’s in your grocery cart, including notions of self-worth, success, and what it means to be a good parent.   In the show, we dig into some of the biggest themes addressed in the book, the author’s personal takeaways from their immersive research, and a few solutions that might offer more ubiquitous and meaningful success than simply telling consumers to cook more meals at home.   This episode was generously sponsored by my favorite electrolyte drink mix, LMNT. I personally drink 2 per day and recommend to my clients, athletes, or anyone following a low-carb diet or undergoing a stressful period to pay attention to their electrolytes. LMNT is the perfect combination of sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Visit this website for a free sample pack, just pay shipping!
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