The Counter-Intutitive Process of Making Time for Meals

April 19, 2016

By Aria McLauchlan, Communications Director at Kiss the Ground

Americans are cooking less, spending more at restaurants and bars than at grocery stores. And of all developed countries, we cook the least and eat the fastest.

This discovery, highlighted by journalist and culinary champion, Michael Pollan on Cooked, his four-part Netflix series, was covered in an excellent piece published last week by the The Atlantic entitled “Michael Pollan and the Luxury of Time.” As the article sagely notes:

“All of these are issues that boil down in large part to the availability of time, and the concept of convenience.”

In a culture increasingly obsessed with outsourcing, delegating, personal assistants and door-to-door delivery, we’ve gotten rather attached to the idea that a successful person has other people to plan, fetch, prepare and cook for us.

As a result, we’ve distanced ourselves from the most nourishing rituals of our lives: making food from scratch, brewing coffee, selecting ingredients, understanding where they came from and preparing them with love.

And yet, what could be more rewarding than a healthy relationship with food? What better end goal than time over a delicious meal with a loved one? We describe lingering over a meal as luxuriating, but it’s humanity’s oldest past time. Breaking bread at the same table is at once a unifying and equalizing experience.

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Might it be time to redefine success? What if we viewed time spent over food not as a luxury, but as a life essential?

I suspect we could convince our families and colleagues of the value in slowing down, staying in and enjoying the fruits of our labor – if we would just believe it for ourselves.

The food that we put in our bodies is our most intimate and immediate connection to nature. As we’re gently urging here at Kiss the Ground, in this time of unprecedented and escalating climate change, it’s paramount that we reconnect to food, and the soil and people that grew it.

Only you get to decide what to do with this wild and precious life. So go ahead. Stay in. Dip your fingers in the sauce. And raise a glass in gratitude for every bite.

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Sounds great! What can I do?

  1. Order your coffee “for here”. Sit, sip and stay awhile. Slow down. It’s amazing how possibilities and synchronicities of the world show up when you’re available to interact with it.
  2. Reclaim your lunch break. Step away from your desk, go outside, put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” and actually taste your food. Do not apologize for this process. Just go.
  3. Ask for help! Preparing food doesn’t need to mean time alone (although it can be a beautiful way to recharge).
  4. Cook one extra meal a night at home. Ramp up your time in the kitchen slowly. Learn to trust your instincts, use what you have and what’s in season, and get creative. What could go wrong? ?

Too easy? Go the extra mile.

  1. Befriend your neighbors. Share excess produce, ingredients and leftovers with them.
  2. Organize a weekly communal salad day at your workplace. Provide a base of organic leafy greens and have everyone contribute a topping or two.
  3. Learn about your food – talk to your farmer.  Walk to your local farmer’s market and ask them about their practices – What are their favorite recipes? How long did this take to grow? Do they regenerate the soil? What are they doing to conserve water?