And what about those glossy foodie magazines? Ever tried one of
those recipes for a three-course, low-fat meal in 30 minutes? I've
spied more than a few of them dangling from magnets on people's
refrigerators, minus tell-tale water spills and grease smears. Many
of these recipes are excellent, but don't expect the finished product
on your table to resemble the one in the oh-so-slick photo.
Summer re-runs and 24-hour talking heads on television are getting
boring. Unless they're really into baseball, lots of people are
surfing the channels and discovering cooking shows, where even the
most jaded foodie can learn a thing or two. What could be more
reassuring than Martha Stewart's serious monotone preaching that
raisin bread crafted into the shape of your pet pooch is "a good
thing." (You may not want to take stock tips from the old girl, but
she really knows her way around the kitchen.) Do you know how to
select the perfect omelet pan from the mind-boggling assortment of
cookware out there? What exactly is the difference between
"non-stick" and "no-stick?" Are you a little overwhelmed by those new
(and very expensive) gadgets and small appliances, like coffee pots
that even grind the beans? Will they just become space-hogs and dust
collectors on the kitchen counter, or will they transform you into
the next Julia Child or Alice Waters?
And, where have all those no-nonsense supermarkets gone? From the
north end of town to the south, they've morphed into temples of
gastronomic delights that feel more like the West Side of L.A. than
our tiny seaside village.
These drastic remodels were driven by marketing gurus who have
been keeping track of the magazines we read and peeking into our
They know gooey macaroni and cheese is no longer a "comfort food"
option for anyone over the age of six. They know we're developing a
serious multi-ethnic palate, are interested in eating well and we're
learning to cook it ourselves. And, they want to sell us everything
I've taken a very informal survey and discovered they're right.