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1. I cannot disagree with the fact that today’s generation is losing deeply rooted cultural traditions, such as cooking. The common familial practice of cooking and eating dinner together is a dying tradition. I disagree, however, with the stated reasons for such phenomena. Though it is true that we are living in a world with a rapidly increasing rhythm and incessant demands, the premise that families simply do not have time to band together to cook food seems ridiculous. Yes, there are many demands on every person’s life, but no amount of demands can ultimately rid us of our freedom to partake of any activity we want to.

The only exceptions are CEO’s of banks and such things, who find their lives driven by economic machinery. For most of us, we are in charge of our lives. What I mean is, though we have a lot of things to do, it is still up to us to choose to do them. We choose what to give time to, what to delay, what to prioritize. If it is true that we simply “do not have time” to prepare dinner together, how come we have time to sleep for 9 hours? How come there are spas everywhere? The presence of spas means people have excess time on their hands for rest and relaxation.

Movie theaters, sports arenas, beaches… the list goes on. In other words, time is not the issue that causes the death of family cooking as a tradition. The matter lies in a cultural change. People of the younger generations simply do not value the cultural heritage of their family, specifically the culinary heritage. Young people prioritize going to bars, partying, watching the latest movies. They do not give time nor effort to the learning of their ancestral cooking because these are simply time-consuming. Sadly, the art of cooking is time-cooking simply because it is an art.

Paintings are art because they took time to learn and to make. Printed pictures are not art because they are generic and quickly copied in the exact same way microwave meals are. The youth’s indifference is choking the life out culture by impeding the transfer of knowledge from our parents. 2. I agree that today’s generation do not take the time to savor and enjoy the richness of our culinary history. We do seem to be developing microwave dinners as a food tradition, which is obviously embarrassing. If our ancestors could see how much we value the preparation of our food, they would be horrified.

Cultures of past treated the making of dinner as an entirely social event. Now, it is seen as a burden impeding our fast and productive lives. Again, I believe that the dying art of cooking is fading not because there seems to be no time for such activities, but rather because people choose not to give importance to learning art. People would rather learn to use Adobe Photoshop and edit existing pictures to fit their need rather than learn to draw what they want to well. People would rather eat out to taste delicious food than take time to cook their own delectable meals.

It is again not the lack of time or the point of convenience that is making cooking a dead art. It is the deadened sense of culture of today’s people that is resulting in the disappearance of our culinary heritage. 3. In today’s world of information, there is no doubt in my mind that we indeed can look for the ingredients for any meal we might want to cook. In that sense, Wingty Tang is correct: we can learn how to cook easily if we wanted to. However, I believe we are talking of familial or ancestral cooking heritage. Families have their own individual way of cooking meals.

Recipes are roughly the same for most meals and so can be learned off the internet, but what we will not find anywhere is the particular variation in those recipes, which our families use to create a distinct and unique meal that is entirely theirs – an original recipe that makes that meal exclusively your family’s. It may even be as simple as a change or nuance in the process of preparing the meal that makes it special. We cannot learn these nuances except through the typical process of learning when our parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents teach us how to do it.

In essence, to pass on such cooking heritage there must be a joint session of cooking lessons between the family members. But there were a few obstacles to cooking meals together as a family: a) different schedules, and b) lack of time due to work and school. There are many answers to both problems. The most obvious is this: weekends. School and work both are more often than not activities that occur from Monday to Saturday. Sundays are irrevocably reserved for the family. Both working and educational institutions respect the importance of spending Sunday with one’s family.

The only problem then is having the strength of will and determination to make your schedules coincide for a family cookout. The choice is very much yours. The world cannot control your schedule. Also, it isn’t a requirement that all the family members be present in order to have cooking lessons to transfer knowledge on family cooking heritage. 4. It is true that there are those out there that actually continue to breath life into the culture of culinary heritage. There are thousands of television shows dedicated to showcasing the millions and millions of delicious, historic, unusual, and exotic dishes that exist all over the world.

These television shows also showcase various nutritional opinions, making sure that healthy eating continues in society. However, I believe we are talking here of the norm of the world, and sadly the status quo is that of eating over processed and ineloquently cooked meals. The thinking that we might be able to reverse the trend of the world towards a “cookless” society is slightly over-optimistic. Most of the world living in lower income families do cook at home, but due to their limited financial capability, these people usually cook food which require more frying than cooking preparation.

Poverty is a big reason for this cultural shift towards nutritionally empty and very inartistic way of cooking. Add to that the fact that there is little incentive for the world to learn the art of cooking, since art is not one of the biggest priorities of today’s fast living society. 5. The point about the existence of cooking culture through television is obviously true. That will always be there. People will always pass on their knowledge somehow. However, the existence of home cooking and the keeping up of that tradition is an entirely different thing. Home cooking is the process of preparing meals the way a specific family does it.

This includes unique ways of preparing food and special ingredients families use. This process is being done less and less sadly. ‘Busy lives’ might seem like the culprit at first glance, but this is ultimately not the real issue. Though people seem to have busy lives, the truth is we all have time to spare. We all participate in various activities for rest and relaxation, time with friends, and other activities we freely choose to have. We simply need to dedicate ourselves to the task of allotting time for such meal-cooking activities together as a family.

The backbone of this problem might very well be the slow degradation of culture. Families nowadays have a culture of consumerism, which motivates them to accumulate and accumulate material things, which forces them to work more jobs or more hours. This limits the time they can spend nurturing both their family and their family’s heritage, cooking in particular. These families also tend to have more and more children thereby worsening their financial woes, leading to again more work. The culture of ancestral cooking was sustained by the old family structure of having a working father and a housewife.

Housewives spent their time doing chores, one of which was cooking the meals for the family. Each wife would have her unique way of cooking, which she would pass on and teach to her daughters. They would then learn and add-on to that heritage and pass on these cooking lessons to their daughters. This would go on until generations and generations of cooking heritage has been compiled through the ages. However, with today’s changing societal roles, this culture of cooking seems headed for a slow death. 6. I disagree with this. There are millions of people – men in particular – that do not learn how to cook.

So the idea that as adults we eat what we want to eat is very limited. Most of us eat what is available. If wives do not cook certain meals, then husbands would not eat those, except through restaurants. If this is the type of culture we want to create then we would indeed lose a lot of traditions of cooking in our families. And again, we may be able to ‘learn’ how to cook certain things according to how other people do it, but if we do not cook together as a family, the family cooking heritage – the unique way that a specific family cooks its meals, including special recipes and whatnot – will be lost.

If we all did not learn our family heritage of cooking, then no one would have a unique way of cooking such meals. We would all be stuck with one generic way of cooking certain types of meals. Then if we change our recipes a bit, our children would not learn them if we do not cook together with them and teach them how to use our unique recipe. They would again be stuck with the same old generic recipe. Family cooking heritage can only be kept alive by practicing family cooking together.

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