One of my fondest childhood memories involves a ritual Momma Biggs and I would go through every Friday evening. After she’d leave work and get me from the babysitter’s, we’d go to the local Chinese restaurant and order some French fries and shrimp. She’s a skilled cook and I’m always happy to wheedle a recipe or two out of her, but she was also a hardworking single mother who, by the time the weekend rolled around, just didn’t have the energy to slave over a hot stove and cook dinner for her son. I didn’t complain; Fridays were awesome. No school the next day AND I got shrimp? Hell yeah! That is, until I became allergic to shrimp. Ah well, nothing good can last forever, I guess.
I grew up, like many of you, during the rise of the Internet, when technology was changing at a rapid rate. Things that were only possible in Saturday morning cartoons are possible now, or if not, will be very soon. Just about every aspect of our lives has been affected in some way by modern technology, even how we get our food.
While my mother was dragging me into the kitchen and all but chaining me to the stove to teach me how to cook, programmers were developing apps to help people order takeout more conveniently. I didn’t take part in any of this, mainly because the restaurants I frequented were within walking distance. Hey, I had to work off those cheeseburgers somehow.
I used to date a lovely young lady who was, shall we say, culinarily disinclined. It wasn’t that she couldn’t cook; I’m sure she was as good in the kitchen as she was in life in general. She just didn’t feel like it, really. She was perfectly content to have frozen breakfasts, sandwiches for lunch, and use the Domino’s app to order pizza for dinner. Don’t judge her too harshly, reader; she was just one of many Millenials who was seduced by the convenience that 21st century technology gave us. I remember reading an article in a local newspaper last year about New Yorkers who use delivery apps on a regular basis. One person interviewed admitted to using it four times a week. Four times a week, reader! This person would go on to say he didn’t see the point in learning how to cook. Let’s see – it’s healthier, more affordable, a vital domestic skill – yeah, I don’t see the point, either.
It all goes back to what I said in one of my last posts about people who cook. It’s a desirable skill to a lot of people, but if you’re not gonna learn how to cook for somebody else, at least learn how to cook for yourself. I don’t think that the whole “I don’t have time” excuse applies to as many people as they think. Dig it: on average, a food order takes about thirty to forty minutes to be delivered. You could do the same or better with any entry out of a Rachael Ray cookbook. People just don’t want to take the time to invest in themselves. Why would they? I’ll admit, these apps are very convenient, and much like other forms of technology, it’s easy for people to become dependent on them and forget what it’s like to learn and use traditional skills.
However, we can’t allow ourselves to rely too much on smartphones and tablets to feed ourselves. Like with everything else in life, it should be done in moderation. In the same time that you order and receive food from an app, you can search for a recipe for your favorite food and cook it. Hell, finding a recipe for shrimp? There needs to be an app for that.