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Slate: The Myth Of The 30-Minute Meal


ramsay_ff There is a great article written by Linda Shaprio on Slate critiquing Gordon Ramsay’s (him again!?) new book ‘Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food’ in which Ramsay like so many celebrity chefs attempts to convince that the only difference between your cooking and theirs is a few tips and recipes ultimately worth about $25.

Shaprio writes-

Fantasy has always played a big part in beat-the-clock cookbooks; in fact, the category relies on it, as Ramsay’s book makes clear. Despite the shopping lists, the step-by-step directions, the time-saving tips, and the authors who insist that this is exactly how they cook at home, there’s little that reflects the real world in such books.

Well said.

The truth is that for the most part the entire business of ‘celebrity chef’s’ is like the traditional carrot on a stick with the carrot of being a ‘good cook’ kept just out of reach. If the book/TV show dangles it too close you’ll think you won’t need them, but if the complexity/ingredients cause the carrot to appear to be too far away you won’t believe that being a good chef is obtainable.

Implying that you can do it fast implies that it’s fairly easy when the reality is neither are true.

In our opinion if you’re a novice and want to up your game in a 30 minute time frame watch or read someone like Rachel Ray. She’s not a professional chef and her approach to quick meals with as much quality as possible in a short time frame is far more comparable to what your own speedy cooking might be like. Or you can take a more cerebral approach like Alton Brown who makes no pretense of the fact that you’re in the kitchen because you love being there and don’t mind taking all day to make your own pop tarts or build a smoker from a cardboard box.

That’s not to say the upper scale professional chefs have nothing to offer the home cook or that its not feasible to cook complex meals at home, nothing could be further from the truth. Just don’t let them fool you into believing that you can prepare the same food they do in the same time they do without putting in a lot more time and effort than clicking the ‘Buy Now’ button for a cookbook.

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