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The Process of Our Disconnection

This week in our Cooking Matters class we cut up whole chickens into pieces. Cutting up a whole chicken is not a nice job, but fairly easy once you get the hang of it. It is less expensive per pound to buy a whole chicken rather than buying the pieces already cut up. Makes perfect sense.

One remark from a young girl made me think, a lot. She said she had eaten chicken nuggets that day and eats chicken on a regular basis but cutting a chicken did not appeal to her. She would rather not know the process of having to cut a chicken. It is this disconnection that worried me. Her comments spoke how many people feel about it. Knowing something like this, she feared, may change her mind about eating it.

As consumers, in order to get us to buy, have had it made easier on us for exactly this reason. Keep certain things out of our sight, make it pleasant and easy to buy and prepare and we will buy more of it the way it’s presented to us. Sounds logical in that perspective.

Home cooks looking to become more economical and buy whole foods to actually cook will learn some kitchen tasks are not always necessary but should be learned for just the know-how of being self-sufficient. Home cooking is not perfect nor is every task going to be pleasant. Just like life.

We have this beautifully processed nugget of chicken, frozen, ready to take home and pop in the oven or microwave and bam we have dinner. Of course, now we have access to the actual poultry houses and have visuals of these chickens grown in small cages, with their beaks cut off never seeing the light of day. A horrendous and horrifying thought – soon to be a processed chicken nugget! And the consumer is disconnected with the product in its real, whole, natural form. Did they think we’d never discover the process of processed foods? Because if we found out we would feel like the girl who was scared of knowing how to cut up a chicken. They hoped we’d take the easy way out and just keep buying food processed so we would not have to deal with an unpleasant task. And we did, for a while. But it doesn’t sound logical anymore. Doesn’t make me feel human and I like feeling human.

Out of necessity and self-determination people are looking for knowledge about their food – thank goodness. Where it comes from, how it’s grown and it is now a joy to many people to see food in its natural beautiful form. Not only to see it naturally but experience it, as well. And to learn to cook food as a whole natural product is the process of reconnecting that many people want to do. It is now apparent to me that the younger people learn about food and cooking, the better. 

In the end, you may decide to buy your chicken cut up. But knowing what a chicken should look like is important. Knowing the pieces you can get from an actual chicken is important. It is having simple knowledge like this that helps us to reconnect.

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