Monday, March 20, 2006

Whaddya mean simmer?

According to this article, fewer and fewer Americans have a basic cooking vocabulary.
At Kraft Foods, recipes never include words like “dredge” and “sauté.” Betty Crocker recipes avoid “braise” and “truss.” Land O' Lakes has all but banned “fold” and “cream” from its cooking instructions. And Pillsbury carefully sidesteps “simmer” and “sear.”

When the country's top food companies want to create recipes that millions of Americans will be able to understand, there seems to be one guiding principle: They need to be written for a nation of culinary illiterates.

Ouch. Is it really that bad? One speculative reason given that many of today's adults had mom's that worked full time, hence no kitchen knowledge. That can't be it--BOTH of my parents worked full time, yet they were able to teach me the basics--how to follow a recipe, how to make a roux, how to grease the INSIDE of the pan (yes, according to the article some folks think you should grease the outside).

4 comments:

Rorie said...

Who are these people that don't know what 'simmer' means?

Jill said...

I must confess I wouldn't know what to do if a recipe told me to dredge something. But I do know to grease the insides of pans!

Erin S. said...

I'm with ya Jill--there are certain cooking terms I don't know either, or I need to see to understand (stiff peaks, for example, when whipping egg whites). However, I prefer Joy of Cooking's technique (outlined the article) of having a comprehensive glossary, rather than dumbing everything down.

Carrie said...

I'm a youngster and I know the basics. I mean, it's not that hard to follow a recipie.

I think the problem is that people want everything laid out for them word for word. It's like when there's a sign for the bathroom that points and people look at it and then ask where the bathroom is.