Taco Bell Is Cheap, Until It Isn't

Some great comments in the food thread. I just wanted to respond to one of them, or part of one of them:

I would disagree that there aren't more society-wide implications for this. Yes, many individuals in many households are simply working too hard to spend more hours at home cooking a meal. Privelige plays a part. And yes, you can't argue that you missed your kid's soccer game because you were brining a turkey. But isn't this a false choice? What about all those long hours that we Americans are spending watching tv? We can't really sacrifice - I'm going there - an hour of Mad Men or Housewives of New Jersey or whatever to spend an hour a night preparing a meal? And I would also say that we shouldn't equivocate too much home cooked meals with fast food. The trick is to get the family involved, so that no one is really eating a meal that meal that someone else prepared for them. It adds to the family time and cuts down on the prep time.

This gets to the core of things, and really strikes a cord with me, given that I tossed my television. But we need to think of human beings as human beings, and not as machines. I'm glad I got rid of my TV, but the fact of the matter is I still enjoy quite a bit of leisure time. When others are in front of the boob-tube, I'm running around Azeroth masquerading as a red-headed elf. Which is better? Probably neither. But I'd argue that they're both essential.

It's become clear to me that while it's always smart to interrogate your leisure time, you shouldn't see it as expendable. Thus, I actually don't pit cooking against World Of Warcraft, I pit it against things like finishing an article, working on my blog, getting my son to football practice etc. That may sound crazy, but it works well, actually. Most of my responsibilities are of my choosing and they're very important to me. I want to get that article done. I want to have more blog posts up. I want to get the kid to practice. I like playing WoW. But rarely am I going to spend a day doing it. But I'd spend a day cooking, if I had the energy.

Now again, perhaps this is my privilege showing. (I'm working hard to avoid snobbery.) But I deeply suspect just like fast food, there are real reasons why people would rather watch Real Housewives than cook from scratch, and I don't think they have much to do with being lazy. ("Lazy" is just another question, anyway. "Why are they lazy?") I'm not a neurologist but I bet that that leisure has a lot to do with how the whole society works at the moment.

That's the main reason I argued that I'm not sure that my solutions are societies. All of these factors work together. You can't simply stop eating fast food. You have to change a host of behaviors related to why you eat fast food, or why you watch Real Housewives. It's all connected, no?