The Daily Feed: One Touch Cooking Jumps the Shark

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry after reading Kim Severson’s article “Fast-Food Mentality Enters the Home” in yesterday’s New York Times Dining section. Laugh, because new oven models now have chicken nugget buttons, or cry because, well, new ovens now have chicken nugget buttons. How hard is it read the box and set your oven to the proper temperature? Is using a timer suddenly a hardship?

As if that weren’t enough, manufacturers, Severson writes, have also developed a “pizza bump,” a specially designed attachment to cook frozen pizzas in a variety of appliances. I feel like Seth Meyers on SNL.  “Really, manufacturers? A pizza bump? A chicken nuggets button?  REALLY?”

But it’s not their fault, for they conducted research, and if it didn’t look like people would actually pay good money for these conveniences I’m guessing they wouldn’t have earmarked R&D budgets to develop them.  Give the people what they want, right?

But let’s look to the future. Extrapolating this trend to its logical conclusion brings the Jetsons’ world ever closer, where food is cooked in a micro-instant at the touch of a single button. Want a steak, mashed potatoes, and a green salad? Push a button. Want a poached fish with a lemon beurre blanc? Another button. It’s all well and good if our sole culinary priority as a society is to maximize speed and convenience, but for many of us cooking is a journey, not just a destination.



Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule.

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