Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Privilege Check: Tempura

So not just tempura, but any time-intensive food. My partner and I have been trying to eat out less and make more food ourselves (partially due to reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, partially due to our recent decision to stop eating fish, and partially due to the crappy economy). This has led us to baking our own bread and frying our own vegetable tempura last night.

While homebaked french bread is worth the effort, the hours one must tend to the dough (granted, lots of time it's just sitting there rising) is a bit much. I'm sure you could just let the dough rise once, and do it overnight or something, but it's not the easiest thing to make time for.

Additionally, if you don't have a big deep-frying machine, or are willing to keep a pot filled with oil, just cooking the damn tempura takes a while. I think we spent maybe an hour or so just battering and frying the veggies.

So I'm sure maybe we could have been more efficient, but I'm really thankful that we have the privilege to be able to take our time and really cook for ourselves. I'm sure there are tons of other dishes (especially if you eat meat) that take waaaay longer to prepare/simmer/cook/etc. However, when you figure that fast food is cheaper and faster, I'm sure having a homecooked (usually more healthy, although with tempura this is a bit hazy) meal is a luxury unaffordable to many.

1 comment:

  1. wow.Cooking is a privilege that I take for granted. Growing up in Indonesia, I remember that "fast-food" was considered a luxury -- it was "American." There was 1 KFC, and maybe 1 MC'Ds in the 1980s. My mom tried so hard to make me "homecooked McDonalds" because we couldn't afford the real kind. To me, at that time, fast food was a privilege and home cooked meals were a dis-privilege - as a kid, I thought only rich white Americans could afford to eat out and save themselves time by not cooking. But things have really changed -- we've industrialized the fast food and reduced the price for each meal at the cost of consumer health. What was once a rare expensive treat is now a mass marketed surplus. So now, it's being able to cook healthy meals at home that becomes a privilege. It's really interesting, how time/money privilege paradigm switched on me when I moved between countries.