Bourdain’s basic argument, which has also been made elsewhere, is that every person should have the basic knowledge and skills to feed themselves a decent meal. This is knowledge that has been gradually lost with the demise of home ec classes in school and the convenience of pre-made grocery store meals.
Of course, no one really wants a return to the fussy, boring home ec classes of yore. (Yes, I’m old enough that I remember these!) So Bourdain’s idea is to make cooking cool. Or more to the point, to make not cooking decidedly un-cool. Wouldn’t it be great, he says, if in the future “it’s the kid who can’t roast a chicken who should be considered the ‘spaz.’”
But back to those basic skills. Here’s what Bourdain thinks everyone should know:
• Chopping an onion
• Making an omelet
• Roasting a chicken
• The correct way to grill and rest a steak
• Cooking vegetables to desired doneness
• Making a vinaigrette
• Shop for fresh produce
• Buying a fish, cleaning it, and making it
• Roasting meat
• Roasting and mashing potatoes
• Braising meats and vegetables
• What to do with bones (a.k.a. How to make stock)
Sounds like a pretty good list to us! Though we’d probably add a few baking-related skills in there. We think everyone should know how to make chocolate chip cookies, a loaf of bread, and a birthday cake.
Do you agree? What would you add?
(Image: Emma Christensen)