Video: Michael Ruhlman on Cooking

"Cooking made us human, cooking can keep us human, cooking can make us even more human," Michael Ruhlman says in this short video shot after the closing panel at the Blogher food conference.

We dare you to watch his passionate speech about the importance of home cooking and not be inspired!

(Warning: the video contains a couple NSFW words.)

Ruhlman was inspired by the book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, by Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham, which argues that the advent of cooking long ago led to important changes in humans, like larger brains and a penchant for pair bonding.

In the 1950s, Ruhlman says, we let corporations start cooking for us, with disastrous results: the obesity epidemic, environmental damage, social alienation and sky-rocketing divorce rates. He doesn't claim that all of these problems are directly caused by the outsourcing of our cooking, of course, but we can see the underlying connection.

When we are away from our kitchens for too long, when we eat quick meals purchased away from home too many days in a row, when our fridges are empty because we've been too busy to shop, we feel that disconnect from the rhythms of life, our own and our families'. Likewise, when we are preparing good meals every night, sitting down to eat and talk with friends around a table, cooking that favorite recipe that makes the whole house smell like home, we are connected to those around us and ourselves. This is why we cook.

More on the making of the video:
The Courage of Ideas: Michael Ruhlman Had Something To Say - White On Rice Couple
Had Something to Say - Michael Ruhlman

What do you think of the idea that cooking makes us human? Why do you cook?

Related: Cooking Without Recipes: Michael Ruhlman on Ratios

(Image: Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest)

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Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.