Blogging Gastronomica: Convenience Food and Eating on the Go

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

In her Gastronomica article, “Grab and Go – A Restless Nation Tanks Up,” Maggie Jackson quotes a 7-Eleven store manager whom she interviewed:

“We’ve taken the memories of home-baked banana nut loaf and turned them into a convenient on-the-go snack.”

Reading this just about broke our home-cooking hearts. Hear more about Jackson’s perspective – and tell us yours – after the jump.

Jackson’s article primarily focuses on the idea that food in America is no longer really food – it’s fuel. Not only is it designed and packaged for convenient snacking, but it’s eaten on the go.

Jackson also points out the disturbing parallels between America’s car culture and how we treat our bodies. That is to say, we treat our bodies like cars: vehicles that need to be occasionally refueled and that help get us from place to place. When the only function of food is to give us the energy to keep working, things like taste and pleasure become secondary.

While Jackson’s observations aren’t exactly new to us – Michael Pollan and others have been making similar arguments – these issues are always good to revisit, especially in light of Home Cooking Month here at the Kitchn.

Something we’re still working to resolve for ourselves is this issue of eating on the go. While we’re making the majority of our meals at home, we are still in the habit of eating it while doing something else: A bowl of soup in front of the computer, a home-made snack during our commute, a quick sandwich before a meeting. We have to ask ourselves how often we stop to appreciate the food we’ve taken the time to cook.

Some of this is unavoidable given the fact that, well, many of us are pretty busy people. But some of it isn’t. We struggle to find the balance.

What do you think?

• “Grab and Go – A Restless Nation Tanks Up,” by Maggie Jackson is in the Summer 2008 issue of Gastronomica, available at many bookstores. Subscriptions to Gastronomica are $48 and are available through their website.

(Image: Emmanuel Sougez, Still life with Lemons and Siphon, 1926-1928. Autochrome. 17.9 x 12.9 cm. Private collection, courtesy of Hans P. Kraus, Jr., New York, via Gastronomica)