Friday, September 26, 2014

Some thoughts on home-cooked meals

Sarah Kliff has an interesting interview about new research into home-cooking habits viz. income. A few thoughts:

1. This type of small-n ethnographic research is not designed to elucidate facts across large populations, but rather develop a rich, thick understanding of specific families' food lives. The incredible local variation in food habits means this approach is often better than large-scale statistical aggregation surveys. In fact, food habit research probably has more in common with ecology's concept of 'patch dynamics' than anything else.

2. Pre-made rotisserie chickens from supermarkets are an underappreciated strategy for quickly supplying a cheap, healthy meal. In fact, the reasons for why these chickens are so cheap remains a somewhat controversial topic in economics.

3. The folk theory that many poor families eat unhealthy takeout food often because of its cheapness and convenience is challenged here, interestingly. Interesting follow-up data for me would be to see how and to what degree families press young children into service preparing and purchasing food, especially across incomes.

4. Much household turbulence seems to stem from the time-consuming nature of preparing good meals. Although the science hasn't been sufficiently popularized yet, I assume that in the near future very-low-carbohydrate diets will be seen as an effective strategy for reducing the social burden of healthy food prep among all socioeconomic cohorts. This is mostly due to the increased ability to go for longer periods without eating on this diet.

5. How could the internet and the 'sharing economy' reduce the difficulty of gaining access to healthy home-cooked meals? An Uber-style distributed peer-to-peer meal preparation network could accomplish this, as well as increasing employment and utilization of underused assets like kitchens and kitchen utilities. I assume the regulatory hurdles could prove difficult to overcome, unfortunately.

No comments:

Post a Comment