Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easy Things

On a perfect rainy Sunday afternoon (rare in Southern California), my perfect thing is to make sauce for a nice rainy-day dinner. The simmering smell takes me back and makes everything feel extra homey.

Cooking is fun for me and I love when I can do it. I like spending time in the kitchen, I love my enameled cast-iron (as constant readers know), and I get to thinking of things as I prepare ingredients. Today, it was of chopping onions. We have so many fun tools to chop onions, so that our hands don't have to smell. So that it's fast and easy. So we don't cry from the odor. I've had these things. They are made of plastic. When they break, we throw them away, because hey, they are cheap, and wow, you can't fix them AT ALL. Plastic things, when broken, are usually rendered useless. I would actually never remember to grab this thing. I like chopping onions with a knife. A good chef's knife is the best thing in the world for your kitchen. I don't care that my onions pieces are not uniform. I don't care that my hands smell like onions for a few minutes afterwards. I don't mind that it takes a few extra minutes.

Why this driving need for ease and convenience and making everything so darn mess-free? Why do we not give a second thought to what we are doing in the long run, simply because we think the worst thing in the world is to have to handle an onion for a few minutes? To me, activities are more worth-while if I have to spend time and care on them. So, why all this stuff? Choppers, cutters, food processors, every single one of them made of cheap plastic and designed to break after just a little bit of time, so that a new one needs to be purchased by the same consumer.

Isn't that kind of insane? Is it me? I think it's a little insane. How long do we keep a good knife over a lifetime, versus how many of these things? What are we doing with all this extra time we have from these things? Why don't we just value the time it takes to do things anymore?