Perhaps in connection with the premiere this week of the film Julia and Julie, there was an interesting article in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine by Michael Pollan–here’s a URL to it that you can copy and pasted into your browser. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/magazine/02cooking-t.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=Pollan&st=cse
Pollan charts the rise of the visual where we watch people preparing food, all the while forgetting how to do it ourselves. And he cites a study from 2003 by Harvard economists that found the rise of food preparation outside the home could explain the increase in obesity in America. Mass production has driven down the costs of the food that we eat and made what previously was a laborious task wonderfully easy. An excellent example is the french fry–now listed as America’s favorite vegetable, but only since industry has relieved us of the burden of preparing them from scratch.
The study found that the amount of time cooking predicts obesity inversely. I.e., the more time spent cooking the less like you are to be fat.
Perhaps the current economic woes of the restaurant industry may produce a healthy by-product in more svelte citizens…except that the fast food portion of the restaurant industry seems to be doing just fine.