Interesting thread. There is no doubt that there generations of people who just don't know about food. Look at the increading focus of TV cooking shows actually teaching people what this ingredient is, how to cook a very basic meal, how it can save them thousands of dollars over a year - plus it tastes better and saves time. They are asked what they usually eat - Answer: takeout or frozen then nuked. Or those meals in a can - the only skill is using a can opener and a microwave
I say if you don't learn while you are young, the fast food habit is a hard habit to break. That doesn't mean we should give up on them. If you think they are good for it, encourage those you know to try cooking, hold their hand, show them through it if possible. But is does become generational which is not good.
I do hold out hope for my daughter and her group of friends though. Its odd, all of them are foodies and can cook up a storm. I feel intimidated sometimes when they come for dinner, almost, but I'm not too bad a cook and they seem to enjoy it. Clean plates
It is very encouraging to hear them talk about preparing food from scratch, methods to use, what goes with what. We're talking about late teens here. Mind you, most have worked in kichens, or whose parent/s are past or current chefs/cooks. One has parents who run a restaurant with a smokehouse combined with it - he knows how to cook. Maybe its the creative methodical frame of mind that brought them all together as friends. And they've all gone on to Uni after college, so they are able to fend for themselves.
Our boarder (daughter's friend) and I have debates about stuff like for example, oil the pan or oil the steak etc etc. It's fun. So there is hope yet. It takes a parent who can cook to show the child, so that child can grow up and show their child.