Originally Posted by siduri
Thanks for starting this thread, Koukovagia, you took the words right out of my mouth. I am horrified that here in Italy, the Land of Food, people don;t know how to cook. I guess many more do cook here than there, but still, it's so depressing to go to a potluck supper. Oh my god, spare me. It usually consists of about ten cardboard trays from takeout pizza a taglio places (the big square pizza they sell from giant trays in square pieces) a few fried things from the same places (rice balls, potato croquettes) and maybe one person's rice salad or peperonata or something like that. Deserts are either a very dry cake or pastry trays from a pastry shop. It would be unfair to say all do that, but it;s so common and so unexpected that it's depressing.
Going to people's houses for supper i often have to sit on my hands to prevent me from rudely grabbing the frying pan out of their hand when they put the meat on the cold oiled frying pan and THEN turn on the stove!
When I think Italy, I think Italian mommas spending half the day in the kitchen with the bambinos learning at their heels, or standing on a chair or stool "helping" but learning, and the poppas outside making tomato sauce in summer. Guess that's not the case anymore.
Used to be a time you would take the dog for a walk, and try and figure out what was being cooking in each house just by sniffing the air, specially on a Sunday - roasts are easy to pick out by the aroma. Now, you hardly ever get that air of a community cooking for itself. My kids say they know when they are close to home because they can smell my cooking, and their friends in the street would say the same thing. This sounds like pride, but I would get requests from their friends to come around just for my mashed potatoes
I know one of our neighbours cook. Come 5.30pm out comes the cleaver....chop chop chop
Then the sizzling of the wok. Other neighbour, well, I think he must live on dust.
When we went home a couple of years ago, we visited some old friends, mid 40s, for what they descirbed as a bbq. Umm, I love them to death, but the food - let me describe it. Very dry chicken on skewers, black burnt sausages, bowl of lettuce (no dressing), sliced white bread. That's it. They are well off, so that was not the issue. Lovely people, but can't cook. Their sons (15 and 11) did the meat. Well, yes, they are being encouraged, but not lead or instructed. There's a world of difference.
What I like to see in the store is someone with a trolley full of fresh fruit, veg, meats, breads, all that sort of thing. I know they are gonna be cooking up a storm and eating right. And if they have their young ones with them - getting them to help choose the produce, asking them and showing them what's ripe and what's not worth buying etc etc.