I’d Settle for a Sandwich

I need to admit, right from the start, that I’ve been sucked in again. I’ve started watching the new season of MasterChef. (I even have a favourite. I don’t know that he’ll make it all the way but I’m already a big fan of 61 year old Kumar.)

I also watched a number of episodes of My Kitchen Rules when it was on the telly.

Now that the confessions are out the way, I’m wondering what effect the latest bunch of cooking and food related television programs are having on the way we cook and the ways in which we relate to friends and family.

I love the fact that the people on these programs have a passion for food. I did a four year cooking apprenticeship and became a chef around thirty years ago and I’ve never had the passion for food and cooking that these people do. (Which probably explains why I left the industry as soon as I got my qualifications.) To see someone doing something that lights up their face and their heart is a wonderful thing, but where does that leave the rest of us?

I’m wondering if we are turning food into art and creating an expectation that we try something new and innovative when we invite friends over for a meal. Are we afraid to put simple food in front of people? Are we missing opportunities to interact with friends because we haven’t got the time and talent to produce a food masterpiece?

I really don’t think it’s the intention of these programs to create that kind of expectation but I wonder if that’s what’s happening anyway? Are we now putting pressure on ourselves to only ever invite people into a ‘display home’ for a range of expertly prepared ‘culinary delights’? I really enjoy lovingly prepared food that’s out of the ordinary and I love the opportunity to try something different if someone really wants to prepare something special, but in the end, I’d settle for a sandwich. Not because I love sandwiches (not really one of my favourite foods) or that I can’t appreciate the difference, but because what I really value is good company.

I don’t care if a home isn’t neat or if the food served would never make it to the table in a restaurant, what I do care about is good times with good friends.

What do you think? Do you avoid inviting people into your home because it’s too much effort? Do you think that cooking shows can build unrealistic expectations? Please leave a comment or two in the comments section of this post.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Once again I have also been hooked in to the watching of these shows that fill our screens; my wife seems to have a permanent booking to the remote control when these programs hit the airwaves. Although we have like many other households multiple television sets I tend to resist the urge to watch something different on another set but simply endure the 60 – 90 minutes and refine my culinary skills and knowledge a bit more and when the next opportunity presents itself I’ll try to put my learning into practice.

    Like you Rodney I feel the need to invite people over for a meal is about the company and food gives a reason for your guests to come over, we all have to eat. Friends I think appreciate your effort more if a home cooked meal is presented before them, I know I do.

    These shows do give the ordinary would be ‘chef’ a chance to improve their skills somewhat but there will always be a need for takeaway meals and Restaurants to fill the need of the ‘disastrous home chefs’ that even burn water somehow.

    Order the Pizza and buy the slab of beer or just fire up the barbeque and on with the steak, it’s a safe alternative but it’s not really the same as slaving over a cook top for hours providing a decent meal and getting complemented for it. Reward for effort wins every time in my book.

    Regards Mike.

  • We tend to watch it as well, probably more so this year as one of the contestants is a extended family member, but I have to say if it was not for the connection I probably wouldn’t bother. I am not enjoying the tone of the program.

  • Thanks so much for the encouragement to invite folks over even just to share the simple place and food that we live in. I have felt twinges of not wanting to invite folks over because it is not all perfect. Having the gifting of hospitality I am now convinced that I need to go ahead and get some sandwich meat and gather folks together.

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