No Run Today
I went to bed last night with a pretty good feeling that today’s scheduled 20-miler wasn’t going to happen. Pretty soon after I finished writing yesterday, I crashed. I got really cold and lost all my energy.
In fact, since Erin was busy, we just ordered pizza for dinner. On a Sunday! My balls-to-the-wall cooking day! So you know something must have been wrong.
I woke up this morning feeling hungover. Odd, considering I didn’t drink anything yesterday. Nothing terrible, but if you’re a marathoner, or even a half marathoner, you know that attempting long runs when you’re feeling any less than 100% is a recipe for disaster.
So I’m planning to get up early tomorrow and do the 20 before I go into school. I don’t expect whatever this is to last—I haven’t had a sickness last more than 24 hours in two years, and even that was just a weird head cold. So not to worry, readers. The run will get done, and the training will go on!
Stop Watching People Cook and Start Doing It
This little bit of extra time today has afforded me the opportunity to read a fantastic article by Michael Pollan, called “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch.” If you’ve read this blog since the beginning, you know that I’m a big fan of his since reading In Defense of Food (and I’ve heard The Omnivore’s Dilemma is even better). I even went to see him speak in Baltimore.
This article has rekindled the fire in my loins that In Defense of Food started. It’s about food television, and the way that Americans are now spending far more time watching people cook than they spend actually cooking. “Watching people cook” isn’t even the right phrase, because that implies that some iota of learning might occur in the process, the way it did when people watched Julia Child (or so I’ve come to believe; I’m too young to have watched Julia).
When we watch Iron Chef, for example, are we really taking anything from it that’s going to put better food on our table? Of course not. We’re watching a frenzied sport, an exciting orgy of culinary prowess that has nothing to do with real cooking, the way a shootout in soccer or hockey is an incredibly entertaining contest that really has nothing to do with the actual sport.
But what really makes this article resonate with me is the underlying message that rings true for so much more than cooking: Stop watching people do stuff; get your butt off the couch and do it yourself! (Remember how I’m a sucker for the Tony Robbins stuff, too?) As far as we know, we’re alive on this earth one time. One single time. Is watching someone cook, or exercise, or decorate a house on television really the way you want to spend it?
If it interests you, do it yourself.
Yes, it takes effort. Yes, it takes energy. It’s not quite as enjoyable as watching it, at first, because there’s even a chance you’ll fail. (When’s the last time someone said you sucked at watching Top Chef?)
Get over it. Doing things is what fulfills us, and doing things is what we’re meant to do. (Duh.)
So come on, do something today. Don’t leave that same comment you always leave on your favorite blog, the one that says “This looks so good! I’m definitely going to try it sometime,” and then forget about it a minute later. Write it down, print out the recipe, whatever it takes, and make it tonight.
Stop watching people do things. Do something.
Ok, I’ve calmed down. But do check out the article. It’s eight pages long, so it takes a little while, but stick with it. Especially if you haven’t read In Defense of Food or any of Pollan’s other stuff, the last two pages are a good way to get the gist of his message. So is the quote at the very end:
“You want Americans to eat less? I have the diet for you. It’s short, and it’s simple. Here’s my diet plan: Cook it yourself. That’s it. Eat anything you want — just as long as you’re willing to cook it yourself.”
Two more interesting things, kind of unrelated to the main point of the article, but that I would like your input on:
- Men cook only 13% of the few meals that are cooked at home these days, women the other 87%. This is funny, because in my house I cook the 87%. But I do only 13% of the lawn-moving; that’s Erin’s job. Some friends of mine found this fact hilarious the other day. What do you think? Weird?
- Pollan, in talking about the advent of cooking and the evolution of man, claims that cooking food makes it much more easily digestible, leaving us with more energy for other things. But everything I’ve learned about the raw food movement tells me otherwise. What gives?