"Thirty years ago, a recipe would say, 'Add two eggs,' " said Bonnie Slotnick, a longtime cookbook editor and owner of a rare-cookbook shop in New York's Greenwich Village. "In the '80s, that was changed to 'beat two eggs until lightly mixed.' By the '90s, you had to write, 'In a small bowl, using a fork, beat two eggs,' " she said. "We joke that the next step will be, 'Using your right hand, pick up a fork and . . .' "
I would, though, have liked more examples of why this dumbing down has occured as the following suggests that there are some seriously confused people out there:
At a conference last December, Stephen W. Sanger, chairman and chief executive of General Mills Inc., noted the sad state of culinary affairs and described the kind of e-mails and calls the company gets asking for cooking advice: the person who didn't have any eggs for baking and asked if a peach would do instead, for example; and the man who railed about the fire that resulted when he thought he was following instructions to grease the bottom of the pan -- the outside of the pan.
I do cook and fairly well at that. I remember having lessons at junior school and at comprehensive: have these stopped or are they optional? I also would do rice or pasta for meals my Mother had pre-made for when she wasn't going to be home before my brother and me. And, yes, I messed these up from time to time through inattention or wrong proportions or bad timing or whatever, but steadily you get a feel for how long things should take and how much care they need. Though even today I can get distracted (damn Xbox) and overcook pasta, but the essential idea that much of cooking is about timing I learnt from doing these simple things first.
So it seems to me that the problem is that people have neglected some basic cooking skills at an early age, burnt rice and sludgy pasta are part of the learning curve no matter what age you start, but now the TV tells us we should be able to throw together a sumptious banquet from whatever we have handy in the fridge, with maybe a couple of hours spent down at your local organic market, and those combined give you the burning oil above.
Via Accidental Hedonist.