I am the least impressive cook you will ever see. I am completely without knife skills, I screw things up all the time. When I’m in the kitchen I’m not obsessively trying to create the perfect dish; I’m trying to put dinner on the table. Comparing yourself to the people who cook on television is like comparing yourself to Andre Agassi. If you can drive you can cook.
If you can drive, you can cook. Yes!
But the converse isn’t necessarily true. I cook pretty well (though, like Bittman, I’m not very impressive to watch in the kitchen). But I’m a horrible driver. I can manage a sharp knife on a cutting board (though with no special skill); but operating heavy machinery at high speeds among other rashly licensed incompetents just stresses me out. In other words, driving well is infinitely harder than cooking a decent meal. I much prefer to get around by my own two feet–and leave long-distance transport to professionals, preferably train operators. In this country, we cede cooking to the pros (from burger flippers to celebrity chefs) and generally take care of our own transportation, in privatized little pods that cavalierly (and inefficiently) burn a titanically potent energy source.
Has anyone noticed that our preferred transportation mode is rather dangerous? In a typical year, there are more than 2 million car crashes in the United States, resulting in more than 40,000 deaths. If similar carnage occurred in the kitchen, the authorities would long since have banned home cooking.
So, um … down with driving, and up with home cooking! And, uh, up with trains and down with highways! Damn it!