Debate: Too Lazy to Cook?

Are you too lazy to cook? Do you believe it to be too time-consuming, or that you don’t have the skills? We are here to argue that it is not only easier than you think, but it is worth the extra bit of effort on many fronts.

Standing in your kitchen, you have the power to do everything from protecting your health and that of the planet, to improving your own finances and that of ethical producers who deserve your support. We call it ‘voting with your skillet’!

Incidentally, there is still time to sign up for the HuffPost Green’s just-begun Week of Eating In. We defy you to do so, or at least take steps towards changing what you put in your mouth.

What is your excuse?

As a practiced (and practicing) home-cooker, this writer is amazed that such encouragement is necessary. Despite all the information and inspiration out there, there are still far too many of us in affluent countries who mainly eat out, fuel ourselves with pre-prepared things, and/or regularly add water to packaged stuff we falsely call ‘food’ and then claim we have ‘cooked’. Are you guilty? What is your excuse?


Need inspiration? Browse the concoctions of the food-blogging crowd at


Thankfully, these days there are many big names advocating realistic solutions to the problem, and its consequence of rising obesity rates (not to mention the climate change and resource issues surrounding industrial farming, processing and packaging). Just last week, the first lady of the United States launched a program to encourage food retailers to bring supermarkets to low-income areas currently served only by convenience stores and gas stations. Britain’s boyish celebrity chef Jaime Oliver too has garnered much attention with his food awareness campaigns.

While nation-wide programs and campaigns are fine and good, slow food begins at home, does it not? Fine, you may not yet (note the emphasis here) be anywhere near a gourmet chef, to the point where everything and anything is still more appealing than your own concoctions. However, the HuffPost’s challenge was inspired by Cathy Erway (author of The Art of Eating In) whose blog, Not Eating Out in New York, is not only chock full of awesome cooking tips, but is also proof that temptation is cerebral. If she can resist, can’t you?

Only three ingredients

Now, if we’ve convinced you to dig out your spatula or wooden spoon, there is a related hurdle that should be mentioned. If you’re going to make the culinary commitment, would it not be worth making the effort to first pick your purchases more carefully? When it comes to doing the groceries, choosing can certainly present a minefield. These days however, is there really any justification for continued unawareness or indifference to food issues?

The first step is to revolutionize the way you think about what is healthy. For that, it’s easy to turn to someone like our favourite food guru, Michael Pollan. His latest book, Food Rules (review coming soon), is a pocket guide that will simplify what seems like a daunting task: eating wisely. Pollan’s long-standing opinion is that we should eat whole foods, mostly plants, and avoid the processed stuff like the plague. Do you disagree?

The next move is to learn how to keep the ethical considerations in our minds as we browse the shops. This great post counsels us to simply consider the tree-to-shelf impacts of our choices, such as avoiding “diva” soft fruits that need air freighting, constant chilling and non-recyclable plastic protection from squishing.

So, in the end it’s really a simple three-step recipe: 1) think about the tree-to-shelf impacts of your 2) whole foods and then 3) cook ‘em.

Easy as home-baked pie, is it not?

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Debate 2.0: Too lazy to cook? by Carol Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Carol is a journalist with a green heart who believes that presenting information in a positive and accessible manner is essential to activating more people to join the search for equitable and sustainable solutions to global problems. A native of Montreal, Canada, she joined the UNU communications team in 2008 while living in Tokyo and, after relocating to Vancouver, continued to telecommute to Our World as writer/editor through 2015.