Is today’s home cook, well, lazy? If so, the pressure is on. The Food Network and Cooking Channel make it look too easy. Honestly, though, most of us belong in Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”
The dissonance between fantasy and reality has certainly entered the kitchen with the plethora of meal-delivery kits like HelloFresh and Plated. Now it’s moving to a full boil.
Whole Foods Market is now offering a “produce butcher” in its Bryant Park location in New York City. The butcher will slice, dice, cut or julienne whatever produce item the customer requests. While this level of service doesn’t come free — it’s $1 per pound — it might save a few tears when chopping onions, or a few stitches from cutting butternut squash.
Mario Batali’s Eataly has offered this service for a number of years, for free. The vegetable butcher can also answer questions about vegetable preparation and cooking.
What this says about society isn’t clear. Is it that we’re lazy in the kitchen, or that we lack know-how? In reality, it’s probably some of both.
Kudos to Eataly and Whole Foods for noticing this opportunity and being willing to fill the void. “Butcher” or not, the rise in pre-prepared produce is certainly on point. Earlier this year, Del Monte introduced a line of pre-cut “noodles” in zucchini, butternut squash, sweet potato, beet, carrot and yellow squash lines. As anyone who has tried to spiralize their own vegetables can attest, it’s a welcome time — and mess — saver.