Challop (noun) – plural : challops
1: Abbreviation for challenging opinion.
2: An irregularly published column on website Good Food Revolution.
Now I’m well aware that this may sound a bit like a manifestation of old-man-yells-at-cloud syndrome, but just the other day I was winding my way down a sunny Dundas West when I happened to look up and spy the billboard above. To say that it instantly infuriated me would be a massive understatement; by the time I had arrived home I was a enormous ball of frustration at the modern world. I had to calm myself down with a nice cup of tea.
A few years ago I was sharing a drink or two with an old friend and telling him that one of my greatest pleasures in life was a simple roast chicken. He looked slightly bemused. “You actually cook a whole raw chicken yourself?” he asked. It turns out that he didn’t have the first idea how to do this, the whole idea of cooking anything being completely abstract to him. I have to admit that I was utterly astonished that a grown man had never learned to cook for himself. I guess that this fellow sustained himself on a combination of restaurant, prepared, and delivery food, but still I was so very puzzled that a person I know could go through life without ever having learned even the very basics of cooking.
I launched myself into my first kitchen adventures with some gusto in my very first year at university in London, UK. I had done some basic calculations and worked out that entertaining a girl at one’s flat with a home-cooked supper was one hell of a lot less expensive that taking her out to a restaurant (I’m Scottish, remember). Of course this plan of action came with with the added bonus of not having to go to the trouble of convincing her to come back to yours for a coffee or whatever afterwards, as she was already there. A captive audience, so to speak.
Needless to say, I had many kitchen/dating disaster combos over the years, but I always persevered, and to this day I feel that there are very few things more satisfying that cooking dinner for someone you love. Saying that, I also find it immensely rewarding to cook for oneself, and when I was a single chap took great care with my own victuals, occasionally preparing complex, multi-course dinners for one before getting stuck into an all-night Battlestar Galactica marathon.
Back to the billboard… I know it’s just supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign, but for me it seemed to encapsulate so much that I despise about contemporary life and where we are headed, despite its correct use of the Oxford comma. Much has been written about the detrimental effect that delivery apps and services are having upon the restaurant industry the world over, as has been witnessed anecdotally by so many of my restaurant owner friends. And so that’s a problem right there.
Also, I’ve never been much of a fan of delivery food myself as I find that most of it arrives in a seriously sorry state as, pizza and Indian aside, most restaurant food really doesn’t travel all that well. Especially not when transported upon the back of some zero-hour-contract gig economy stooge.
Is our increasingly on-demand culture dumbing us down to such a point where people aren’t even expected to know how to prepare a simple omelette or suchlike? Is our society so intensely work-focused that people cannot find the time for the pleasures of preparing a home-cooked meal for friends, family, or themselves? Is a general sense of apathy or malaise responsible for some many people who just simply cannot be bothered going to the “trouble” of cooking? I truly despair for future generations who are getting further and further away from the actual sources of their food. And modern technology is just worsening this already pitiful situation.
Skip the recipe?
Learn to f****** cook you lazy bastards!
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he can be a grumpy old git at times.