the changing tide of recipes

2012-11-01 08.39.41popping up recently on pinterest: lots of “just one cookie” or “just two cupcakes” recipes. How is our eating changing such that we have never needed or wanted this sort of recipe before? I’ve seen some of these photo-recipes with captions like, “I live alone, so this is PERFECT!”–that’s one reason–more people are living alone today than in the past; people used to live with their siblings or their parents or have their grandparents live with them, and now, instead, we’re all living by ourselves. There’s no one with whom to share the batch of cookies or cupcakes, so we make just one or two.

I wonder if we have always eaten so many sweets. I didn’t grow up in a house that had baked goods or sweets just lying around. A box of cookies was a big treat, as was birthday cake. Pies were never seen, and dinner had no regular connection with dessert. I suspect that sugar and butter used to be less-regular items on our recipe pages and shopping lists–foodstuffs have become much less expensive in the last decades, and perhaps that’s another reason we may eat more sweets: enjoying them is not nearly the financial obstacle it used to be.

If we didn’t always used to eat so many sweets, then we probably only ate them on celebratory occasions, going out to dinner, having a party, gathering people together for a birthday or anniversary–times when we’d have a whole bunch of people who could polish off a platter of cookies or a whole cake.

A very wise woman (who lives alone) observed to me this week, “It’s all about eating together, isn’t it?”

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