Kitchen Education Manifesto

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I discovered this, written by a Shaker while I was studying at the Culinary Institute of America. One of the most fantastic aspects of that school is the huge library they have of culinary works from across the centuries. I was writing a paper on the Shakers. When I first read this I got goose bumps and my spine shivered.

Unfortunately the people who are in positions of power currently in our world are generally on pretty bad diets. Couple that with high stress lifestyles and we have a perfect recipe for paranoid, grumpy and negative thinking personalities. Is it really such a good idea to let people like this run our world? The following, written by a Western Plowman and published in The Shaker Manifesto of September of 1883, lays this out in clear language.

Kitchen Education

The origin of many troubles which afflict mankind may be traced to a disordered stomach. No doubt but some of our bad legislation may be attributed to indigestible hotel breakfasts, and the burdens of sorrow produced by social disturbances have no more prolific contributor than the disordered stomach which produces disordered minds.

To raise the average of mortality, happiness and prosperity of the people, the science of eating must be given a more prominent place in our educational system. Through ignorance, and much of it inexcusable, we eat disease, we drink it and breathe it.

What to eat, how to cook it and when and how to eat it are certainly subjects of study, quite as practical and beneficial as the study of the conjugation of Greek verbs.

Isn’t it a little strange that while we employ the best medical skill we can obtain to cure disease, we turn our stomachs over to ignorant chefs and allow them to cram it with dietetic abominations which ruin its functions and produce disease?

If talent, genius and skill are looking for a good missionary field, the kitchen is the great uncivilized realm. We want the coming generation to be taught how to cook intelligently.

Give the stomach good, wholesome food, and it will fill your veins with pure blood which in turn will give you a healthy brain and drive away the whole brood of manufactured troubles.

We have had education for the parlor, and we are a nation of dyspeptics. Now, as a matter of experiment let us try education for the kitchen.

I come from a missionary background. My parents were missionaries to Papua New Guinea, before them my grandparents on my mother’s side were missionaries to Burma (Myanmar) and on my father’s side to Assam, India. As a result I have developed a severe distaste for trying to preach or convert anyone to a particular set of beliefs, while at the same time wishing I had a personal life mission of my own to believe in passionately and that might have a positive impact on this earth.

The above quote from the Western Plowman is what Hella Delicious is all about. We need to know what we are eating as it does indeed affect all the other aspects of our emotions and inevitably our politics.

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