Reviews of Homeward Bound

“3.5 out of 4 stars” - People Magazine                                                               “The brilliance of Emily Matchar’s new book is that it exhaustively describes what disillusioned workers are opting into: a slower, more sustainable, and more self-sufficient lifestyle that’s focused on the home. Matchar synthesizes dozens of trend stories … into a single, compelling narrative about the resurgence of domesticity….Refreshing.” -The New Republic                                                       "[P]rovocatively explores what the movement says about the role of women in society today.” – The New Yorker                                                                       "I unreservedly loved it…It’s empathetic and funny and thoughtful and smart, and I encourage all of you to read it."– The Hairpin                                                         “Cogently argues that choosing a more hands-on, DIY lifestyle – family farming, canning, crafting, can, without sacrificing feminism’s hard-won gains, improve on an earlier time when ‘people lived more lightly on the earth and relied less on corporations, and family and community came first.’” - ELLE                                                               “[I]ntelligent and insightful...essential reading.” - Christianity Today                                                       “A lively and perceptive reporter… a valuable and astute assessment.”—Publishers Weekly                                                         “A well-researched look at the resurgence of home life…. Offers intriguing insight into the renaissance of old-fashioned home traditions.”— Kirkus Reviews

What is New Domesticity?

This blog is a look at the social movement I call ‘New Domesticity’ – the fascination with reviving “lost” domestic arts like canning, bread-baking, knitting, chicken-raising, etc. Why are women of my generation, the daughters of post-Betty Friedan feminists, embracing the domestic tasks that our mothers and grandmothers so eagerly shrugged off? Why has the image of the blissfully domestic supermom overtaken the Sex & the City-style single urban careerist as the media’s feminine ideal? Where does this movement come from? What does it mean for women? For families? For society?                                                                                     My book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, which explores New Domesticity in greater depth, will be published by Simon & Schuster in May 2013.

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Why healthy fast food would be awesome and I would eat it all the time

At The Atlantic, I’ve written about why healthy fast food should be a goal for food reformers. So much progressive food culture centers around promoting home cooking as a solution to obesity and other social woes – Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move, every other Mark Bittman column in the New York Times.

Great, I say. But why not promote cheap, healthy fast food as an equally good option for improving America’s health? I think part of it is this:

Yet America, even as it reaches for convenience, has the deep seated belief that cooking is a personal obligation, and that shirking this obligation is lazy, harmful, bad.

Thoughts? If you could eat healthy, cheap fast food every night, would you still cook? Do you like to cook? If not, do you feel bad about it?


7 comments to Why healthy fast food would be awesome and I would eat it all the time

  • May I offer Victoria’s Big Wheel Burger | Quality burgers, shakes, sodas and fries. Fresh, pretty darn local, and quite good for fast food.

    I don’t like to cook, but my wife does. And when I cook, I am too cheap even for fast food. Burritos are my friend. Or pickle soup. Or especially lentil soup. Or pasta with red sauce from our home-canned tomatoes.

    So, no, we don’t fast food often, but it is fun to go to Big Wheel once a month or so.

  • Hmmm. Well, I don’t feel guilty on nights I can’t cook. Busy happens. OTOH, this isn’t just a matter of health. It’s a matter of economics. Has anyone else noticed that “value” meals have gone waaaaaaaaaaaay up in price lately? It’s becoming cheaper to eat at home once again… ;)

  • I would appreciate healthy fast food. I order take out frequently, which is not always fast but we have such a large variety of choices we can make it healthy with ease. The only time I find myself eating fast food is in times of desperation- such as on a poorly planned road trip. I’d love to find an organic salad, or bison burger, or even just a real smoothie made of actual fruit! With so many mixes and chemicals and GMOs…I feel like I’ve eaten posion…if it were healthy, organic, real food…I’d be a fan!

  • Kuri

    I think there already is some healthy fast food options. A Subway salad or wrap with lots of veggies is difficult to criticize from a health/nutrition perspective and the Chopped Leaf salad I got for lunch is relatively healthy. There are relatively healthy fast food options. Even McDonald’s and some other major chains offer grilled chicken sandwiches and the like. Most mall food courts offer some Asian fast food options, and a food court pho is my go-to “I have a cold” meal.

    So I think it depends on what you mean by healthy. There already are plenty of options that are rich in vegetables and low-fat/low-sugar (although you equally have the option to be high-fat/high-sugar, too). If healthy means small scale and organic, then it may indeed be fundamentally incompatible with the fast food model, which is by design, a large-scale, factory style food production.

    I still cook most of the time, because I enjoy it and it’s a lot cheaper. The Chopped leaf salad I had today was a little over $10, and I could make three or four identical salads for that same money with grocery store ingredients. But on a Monday morning where I derped out and forgot to bring a lunch to the office, I still have plenty of healthy (by my definition anyway) options. I feel bad about not cooking or forgetting to pack a lunch primarily for financial reasons, not health or nutrition ones.

  • Joy

    I would LOVE it if there were healthy and cheap fast food options. In my opinion, even the “healthy” options at most fast food joints are still full of sodium and have things like nutritionally-lacking iceberg lettuce and the like. I’ve been learning to cook the past couple of years and DO enjoy it, like you mention in your article, because I work in front of a computer all day and it’s actually nice to be on my feet and have some music on and get into the meditative state of chopping and stirring. BUT I hate it when I’m busy and feel like there are no healthy, affordable options besides taking the hour and a half to cook, consume, and clean up after a meal for myself and my husband. I’ve wondered how I’ll do it when we have kids…and in that case, it would be even nicer to have these kinds of options!

    I remember a British friend telling me that in England it’s easier to pick up prepared foods that are healthy, “whole” foods for a decent price.

  • Oh MAN if there were delicious healthy food options in fast food operations, stick a fork in me, I’d be D-O-N-E! My little family is on the go A LOT and this would be an excellent solution to some of the trash we put into our bodies! I think this would be an excellent way to show an evolving and conscientiousness way for the fast food industry to catch up and start having a positive impact on society at large while still keeping prices low and making a profit. I think this would also be a great way to bring a ton more options to low income families who rely on the cheap food provided at fast food restaurants.

    I also think this would encourage more of a wholesome look at cooking, nutrition and food culture. As you pointed out, it’s seen (and felt-golly!) as a moral failing when one doesn’t spend time cooking and preparing ones own food. Perhaps healthy fast food options would open up that culture and make it a more pervasive and uplifting aspect of our lives as opposed to a moral judgment on those with little time or money to invest in such things.

    Plus, seriously, Bojangles gets gross after the 14th or 15th morning of having it. REally.

  • I agree with this, 100%.