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Eating in – theme overview

Use this theme overview to support your teaching of the Eating in inquiry unit.

The kitchen has long been the hub of the home, a site of both physical and spiritual nourishment.

It is also a place where gender roles are played out and conflicts arise over domestic arrangements, and where social change has subverted the assumption that women do most of the cooking.

Time in the kitchen is often limited, and many people now rely on convenience foods. This is despite increasing media pressure to create restaurant-quality meals at home and to prepare everything from scratch. Supermarkets offer recipe cards that promote their fresh produce, and yet the freezer aisles are tremendously full and diverse. Food marketing is pervasive and offers up mixed messages on what we should be eating. We have an endless array of options, from organic and free-range to pre-cooked and snap-frozen.

Despite the overwhelming availability of pre-packaged, ready-to-eat meals from supermarkets and fast-food outlets, cooking at home is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Spurred on by celebrity cooking shows and the MasterChef phenomenon, home cooks are constantly encouraged to attempt new recipes using fresh, gourmet ingredients, whether it is for fun, experimentation, good health, entertaining or as a way of keeping the family budget under control.

Information about cooking readily flows from television programs, food magazines, cookbooks, newspaper supplements and blogs. There may be a current media obsession with food, but are we really cooking more than we used to or is food just the latest fad?