If I’ve learned anything from this year’s South by Southwest, it is that it’s easier than ever to not cook.
I was on a panel last week with Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, Anna Tauzin Rice of the Texas Restaurant Association and Jag Bath, CEO of Favor, where we talked for an hour about all the new ways that consumers are getting food today: in a box or bag delivered to their front door in every state of production, from a CSA box with produce fresh from the field to an online grocery delivery from Instacart to a hot meal from Favor to a meal kit from Blue Apron. (You can search the hashtag #newfoodsxsw on Twitter to see audience tweets from the session.)
And all those options are just for how we’re getting food at home.
How, where and why we buy food has changed at every meal — and every minute of snacking in between. Earlier in the conference, I heard a conversation led by Epicurious editor David Tamarkin about the state of cooking and what we can or should do about it.
The panelists all had interesting answers. Go to Facebook to watch our livestreams, said the Food Network producer. Buy our meal kits, said the meal kit founder. Said the rep from 365 by Whole Foods Market on the panel: Come to our grocery store to buy fresh ingredients to cook, or a meal kit, or a fully prepared meal that requires no cooking at all.
I’m not sure how cooking at home will evolve as revolutionary changes continue to come down the pipeline, but it was good to go over so many aspects of the food system in some very good panels at this year’s SXSW.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the state of home cooking amid all this disruption and innovation in the food system. Do meal kits replace trips to the grocery store or to a restaurant? Where are the new places where people are learning how to cook, besides the Internet? Do you just prefer to get takeout? Share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-912-2504.
To get you back into your kitchen if you haven’t been in awhile, check out some of the photos that readers have submitted recently to our #Austin360Cooks project on Instagram. I’ve seen so many dishes that could be mistaken for takeout that I’m going to do a story on takeout dishes you can make at home here in a few weeks. Share your recipes and photos with me by using the hashtag or reaching out via email at email@example.com.