All cooks are criminals
Yes, all cooks are criminals. And not because we are tough, tattooed, gang of hard drinkers, drug abusers… Not all of us are like that. But we are, all of us, criminals.
Because that is our job. We take perfectly good, healthy products of nature and then invent new ways how to make them less healthy and nutritious as possible; how to cover, fill or wrap them with as much of the most unhealthy food or edible chemicals we can – with butter, salt, sugar, fat, cheese, flour, alcohol, smoke; then pass them through hellfire, deep fry, dehydrate them, ferment them, fill them with bacteria or gas.
And all of that just to make the food taste good.
Yes, there are some restaurants that prepare mostly raw, bland – but healthy food. But there are no cooks working there. There is no cooking worth mentioning going on there. Cooking food is the criminal act of making the food unhealthy but delicious.
Just an example. I do wedding food. Not much room there for creativity, innovation, audacity. I have to make food that everybody, not just foodies, but everybody, grandma and grandpa and kids and teens will recognize and equally love or at least accept it. When I do changes in the recipes, those are subtle and hidden, designed to bust the original flavors, like dry forest mushrooms cooked in the marsala sauce, wine&soy marinated sirloin, sugar in the water for cooking vegetables etc.
I used to have steamed seasonal vegetables as one of the side dishes, mostly broccoli, green beans, some baby carrots or peppers for color. (Side note: I was amazed to discover the other day that every single person working in my kitchen believed that baby carrots were some kind of different carrots, or normal carrots picked up young. Side side note: they aren’t, WTF, they are just normal carrots that were too ugly or oddly shaped for the market, heavily peeled and pencil sharpened into uniform little baby carrot shapes).
Anyway, I used to serve this steamed vegetables lightly drizzled with butter. Nobody complained, but I noticed more and more people ordering grilled summer vegetables, and those are way more work and trouble to make. So, what I did was starting to serve the steamed vegetables with a new sauce I concocted, made with equal amount of butter and creme fraiche and some other unhealthy spices to give it yellowish color and strong, salty flavour. Crowds went nuts. I had to double the portions on those.
What I am trying to say is, even if we wanted to cook healthy, we can not do it for the masses. The masses want salty, sweet, caramelized, burnt, fat food. The food that, for some weird evolutionary unexplainable reason, to us tastes good, and then harms us.
And that is why we, cooks, are criminals.