A New Manifesto for Non-Cooks (You Might Even Be One Yourself)

Evan Harris in her East Hampton home, just after the No More Not Cooking adventures first began.

Edible East End readers will be familiar with the occasional “No More Not Cooking” essays from East Hampton writer Evan Harris, in which Harris explores the limits (and the potential reform) of her aversions to cooking. The pieces feature the cooking insights of Harris’s friends and family, and are always humorous and entertaining, not to mention insightful about both cooks and non-cooks.

Now, as the latest expansion in this series (we’ve been hoping Harris would compile a book on the subject), Harris has launched a “Picky Grouchy Non-Cook” weblog that will serve as a repository for her evolving thoughts on the fear of cooking and a clearinghouse for information intended to diagnosis and help the non-cooks in all our lives.

There’s a checklist for answering the question, “Are you a non-cook?” There’s a “Non-Cook of the Month” section that currently features novelist Lydia Millet. And there’s plenty of encouragement for those who are ashamed of their non-cooking, including this: “Being the best non-cook you can be means never ever apologizing for that thing you made that was supposed to be dinner, or showing up to a pot luck supper with a jar of pickles, or refusing to acknowledge the difference between saute and fry.” (Follow the blog on Facebook for updates.)

Moving beyond the No-More Not Cooking adventures in which Harris learns to make fish cakes, chicken potpie and roasted vegetables and chicken, as well as her respectable showing at a high-profile cookie swap party, Harris is now building a manifesto that includes clearer definitions of the different types of non-cooks, presumably in an effort to ensure them equal rights and respect in food and drink experiences. (Book publishers and agents, please take note: There are lots of types of non-cooks out there, even as we become a country that watches lots of food television and surfs recipe Websites.)