Monday’s ‘Fresh Air’ touches on food and high concert prices

I always like listening to the diverse topics discussed on public radio, but Monday’s “Fresh Air” seemed to hit a lot of high notes in my book. There were discussions about the increasing popularity of cooking shows and a look at ticket prices at concerts.

First, guest host Dave Davies chatted with Michael Pollan whose recent New York Times Magazine story touched on how Americans love watching cooking shows, but we’re actually cooking less. It was a great interview and had some sobering information.

Pollan said Americans spend an average of 24 minutes per day cooking in the kitchen and about 4 minutes doing dishes. He compared that figure to the fact that some cooking shows last twice as long as some people spend in the kitchen.

Looking toward the future, Pollan cited some marketers who feel that home cooking may fall by the wayside, much like killing, bleeding and plucking a bird if you wanted chicken for dinner.

I admit that I don’t cook at home as much as I should. I loved watching cooking shows, ranging from what Pollan called “dump-and-stir” instructional programs to the competitive shows like “Iron Chef.”

Cooking shows provide me some cultural insight and some ideas for meals (although it doesn’t necessarily translate to my kitchen). Some of the competitive programs are over the top and don’t provide direct ties to home cooking. However, Iron Chef gave me a greater appreciation of cooking and Japanese culture. Programs like “Good Eats” and “Molto Mario”  showed me essential ingredients and cooking techniques that helped in the kitchen.

In the second segment, John Seabrook discussed the live music industry following his recent article in The New Yorker.

The interesting aspect of that conversation was about Internet scalping driving up ticket prices. Seabrook said ticket prices may be set lower than full market value to encourage sell-outs and that full venues help the bottom line for parking and concessions.

I really enjoyed the discussion, but I still have strong feelings about scalpers, online or otherwise. It is fascinating how the Internet has legitimatized something that was previously illegal in many states and just a little bit scuzzy.

It miffs me that people who have no interest whatsoever in attending an event buying up and reselling tons of tickets to line their own pockets. On the other hand, I’m more understanding of season-ticket holders and others selling tickets to events they intended to attend.

Ultimately, I think scalpers needlessly drive up the cost of attending an event and I want to have no part of it even if it means that I don’t get to go.