The Culture in Kitchens : Good article from the New England Review Here's a sample-
Culture begins and ends on a plate. A proper wake is followed by good food and drink for good reason; a testament to life even without the guest of honor. We eat to live and then we live to eat. From the earliest times, food played a key role in the spiritual and literal growth of families and a larger society. An infant bonds with its mother while nursing; families bond when they share food. We define hospitality with friends by inviting them to break bread – or share a refreshing adult beverage. Alas, eating plays a central role in both civility and civilization.
There are probably a dozen or more reasons why we believe we can not cook for, or eat with, our families. Yet, none of the excuses are as persuasive as the common sense for dining at home: economy, health, and education.
A single 20lb sack of rice is a testimony to the economics of home cooking. This ten dollar investment provides 220 servings at a nickel a portion. Chicken might be had at the same store for as little as .99 cents a pound. A chicken (8oz portion) and rice dinner, at home, costs .55 cents. If you boil the bird, you have the makings of soup. Throw in a vegetable and fruit for dessert and you have a five course meal for less than a US dollar.
Your cat or dog chow is more expensive! No junk food joint can beat the price of home cooking. Your kitchen has an added value; the kids get to watch, participate, and learn.