The Question

Nowadays, food has become easier to prepare. Has this change improved the way people live? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.


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Sample Essay

               It is easier to prepare food today than ever before in history.  I strongly believe that changes in food preparation methods have had a positive effect on people’s lives.  I feel this way for two reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.

               To begin with, changes in the way we cook food have increased the opportunities that women have to work outside of the home.  In the past, married women were expected to be homemakers who managed their household and prepared two or three meals a day for their family.  While women still struggle with this burden, recent improvements in how food is prepared make it easier for them to balance having a career with their family obligations.  My older sister is a great example of this.  Every day she prepares two meals a day for her family of five while also working as a business executive at a major corporation.  Her work takes up an inordinate amount of her time, so she takes advantage of her microwave and of pre-prepared foods to very quickly put food on the table at mealtimes.  I often compare her to our mother, who did not have access to either a microwave or to instant foods.  She had to spend hours in the kitchen every day and as a result she was not able to follow her dreams of finding employment in the business world.

               Secondly, changes in the way food is prepared have had positive health effects on society.  In the past, quickly prepared food was mostly unhealthy.  It consisted mainly of frozen “TV Dinners” which were high in fat and calories and low in vitamins and nutrients.  Now, however, we can use modern technology to prepare meals that are both fast and nutritious.  Microwaves are not used only to heat up prepared foods, but to create real dishes that use whole ingredients.  People everywhere can now pick up a variety of healthy vegetables at their supermarket and use the Internet to find a microwave recipe that will quickly turn them into a delicious treat.  This is precisely what my sister often does; her children mostly eat microwaved meals, but they are strong and healthy youngsters. 

               In conclusion, I strongly believe that changes to the way we prepare our meals have had a positive effect on the way we live our lives.  This is because they have made it easier for women to work outside of the home, and because they make it possible for us to consume meals that are both quick and healthy.

(the above essay question came from the fourth edition of the Official Guide to the TOEFL)