Tuesday, 29 May 2012

From scratch

I still can't get used to eating heat-n-eats. It has to be a really bad day for me to produce a meal like that. It simply feels strange opening packages to create a meal, without cleaning and chopping, frying or boiling, and possibly roasting anything, especially when I know I can prepare the same food with fresh ingredients. This pre-supposes that I have the fresh ingredients needed to cook with, and at the right price, which not everyone has access to, which of course I do. This has come at a personal price - we sacrifice our spare time by spending it on planting a garden, maintaining fruit orchards and foraging, not to mention the preparation and cooking of all our natural food.

I've made it easier on myself by preparing food overnight for the next day's meals, given that we are all working or studying. I also prepare some meals in large batches, where appropriate, so that the meal lasts two days. Many people shy away from leftovers, feeling that they may not be edible after more than a day, but I've never found that with my home-made meals, as long as they are stored appropriately (eg in the refrigerator); some meals even improve in flavour as they age (eg stews).

Chicken jalfreyzi, asparagus spears, curry balls, oven fries - they all came from heat'n'eat packets. Only the rice was prepared 'from scratch'.

Over a heat'n'eat dinner in London, I joked with the UK side of my family, telling them that they don't really know what's in their food if they keep eating whatever comes out of a packet. It's rare for anyone in our house to simply open a packet, place the contents on a plate, heat it up in a microwave and say: "Lunch is ready!" I'm sometimes scolded by very busy people for believing that cooking is easy, but being a very busy person myself, throughout my blog, I don't think I've ever shown anything that is too complicated to be prepared by a novice. But as I mentioned above, the fresh ingredients have to be available at a decent price, and I've noticed that this is not the case everywhere.

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