Shopping and Ingredients

Question: What did we do in the days before supermarkets, ready meals and takeaways.  Answer: We ate proper food bought from local shops, cooked at home and we sat around a table to eat.

The old days
root vegetables
A long, long time ago supermarkets only really sold pet food, things in tins and toilet paper.  Nowadays they still sell pet food, things in tins and toilet paper but the average supermarket probably carries over thirty thousand different lines compared to about four thousand less than twenty years ago.

The way we buy food now has changed beyond recognition.  It is claimed by the major supermarkets that they give the consumer greater choice but what we are increasingly being offered is simply the choice between one supermarket and another because just four majors now account for eighty per cent of the spend on food in the UK.

The lack of interest in cooking and food preparation at home and the enjoyment that comes from sharing a meal with other family members has declined to such an extent that a quarter of all households in the UK no longer possess a dining table.  We have become a grab and go, food as fuel society and this decline has evolved as the dominance of supermarkets continues to grow.

hot roast chickenSimple food
It used to be simple to prepare a meal, you paid a visit to the butcher or the fishmonger for some meat or fish, you bought potatoes and other vegetables at the greengrocer and you took them home.

You fried a lamb chop or some liver or poached a piece of haddock in some milk, boiled a few potatoes and some form of green vegetable and that was that.  To follow you may have had rice pudding (homemade) or even just some bread and jam. Simple, filling and nourishing.

How times have changed and not necessarily for the better. Everywhere we turn there are books about food, wall to wall TV series about cooking.  A variety of irritating TV chefs bombard us with displays of pan frying, sugar spinning and fusion food (so often a combination of the unspeakable to create the inedible) that is enough to terrify anyone and put them off cooking for life.

Then there are all the experts, government bodies and self proclaimed nutritionists chucking in their penny’s worth of conflicting advice Don’t eat red meat. Detox. Eat organic.  Drink more water.  Don’t use butter.  Eat more fish.  Drink less alcohol.  Eat seasonally.  Eat raw food.  Fat will kill you.  Sugar will kill you quicker.  Support farmers in Africa.  Food miles.  Supermarkets are good. Supermarkets are the work of the devil.  Etc. Etc. Etc.   Is it really any wonder that so many people in this country no longer know what to eat, what to buy or how to cook?

It may well be that in your life after divorce you will need to prepare meals for yourself for the first time for a very long time.  It is not difficult. It is not scary and it needn’t cost a fortune.  If you have survived the divorce and the ensuing fallout you can make yourself something sensible – and delicious – to eat.  If you lack confidence in your abilities in the kitchen, do not despair, just forget all the nonsense about food that is hurled about from all directions and get a good simple recipe and have a go.


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