There is a lot of fashionable language around all things foody just now but how much of it is really new? Frankly – none of it if you look back in time! Let’s get down to the crux of it – what on does AUTHENTIC really mean? And what about SUSTAINABLE, CONSCIOUS or PLANT BASED for just a few examples?
Haven’t we always known about how we should respect our food origins and adopt a “waste not want not” and using what you have to hand – philosophy and if you are from a generation who hasn’t grown up around this language, then this really might be new to, in which case just ask a Grandparent (or Great Grandparent if you are lucky enough to have one) what they did to eat well before the mass explosion of super processed food and a fast food option on every corner!
Re-branding isn’t the same as re-inventing and no amount of fancy “trending” terminology will change that! The truth is that you can never go far wrong by simply going back to basics – some of us are living proof that good, old fashioned homestyle cooking was never a lifestyle choice – you made it or you didn’t eat, simple and honest. Of course it helped if you grew a bit of veg or salad back then but life has moved on and, of course, with the demands of modern living many people will never grown their own food – ever! Nobody is questioning that but what we can do is make sure we support our Farmers, local suppliers and high street greengrocers by actually buying, cooking and eating them. It really isn’t complicated and with so many food programs and youtubers showing us the way to make interesting meals simply and cheaply is there really an excuse not to re-visit these old values?
Although, that said, I personally remember LOL at some of the seriously cheesy (but hilarious) comedy programs around in the late 70’s & 80’s where the joke was on the housewife or mother who crucified every meal she served up (and yes, it is a fact that back in the day it was always the women in those sitcoms that fulfilled the “lovely mum – terrible cook” role) and oh how we laughed! The best ones featured a middle class couple (Mr & Mrs Farrington Smog Blythe or some such) who, desperate to keep up appearances and hide the terrible fact that she could not cook to save her life (or anybody else’s it seems!).
Anyway, the fun always came when the neighbours/friends/family were invited to a delicious homecooked dinner and, naturally a pudding was very much included. Of course, we know where this is going and it is not the hostess who is slaving over the oven to prepare these delights but a mere servant, of the paid help variety, who followed her orders explicitly to conjur up the said meal which could be discreetly and convincingly taken out of the oven at the opportune moment to impress the guests. As you would expect something generally went against plan and there was always some fun to be had for the viewer but it does make you wonder how far from the truth these ridiculous events were!
But, back to the present and the good news is that you don’t have to cook a homemade meal 7 days a week, you can simply set aside a couple of nights a week to prepare, and sit down to, a comforting family meal. Nobody expects you to grow your veg but please, please do at least include a healthy variety of fresh ingredients in your meals and make them as interesting as possible. The even better news is that if your lifestyle still doesn’t make that a possibility then there is a new concept available to us of at least how, when and where we can obtain properly cooked meals that the whole family can enjoy – without the actual cooking bit. Look up your local PRE-BOOK KITCHEN or RESTAURANT etc. and take a break from overly processed foods, fat laden takeaways & the myriad of fast foods and re-discover the taste of proper food, just like our parents and grandparents cooked for their families.
And you don’t even have to pretend you cooked it anymore! Let’s face it: feeding your family a decent meal hasn’t changed that much but modern world humour has and the 1980’s comedy sketches we loved then just aren’t that funny anymore – so do go back to good oldstyle once in a while but do it your way.