A survey published recently which found that most people have a repertoire of only four or five recipes which they cook time and time again. The most commonly cooked family meals?
- Spag Bol
- Roast Dinner
- Sausage and Mash
- Stir Fry
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Chilli Con Carne
- Shepherd’s pie
- Fish and Chips
With spag bol being cooked twice a week by over 6 million people.
One can’t help feeling that the number of people who actually cook Chicken Tikka rather than re-heat a ready meal is pretty slim. And fish and chips?
As with all surveys, you have to question the motives of those who commission it. In this case, learning that the survey was paid for by Loyd Grossman’s company (manufacturers of jars of ready-made sauces) gives a clue to the viewpoint in question.
Mr G. is saying that people are stuck in a rut, lacking in ideas and what they need is a jar of sauce!!
Surely what is needed is an improved range of knowledge about techniques and ingredients. A box of minced beef fried up to slush with onions is only ever that, regardless of whatever flavour sauce is poured on top. But that mince could be turned into fresh burgers, meatballs, meatloaf, lasagne, bastitsio or stuffed into any variety of cabbage, aubergine, pepper or tomato. Not to mention keema curry!
When Loyd Grossman presented Masterchef he helped stimulate ideas about techniques and ingredients. Now all he is doing is encouraging laziness in the kitchen and limiting people’s culinary horizons.
I am a sad enough foodie that I actually keep a food log of each day’s main meals. I went back over the last 10 Tuesdays. This is what we had:
- Cottage pie (made with minced leftover roast lamb).
- Baked Salmon Steaks
- Pea and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
- Cold gammon Knuckle with parsnip mash
- Baked Salmon Fillet on a bed of celeriac and carrot
- Grilled Mackerel and trout with a warm ratatouille and couscous
- Belly of pork braised with ginger, star anise and soy
- Chinese Take Away (!) (I had the ‘flu)
- Shop bought chicken curries (Ditto)
- Casserole of
(lamb shoulder) chops. Dublin
By and large, simple ingredients, simply prepared. And not a jar of sauce in sight….