I love to cook. I went through a phase when I rarely cooked. The Boy was two, we were living on our own, I was working late nights, and I was tired. I didn’t think that there was any point in cooking a proper meal just for us. Then, one day I thought, “I like cooking, and we both like eating” so there is a point! So, I started making huge Sunday roasts for my little man and me and experimenting with cooking a lot more. Because I liked it.
That’s probably the first time I did. Before then I’d basically opened packets and jars and put things in the oven or microwave. I could do a little more, like adding some mushrooms to a jar of pasta sauce. But, I’d never really tried. I was quite liberating experimenting with flavours and ingredients without having another adult around to tell me what I was doing. Michael loved everything I made and took my way as the right way without question. I wish he still did that now!
So, since then, I’ve made almost everything from scratch. There are huge benefits to cooking this way, and I certainly hope that some of my recipes can help other families to do the same.
Ready meals can be super cheap. But, let’s face it they are quite often shit, and very small. When you cook from scratch, you can actually save a fortune. Yes, you need to buy herbs and spices, but that one tub of turmeric isn’t going to make one meal. It’s going to make hundreds! You can also batch cook and freeze things, making your money go much, much further.
We don’t eat healthy meals as such; we eat tasty meals. But, we know exactly what we are putting into our bodies. Yes, some of the meat I use is fatty, but it tastes great, and if I know it’s going to release lots of fats and juices I’ll cook it in a non-stick pan with no oil. When you know what you are working with you can make compromises and changes elsewhere. You also avoid preservatives and processed foods, and you can substitute lower fat alternatives when you want to.
Cooking is great fun, and you’ll burn a lot more calories standing to chop than you will sitting on the sofa waiting for the microwave to ping. I like to put some music on, or something on Netflix and leave the kids in the next room. I dance around the kitchen, or clear my mind, and focus on what I’m doing. It’s great fun and a rare chance to take some time for yourself.
You Have all of the Control
As I say, you can substitute ingredients; you can make changes, you can try different things. You’re not tied to the ingredients in a pre-packaged meal; you can do what you want. If you want it spicier, do it. If you hate coriander, skip it. You are in control. As a parent, it can sometimes feel like all control is slipping away. Not in my kitchen!
When I first started sharing recipes, I remember saying to Jim “what about when I run out of things to cook?” and he said, “That will never happen!” and you know what, he’s right. It won’t. Not all of my recipes are vastly different, some just feature different quantities or one different ingredient. Some are the same but in different flavours. But, if you cook from scratch, you’ll never run out of new things to try. It’s limitless. I’m not a particularly creative person when it comes to things like arts and crafts, but I can be creative in the kitchen. You also get to test out your problem-solving skills coming up with solutions to things that have gone wrong!
Cooking from scratch, and enjoying it, means that you get to try loads of gorgeous foods. Could there be a better benefit than that?