Over a number of years I helped out at our local foodbank. (I had to finish for health reasons during the pandemic). One thing I noticed over that time is so many people (especially younger folks), just don’t know how to make a meal from scratch.
An enduring memory whilst serving at foodbank, is asking a young mother if she’d like a bag of flour that had been donated and she looked at me in puzzlement as she asked me what she should do with it. I was a tad flabbergasted to say the least. (It’s one of the first things I’d have picked up).
Obviously not everyone is as hopeless as that when it comes to cooking, In fact a lot of my younger friends can put me to shame with their hints and tips on how to make a ‘little bit’ stretch a long way. I do find it worrisome though that many people especially with young children, struggle to put a nutritious home cooked meal on the table yet have no compunction in going to their local fast food outlet to buy their children a ‘happy meal’
Many of us live in hard times at the moment with not a lot of money to go round. Often, there’s just too much month left at the end of our money. I know it can be difficult, Husband and I have been there ourselves back in the early years of our marriage. As a child with 6 siblings and a single mother, we were desperately poor I have enduring memories of my mum struggling to copper up to buy a loaf of bread.
Yet I often wonder if some people were to manage their money better and make wiser choices with what they do have to spend, the levels of debt and hardship they endure would decrease, even if only slightly. I know a number of people who manage very well on a very limited income because of the wise choices they make when it comes to managing their money. I’m not saying its easy to manage on a limited income. (I’d never say that). What I am saying is sometimes we need to be a bit more mindful of how we spend the money we do have.
A lot of the food we eat is processed. I hasten to add I don’t have a problem with processed food, because it certainly has it’s place. I have plenty of tins in my store cupboards, but I use them to supplement other meals as added ingredients etc. I’m talking baked beans, tinned tomatoes, chick peas etc. What I have a problem with is when it becomes a person’s staple diet. Sometimes in an emergency it can’t be helped, (Such as emergency foodbank food). But long term eating just processed food isn’t conducive to good health. There have been a variety of study’s showing a diet based on mostly processed food can lead to long term health problems.
The same goes for takeaway food which is usually saturated in unhealthy fats and suspicious additives. We’ve had our share of takeaways over the years, but I had an epiphany years ago. Realising exactly how many we’d had over a monthly period was shocking, (Not to mention the expense), and how bad they are for us was a tad sobering. So I made the decision to cut them down if not out completely.
Now we have fakeaway’s. We make our own pizza’s, once or twice a month rather than buying from the local pizza place. I make pizza dough from scratch in my bread machine, roll it out into pizza trays and use my own ingredients. It’s a lot healthier than buying pizza as a takeaway and they taste just as good. When the grandkids were younger, they were actively involved in making and cooking them, they loved making homemade pizza’s. My teenage granddaughter Jessica often makes them for the family now as well as home made fajitas etc.
I also make up recipes for Chinese and Indian style food. which also go down a treat. We still have the odd takeaway, but it’s probably only every other month or so. Hubby and the family much prefers my versions which are a lot more healthy and can be eaten guilt free.
It makes me cringe when on the very odd occasions I go to McDonald’s I see small children diving into their happy meals. I see nothing happy about them. As a treat once a month it’s fine, but after working with some parent’s who attend our foodbanks I’ve come to realise these meals are often the main meal of the day for some children because their parent’s have no idea how to cook. At time of writing, a happy meal is £3.49. I could cook a healthy delicious 2 course meal for a family of 4 for that!
So it’s my mission to share some of the recipes I’ve not only been using for years, but also investigate new ones. I want to prove how easy it can be. And guess what, if you make the odd mistake, it doesn’t matter.
Hope you enjoy cooking from scratch, I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions for any favorite recipes you may also have.