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Cork Independent

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Some things are meant to take longer!

Wednesday, 31st July, 2019 4:21pm

For the last two years, celebrity chefs on all channels tell us that we can cook a dinner in 30 or 15 minutes by using ready-made products like pre-peeled and chopped vegetables, jarred sauces etc.

Listening to these chefs, cooking seems to be a tedious chore rather than a wonderful activity that happens to feed yourself and your loved ones.

The corporate food industry offers us products to ‘help’ us creating ‘tasty’ meals without the tasks of searching for the plumpest tomatoes, ripe avocados, best cut of meat and engaging with greengrocers and butchers.

Are we really too busy to take the joy out of cooking? And can food really taste as good if not cooked with love and care but rather with rush and inferior ingredients?

Don’t get me wrong, I have shortcuts and cheats in some cases. When I would like to make a tomato soup, I tend to take a tin of tomatoes, add stock, roasted onions, garlic and herbs and whizz it all up, cook and et voila, you have tomato soup – tinned tomatoes or passata are great staples to have in your pantry.

Frozen peas can always be found in my freezer and puff pastry is just too convenient not to buy ready-made but that is the end of my cheating.

Cooking and indeed baking can be very therapeutic – make time, let your creativity loose and get some headspace.

For me, cooking and baking is just that – time for myself, thoughts running through my head and I come up with great ideas for projects while stirring sauces, peeling and chopping vegetables and seasoning meat before bringing the whole meal together and setting the table.

And when you have children, cooking time could be a great bonding opportunity.

I had the best conversations with my mum and grandmother while they were preparing dinner.

Later, when I was old enough to help with the peeling and preparations, the conversations became even more meaningful as I was mostly alone with the two most important women in my life.

When I first lived on my own, cooking for myself became an activity that gave me joy and the feeling of being all grown up (according to my mum, I never actually grew up). When my mum became ill, I started cooking for her once a week to give her a break (my mum didn’t believe that her illness should stop her from looking after her family – so once a week was a big thing for her). And again, it was time just between my mum and me.

Let’s start a new revolution and take time to cook and start ignoring spiralized courgette or cauliflower rice (so much cheaper to ‘rice’ it up yourself if you have to have cauliflower rice) and teach your children about food and enjoy the pleasure of feeding yourself and your loved ones.

Cooking and baking got me through heartbreak, sorrow and even anger. My first heartbreak got me baking amazing cakes and biscuits, which I took to work every second day – until I was asked by one of my colleagues to dump the guy as the team was putting on too much weight (I followed his advice by the way). Happy cooking and baking!

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