The saying goes that the way to a man’s heart is through their stomach, and I literally have no idea how I won over my husband if this is the case. My husband trained at Leith’s food and wine and has a confidence in the kitchen that I envy from afar. And by afar, I mean from the sofa with a large glass of wine. And most importantly he finds it therapeutic. And it is this that truly boggles my mind. I come out in a cold sweat when I have to chop anything – only managing to not slice off a finger by remembering one vital lesson from Home Economics when I was 11, to make a bridge over the veg with your hand and cut inside.
However, I often think about the effect food has on memories of feelings and nostalgia. How a certain dish, or smell can take you back to a moment in time so vividly. When I think of my childhood in general I might remember my bedroom, and being tucked in to bed, or wrestling with my siblings, or all sitting around and watching a film on the TV whilst I drew Stop Smoking signs which I then stuck on trees around the neighbourhood (I was a very passionate 10 year old on this subject matter!)
But it is when I think of meals that I remember those little moments that might have escaped your memory otherwise. For instance, if I think of my favourite dish growing up that my Mum would make - a peanut satay stir fry - I can vividly remember her standing by the hob, stirring and the small talk we would be having. Not a monumental memory at all in the back log of memories I hold dear, but one that has a familiarity to it and a warmth because it isn’t surrounded by an event or some landmark. It was just us, in the kitchen, chatting away over a stir fry cooking.
Or the smell of a roast chicken cooking in the oven, and suddenly I can remember every detail of our kitchen table and all the crockery that that the food was served in – things I haven’t thought about for so long, such as the gravy boat in the shape of a sheep. That feeling of all coming together around the table, in our seats that we had somehow all taken ownership over. The playful fear that our Dad might steal a roast potato off our plate if we didn’t eat them quickly. The flavour of the mint sauce mixed with the gravy and the Yorkshire pudding. Food holds a window into so many special insignificant family moments that become so very significant at an older age.
My memory of my Mum in the kitchen is that she didn’t love to cook – it wasn’t a passion. I, like most children, loved my Mum’s cooking more than anyone else’s but if I think about the repertoire of dishes I can remember her making I struggle to get to 10. The things she did make, she made excellently, but there wasn’t the excitement to create that I see as I watch my husband from afar.
Thinking of these memories fills me with the sense to build up my own catalogue of meals and recipes that my kids will remember fondly when they are older and might remind them of a moment in time that in years to come will bring comfort and happiness as they think of it. However, having two little ones that are still very young, working part time and having a pretty hectic social life, cooking and prepping and chopping and preparing all fill me with a slight sense of dread. And as I mentioned earlier, the cold sweats!
But then this week I was introduced to a range of products at Asda that quite literally have revolutionised how I feel towards cooking. Asda’s Frozen Scratch Cook range is simply mind blowing if you are time poor but would still like to create delicious dishes. From chopped ginger, garlic, Italian mixed herbs, to Mediterranean vegetables, sliced mushrooms, chopped chicken pieces, sliced leeks and diced onions, you can cook with barely a chopping board in site. And suddenly just like that my passion was ignited. If you are not a confident cook, ease is key, and these products provide just that. I even managed to make a pie, having never even attempted any recipe with pastry before. To say I felt like I could cook was an understatement, because not only did I cook, but the end product was seriously delicious.
And on those days when you just cannot face even bunging ingredients into a pan or any washing up, Asda has a Frozen Meals Made Easy range, which are quick, high quality and delicious meal solutions that you can cook straight from the freezer to feed the whole family. And tonight, I can vouch for the fact that this is true, because my fussy, cheeky 4 year old, came out of bed after getting tucked in and walked in on me devouring the Spanish Chicken & Chorizo dish, and asked to eat some with me. If you have experience of a fussy eater you know to never ever say no when they want to try new things. So together we enjoyed this dish and he gave it the massive thumbs up. And has asked for it for his tea tonight again!
Now I just need a bigger freezer! And a large glass of wine to accompany me as I cook away in the kitchen. I could get used to this!
This size freezer would do!
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