Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a home-cooked meal. I’m British so there’s nothing better than a well-made, well-loved roast dinner on a weekend but I’m not a natural cook and sometimes I screw up even the ‘easy’ recipes or, you know, I manage to have a bag of cocoa powder explode in my face so what I’m saying is this; if you want to cheat in the kitchen; it’s ok!
Currently our society is stuck in the paradigm of ‘we must all quit sugar and cook organically’ and yet our lives are just too busy to do it. We have the 9-5 job which translates more to 7-7 by the time you include your commute and busy days. We have social lives post-work which prevent us getting in until late. We have 3 kids and bills to worry about. We just don’t have time. And yet somehow we’re supposed to eat little and often and specifically ‘organically as possible’. Now, I know we shouldn’t use excuses too much but when it comes to the kitchen, I’m all for making excuses and hiding behind shortcuts and cheating ways – more of us need to do it!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we should be eating ready meals and processed food regularly simply because we don’t feel we have 30 minutes spare to prepare and cook a good dinner (when it really is us just hiding behind excuses). I’m simply saying that that it’s perfectly ok to buy and use a bag of frozen vegetables if you’re short on time and have a family to feed.
As I’ve written about before, one of my projects to keep me going whilst I was unemployed was cooking very simple recipes; it gave me a goal and made me proud of its achievement but I cut corners when I could. If a recipe calls for a pastry base and you just don’t have the time; buy one! Stop feeling guilty for it and be proud of yourself for making the filling instead. If you want to give your child a birthday cake they’ll love; buy a supermarket one and allow them to decorate it themselves or if you really want the ‘home baked’ experience, ‘outsource’ it to a baker that has the actual time on their hands to dedicate to it.
If you have time in the kitchen, by all means, make that lemon meringue pie (including the base) from scratch and fall in love with your achievement. I’m just saying that if you have to buy the cake mixture in a box, the ‘curry kit’ with everything already in it or make a lasagne with store-bought sauces, don’t beat yourself up over it. As long as you have good intentions and try to eat ‘well’ (though that’s a very subjective term) and cut out unnecessary processed stuff due to time then go ahead and shortcut it all the way; it still tastes good!