Given the current furore over horsemeat found in burgers and ready meals in many of the UK’s supermarkets, I’m wondering if it’s time to rethink our attitude to food. Not that there is anything intrinsically wrong in eating horsemeat (so long as it is free from drugs) and in fact it is eaten in many countries in the world.
However, what this scandal should have taught us is that you get what you pay for. If you want something cheap and convenient and without the need for preparation, then you can’t expect to get the same quality of food that you’ve bought and prepared yourself. Of course you should expect to get what’s on the label but the quality therein is bound to be not only from the cheapest cuts but is likely to be processed using all kinds of additives to bulk it out.
Most of the cookery programmes shown on UK TV don’t help, with the ingredients used costing a fortune. Your bloke may love lusting over Nigella (well, mine does) but when I offered to buy him one of her books he declined. He is a keen cook but the kind of foods she uses are beyond our budget – and the same goes for most of the celeb chef programmes. How many of us can afford veal or fillet steak except for a special occasion?
When my children were at school and had ‘food technology’ lessons the most nutritious thing they brought home was pizza. They were taught nothing about choosing and using various cuts of meat for example or how to budget. I think this is a wasted opportunity and something that should be looked into and revised.
Trouble is, we all lead such busy lives nowadays and most of us simply don’t have the time to make our own stocks and soups – or do we? I am not a particularly good cook but one of my best kitchen appliances is my pressure cooker.
“What, those scary old-fashioned things that splutter alarmingly and dispense their contents onto the kitchen ceiling?” I hear some of you ask.
Well I have news for you. Those contraptions that your grandma used to use have undergone a massive makeover. Mine purrs away on top of the hob; it has a double lock for extra reassurance and when I’m finished cooking it goes into the dishwasher. I can make a casserole from the toughest (and cheapest) cuts of meat and have a mouth-watering casserole cooked within half an hour and the meat melts in the mouth. It can make stock from a chicken carcass and delicious soups and steamed puddings.
When all the fuss has died down, many will go back to the supermarket and buy the same old stuff. But I think (well I hope) that many others won’t. I KNOW that there are some people on painfully low incomes and who feel that they have no option other than to buy the cheapest burgers and ready meals, but for the rest of us – if we don’t vote with our feet and change our shopping habits then things won’t get any better and the next food scandal will just be lurking around the next corner.