I love my food. I like eating it, talking about it, making it and thinking about it. I look like a woman who loves her food. That’s ok with me. Ish.
I’ve a good kitchen – perfect for making nice things. Cupboards full of good ingredients and three shelves of cookbooks.
I’ve also got cannelli beans that have reached the end of their five year shelf life and a family that have come to think of meat-free days as the exception rather than the rule. I’ve gadgets that rarely get used; kids that whinge about green stuff; and a toddler who insists on being carried for the exact two hours of the day when a dinner needs to be made.
We’ve slipped into a menu of predictability. Dinners that will pass the low-bar of the family taste test – and avoid a row, have become the norm. Shepard’s pie. Pasta. Quiche. Roast chicken. Sausage rolls. And bloody fish fingers. All tasty once upon a time, but all knocked out lately with a view to minimising protest – while accidentally minimising taste. Having sworn against making two dinners – one for kids, one for parents; the dinner we all eat is all about them, not us. I cook what will be eaten and frankly it’s a bore. My gastronomic style is best described as ‘get it into ya Cynthia‘.
The weekly shop can be done with eyes closed – or at least with eyes distractedly following three kids around Aldi. And I only make it to one shop. Gone are the heady days of the organic market and shopping for bits here and there. We’re in the era of bulk catering my friend. The one-stop-shop. Same time, same place, same stuff next week.
But then there’s hope in the form of a tasty lunch, a flick through the cookbooks and the sight of a strange vegetable i.e. not a carrot, that would never cut the mustard with the Ministry of Mediocrity aka the kids. Tasty reminders of all the lovely food I’ve been missing. Gorgeous food that beats the pants off tasteless lazy food and can be as easy to make once you’ve the ingredients and the inclination. The stews and hotpots. The roasted vegetable soups. The beetroot hummus. The smoked meats. The smelly cheeses. The green stuff. All of it. And they all go down great with a glass of wine.
So myself and himself have staged a quiet revolution. The shopping list has been re-written and the cupboards have been re-stocked. We’re reaching for things we’ve long stopped buying and slightly obscure ingredients are back on the list. We’re talking quinoa, tamari, tahini, pulses and five types of cheese. We’ve taken the meat-feasting back a notch and decided on two days of fish, three of vegetarian and two of meat. There are three homemade dressings in the fridge and a post-its marking recipes in books that I forgot I even owned. The dial is moving on the smug-o-meter.
A few weeks in we’ve been eating like kings, farting a bit more than usual and figuring out easy ways to eat better food – while juggling an arm-full of toddler. I won’t pretend the kids are eating the same as us – they’re not – but they are nibbling. Yoda has accidentally fallen for chopped raw beetroot – purely because she was impressed with its ability to turn slices of apple pink. Spidey has discovered he loves onion-free burgers in a homemade bun and egg-free omelettes (Sssshhh, he does not need to know this is not a thing). Even Woodie is at it and has developed a grá for couscous and yesterday chewed an asparagus spear. All teeny tiny baby steps towards a bit more variety and choice.
This may be a new year thing. Heck it may be a new year – mid life crisis thing. But at least if I’m going to look like a woman who enjoys her food, I will actually enjoy it. Plus, did I mention that virtuousness earns you extra wine? Yes. Yes it does.