Food is fabulous, I love food a lot, it truly is one of the great pleasures in life. My mom is a brilliant cook who can whip up any traditional comfort food at the drop of a hat (or saucepan... haha), and my dad loves to experiment and spend his Saturday nights in concocting some kind of exotic, colourful dish. But, when it comes to me... well, to be honest, I just don't enjoy cooing. I know some people find the whole cooking process very relaxing, rewarding and pleasurable, but I don't. Most of the time, to put it bluntly, I just can't be arsed. I'll come home from uni, all flustered and battered from the wind and rain, and I just can't be bothered to get the pots and pans out and start peeling veg and marinating meat or whatever. I tend to just want food fast - something I can eat whilst curled up, watching Come Dine With Me (a cooking programme... how ironic) and so I turn to basic pasta sauces way too much. My favourite simple pasta sauce is made from a handful of cherry tomatoes, a clove of garlic, a splash of olive oil, squeeze of tomato puree and a twist of salt and pepper... very easy and quick, but unprocessed and pretty natural to. However, I'm ashamed to admit that I've been turning to Lloyd Grossman jars of sauce over my homemade one over the past few weeks. And to be truthful, it makes me feel kind of guilty.
I was lucky enough to be brought up on good, healthy and diverse food. It's not that I don't know how to cook - a childhood of watching my parents whip up tasty meals and having a kitchen bookshelf greedy with recipe books, means I'm not lacking in culinary knowledge. I feel guilty for not utilising this knowledge enough!
It can be difficult to cook meals from scratch when the six girls in my house are all trying to use the kitchen at the same time. But my housemate Penny has the right idea. The other Friday morning, I emerged from my room, and the glorious smell of rich spices and hearty vegetables wafted towards me. Penny was cooking up a huge batch of her speciality, throw-it-all-in veggie curry, whilst all the other girls were either in bed or at uni. Then she can feed the freezer with portions of her creation and have her own homemade, healthy ready meals. My dad makes a super tasty and filling pasta sauce with sausage that you can easily make in large quantities. My ready meal guilt would be eradicated if I took a leaf out of Penny's book and whipped up a big batch whilst the kitchen was clear.
If I'm not in the mood for cooking en masse however (which for me is pretty likely), baked salmon is very quick and good for you. Whack it in the oven with some cherry tomatoes for twenty minutes and then serve with lots of rocket - voila! Move over Lloyd!!
What I need to do is meal plan for the week like my mom does, and then do a big weekly shop, buying all the ingredients I need, rather than doing dribs and drabs of shopping here and there and succumbing to pre-made convenience meals. Cooking for one is hard and it really is so tempting to grab a few ready meals on the way home from uni. When I have tea with my boyfriend at his flat, we always cook from scratch (well most of the time anyway.. unless we have a cheeky Just Eat) and it does seem so much easier when there's two of you. There's more hands to help with the boring jobs like chopping, and someone to enjoy and appreciate the meal with. Oh, and Tom's kitchen, shared only with his one flatmate, gets a lot less crowded and cluttered than my typical student one... I always thought I'd be one of those really tidy students with a really tidy kitchen... how wrong I was.
To put it simply, I've been unhappy with my eating habits at uni for a couple of months now, but putting pen to paper and getting to the bottom of the problem has proven that my dilemma is very straight forward and easy to resolve: stop being lazy and cook proper food! Fair enough that cooking isn't really my thing, but I do adore eating, and want to eat stuff that is good for me. With bulk making of pasta sauce and a couple of quick by homemade convenience meals in my repertoire (repertoire... how fancy), I'll be sorted!
I'd love to know if you have any tips for making quick and healthy meals!