In these strange times I must confess I have lamented the inability to get out for a coffee or a spot of lunch. I love cooking for my family, but I’ve longed for a change of scenery and  quite frankly someone to cook a meal for me or more importantly something different. Anyway, I fully recognise that there are more important things to bemoan than not being able to dine out and it got me thinking about simple, honest meals.

I was thinking about meals throughout the decades and how things have changed.  The tradition of a fish supper on a Friday seems to have largely disappeared , whilst even the Sunday roast  has been knocked off  its pedestal in favour  of other dishes  including pasta, curry and pizza.  The simple meals, that saw leftovers used up seem to have vanished and whilst people often didn’t have a huge variety of choice but people did eat freshly prepared meals and vegetables on a regular basis and with our huge variety of choice today it seems to have become harder to decide what to eat and the whole matter of preparing a meal seems to have become complicated.

Today we are all used to so much choice. Not only are meal times now more flexible but we are also confronted with vast array choices; ranging from ingredients sold in supermarkets seven days a week;  takeaways, fast-food, prepared foods and ready meals.

In recent decades the trend seems to have leaned towards convenience with an attitude of why bother spending time and exerting effort cooking up a cottage pie with yesterday’s leftover beef when you can head to the supermarket and buy everything ready-made? Whilst convenience is a huge selling point and people consider it time saving,  I believe the time saving appeal of convenience food is an illusion.

iStockModern day living allows less time for cooking. Long gone are the hours spent slaving over the stove, preparing a wholesome meal as people now reach for convenience foods and microwave meals several times a week. But home prepared meals can be simple and quick and I believe many people in the modern world don’t make time for food and believe that they’re always too busy.

One good thing that seems to have emerged from lockdown is the return to cooking from scratch and people realising that you can throw together a simple meal in the twenty minutes it takes to queue for a take-away.

A big trend towards store cupboard cooking and home baking seemed grip lockdown Britain and I hoped it would last, but alas I have seen reports of huge queues at fast food chains as they reopened at the weekend. My hopes for British diets to improve are sadly dashed, it seems the love of junk food is well and truly ingrained.