It’s a good job Sainsburys came round with a grocery delivery this evening. We had hardly anything left to eat!
Actually that’s not quite true. The freezers are pretty full (when we moved in to our new home we gained a freezer as there is one built into this kitchen, so naturally I keep both filled up!), and the cupboards are full of ingredients that I probably could have done something with. But there’s also a small selection of jars… cook-in and stir-in sauces that are designed to make life really easy for busy people.
It’s a good job they exist, I say. Thanks to the Honey and Mustard Chicken Tonight sauce I had in the cupboard, this evening we dined on a much less boring chicken breast with steamed rice and sweetcorn. And it was really yummy. I enjoyed every mouthful (I was very hungry actually – I ate my lunch at 10.30am because I just couldn’t wait any longer!). There is nothing wrong with using a jar of sauce. Is there?
Well apart from the amount of salt they probably contain, and the preservatives I wouldn’t consume if I cooked the meal properly myself, no, there probably isn’t anything wrong with ready made sauces.
But I have to admit I probably use jars a lot more than is necessary. I mean, they are used in this house more than when I’ve either got nothing fresh left (due to bad planning) or no time (getting too late in the day to start being a chef). For example, I use the Pataks Korma sauce because we really like it. We look forward to having a Pataks Korma! And Dolmio gives a great base to a Spaghetti Bolognaise. They’re not just there “just in case”, they are there on purpose because we enjoy them.
And of course that makes me feel quite guilty. I’m a cheat. I love good food, I enjoy cooking, but more often than not I just can’t be bothered to spend hours marinating meats in a variety of meticulously measured out spices, or preparing creamy sauces or pastes from scratch. I feel guilty because when I actually do pretend to be a chef it I really enjoy it, I find it really satisfying to serve up a meal I’ve carefully prepared by following a recipe (or making it up as I go along!).
Jars appeal to the lazy cook in me. We live in a world of convenience and these are just another one of those things I use to make my life easier. They are a doddle to use and you know you’re going to get a nice dinner. But I know should cook from scratch much more often. Far more than once or twice a week. And I want to. Sometimes I do. Just not often enough. Better get all those recipe books out for a browse and start menu planning again like I used to!
So why am I telling you this? Well I guess I’m looking for some sort of confirmation that I am, in fact, normal. On an average week how many ready-made elements will you use in your meals? I’m talking jars, packets, pots, ready to cook things like pies or kievs from the freezer, and so on. Do you live in this world of convenience too? No doubt you’ll all tell me you always have a supply of lovely fresh ingredients (I would so love one of those veg boxes delivered each week, that would be lovely) and actually paid attention to your mum when she was teaching you how to do the basics?! Go on… put me to shame!