What springs to mind when you think of home cooking?
Maybe Mum’s beef stew, comforting shepherd’s pie, roast dinner with all the trimmings, or a family curry. Whatever it is it no doubt brings back nostalgic memories of meals with loved ones and a happy feeling inside.
So, it’s no surprise that more and more of us have been reaching for the apron and turning to our home-cooked favourites over the last few months in these difficult times.
It’s easier than ever to eat great food at home.
Home-cooking has come a long way from Mrs Beeton and handed down recipes (although these of course still have a place). The rise of celebrity chefs such as Mary Berry, Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith and Nadiya Hussain, who’ve dedicated their work to making it “easy” to cook at home. And the continued popularity of TV shows such as Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off clearly show there’s an appetite (if you’ll excuse the pun) for innovative home cooking.
And of course, now there’s a new kid in town. The rise of the fresh ingredient recipe boxes in the last few years has added variety and simplicity to everyday cooking.
Our own range of meat hampers offer varying sizes and selections of fresh, restaurant-quality meat delivered to your doorstep. And we’ve included a new range of Valentine’s hampers this month too, with delicious sirloin steak, rack of Welsh lamb, or French trimmed chicken breast to choose from. All of which come with delicious sides, desserts, after-dinner mints, and a bottle of wine too.
Home-cooking is good for the soul.
But the true joy of home-cooking lies in the experimenting and the perfecting. The waiting and watching. A steak sizzling, a cake rising, or a cheesy top browning.
It’s in mastering the art of the perfect Yorkshire pudding.
Home-cooking has not only become a necessity for so many of us, as eating out is no longer an option, but it can do wonders for our mental health too.
- Learning to cook builds confidence and self-esteem as you master new skills and reap the rewards of your efforts. Cooking meals from scratch stimulates the curious, playful part of the brain as we discover flavour combinations and try something new.
- The planning of ingredients and the step-by-step process of cooking helps you to find moments of mindfulness in our busy everyday lives. Slowly stirring a risotto, finely chopping an onion, carefully watching a simmering sauce. You’re focused on the task, in that moment, without distraction.
- Cooking stimulates each and every one of the senses. There’s no better way to bring your mind back to the here and now than listening to the hissing of sausages under the grill, taking in the smell of spicy lamb chops as they hit the hot pan, rolling the pastry for a homemade beef wellington, watching the snap of perfectly crisp pork crackling, or taking that first mouth-watering bite of a home-cooked roast chicken.
- Making yourself a meal and nourishing your body is the most simplistic form of self-care. It’s a moment in our busy lives to acknowledge what we need and desire, and then stopping everything else to make time to do it.
- And of course, we nurture those closest to us by feeding and nourishing them too. Cooking a meal for someone you love is a simple act of kindness and shows the care that bonds your relationship together. Likewise, cooking with someone is a chance to spend quality time together sharing an interest and satisfying our most basic human need.
So, whether it’s because you have more time on your hands right now, or that you’d like to teach the kids an essential life skill, or simply that you find inspiration and joy in finding a new recipe to love. Home-cooking doesn’t have to be over-complicated and it doesn’t always have to be a chore.
Cooking good food, at home, with the ones you love, or just with a good glass of something and your favourite music, can bring all the love you need this Valentine’s Day.