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Can you cook?

Do you make meals from scratch? Can you cook basic dishes and follow simple recipes? Do you have a range of ingredients at the ready to make up something to eat? That's fantastic! You have the skills you need to feed yourself and your family healthy and nutritious foods. You may have even tried out some of my recipes on the website? What, you haven't? Put your apron on, then ;-)

Unfortunately, not everyone has gained cooking skills growing up; some people don't quite know where to start, they lack confidence in trying it, because they have never been told how to cook. Their family circumstances might have prohibited it, they might be a child brought up on convenience foods, they didn't have cooking lessons at school. Many children are growing up in families where neither mother nor father learnt to cook. Home economics lessons and cooking clubs do no longer feature on many school curriculae, and there we are: you don't learn it at home, you don't learn it at school, you don't learn it at all. Food scarcity is also a huge issue: when every penny counts, we don't have the luxury to experiment with novel recipes and potentially waste food that no one wants to eat.

Once upon a time, mothers and grandmothers passed on recipes; cooking was an integral part of family life, and convenience foods were few and far between. While I don't agree with the stereotype of mothers having to do all the food provision and cooking, I think that in this modern, time-poor society we are missing an opportunity that will greatly impact our children and future generations.

Cooking doesn't have to be fancy at all, it doesn't mean you have to show off knife skills like celebrity chefs or use exotic ingredients that, after one use, gather dust on the shelf.

Simple home cooking can be immensely satisfying, a lot cheaper than using ready made products and more nutritious, because you decide what goes into the dish! If you have ever baked a cake, you will know how lovely it is to smell it come out of the oven and enjoy it, maybe even while it is still warm! There are some great recipe books out there to make a start (see links below), and most local authorities and community centres offer cooking lessons for adults or families, as well as children. Become excited about food, discover new flavours, anything goes! Google certain ingredients and see what you can make with them, the internet is full of people like me, who want to share their recipes. Chat to others about what their favourite 'go-to' recipe is, get them to show you how to make it. Meet up with friends and try things out together! I have noticed that the more I cook, the less I have to think about it, and the easier it gets to invent simple and nutritious meals. Check my website and my instagram page for recent creations. So, get your apron on and heat those pans, you won't look back!

Good easy recipe books: Jamie Oliver (Ministry of Food) Jamie Oliver (5 Ingredients - Quick and Easy Food) Xanthe Clay (Recipes to know by heart) Antonio Carlucci (Simple Cooking)