Having spent more time than usual at home during the pandemic, and especially since restaurants weren’t an option like they were before, I started thinking about how to feed my family better. We’ve all had a tough couple of years and have had to reach into our inner cookbooks, experiment and just make it work.
I haven’t always enjoyed cooking; over time, I have tried, tested and failed at many recipes – but I always think that’s the best way to learn. Now, I would say that I’m a very confident cook. Not everything turns out perfectly, obviously, but I enjoy the cooking (and feeding) process now.
Like I say, with restaurants not being open throughout various lockdowns, I had to get even more creative than usual. One of my favourite foods in the entire world is sushi, and previously, I’ve always said that’s one thing I’ll never make at home because it seems like too much faff. I had to eat my words last year though when I realised just how addicted to sushi I was, and there was literally nowhere to buy it – supermarket sushi doesn’t quite cut it for me!
Learning the art of making sushi that not only looks aesthetically pleasing, but tastes good too was much more fun than I expected it to be. It’s a great way of getting the whole family involved too, and makes for the perfect rainy day activity – similar to making pizza from scratch.
Speaking of getting the family involved, Culinary Schools have some brilliant, free kid’s games available, which are a fun way of at keeping kids occupied whilst being educational. The Open Restaurant game is a great simulator of how a restaurant is run and is also highly addictive (for adults too)! It gives children an idea of how hard culinary work is, how busy working restaurants can be and how much work goes in to seating guests, taking orders, serving food & collecting payments. It feels very realistic to me; my heart races as I simultaneously try to find a clean table, take orders and deliver food as fast as I can. Give it a go and let me know what you think!
Lockdown baking was a big thing last year, with people proudly showing off their skills all over social media. Unlike cooking, baking requires precise measurements, and with many recipes online being American, I found using this ingredient conversion calculator so helpful. Cup measurements in particular always confuse me.. I mean surely everyone has cups of a different size? This nifty tool takes all the guesswork out of it, so you can just enjoy the process!
I have really enjoyed being more inventive with my meals over the past couple of years and particularly enjoyed visiting different supermarkets; Thai, Indian, Turkish and Chinese, to seek out new ingredients and recreate my favourite meals at home. As well as my love of food, in a strange way, this satisfied my love of travel too, because it felt like a cultural experience of sorts.
Most of us dine out on a regular basis, so it was nice to take a step back from that, albeit forced, and take a moment to think about exactly what ingredients go in to your favourite meals. By cooking these meals yourself, you are in control and know exactly what’s going into them, so you can tweak them to make a healthier version too, if you want to.
Have you been enjoying experimenting with food and feeding your family better during the pandemic?