Panic buying/ hoarding are interesting concepts
You only have to say, ‘Don’t panic!’ and everyone does just that. Watching the news and our supermarket empty shelves prompted me to wonder just what ‘essential’ looks like in 2020. After all, hand sanitiser, toilet rolls, pasta, paracetamol and beans don’t sound particularly appetising #justsaying.
That got me wondering, if as a family we end up self-isolating, or worse, what would we want to eat to keep our spirits up?
Actually, it probably wouldn’t necessarily be that exciting, and I don’t imagine my household will be much different to many up and down the land. In spite of sushi, ramen noodles and avocados being exotic additions to the nation’s cuisines we still hanker for baked beans and fish fingers. In times of national stress perhaps that really will be what we’ll turn to, alongside a side of sliced white bread, tinned pineapple and evaporated milk!
What do Brits really like to eat?
Well, apparently, despite the vegan uprising, roast chicken is still a favourite alongside Sunday lunch. Staples like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and the good old jacket potato still make regular appearances on the dinner table. It’s quite interesting because if you look at top chefs they seem to inhabit another planet; we love to watch them while eating our own pre-cooked TV dinners. Although some of their top tips filter down to us mere mortals, we have to admit that food is a victim of fashion in the same way as tank tops and Afghan coats rendered so many looking positively laughable in the 1970s.
I guess the coronavirus has reminded us just how interconnected we all are
How what we eat is very much influenced by the places we visit, and food other cultures deliver to our shores. The availability of ingredients is staggering. Imagine a contemporary supermarket opening, with its current stock, in wartime Britain – people would be dumbfounded at both the range and cost.
However, we are all affected by health and diet advice that changes regularly
Not to mention the food scares and scandals. But you can tell the Brits have changed their dietary habits by the fact dinner plates are out of fashion. You may not even realise it but it’s likely you’ll be eating your self-isolation rations from a coupe. No, it’s not a car but a half plate, half bowl hybrid – you see, you know now! This vessel demonstrates that we like sloppy food these days and bits and pieces that don’t behave themselves on flat plates. We are also much more relaxed about what we choose to eat and even where we eat it; standing with my back against the kitchen sink happens more often than I care to admit.
What's on the menu for your last supper?
So, if we were all preparing a last supper that was actually going to last all week what would be on your list? I veer from a bag of Haribo’s horrifically sour jellies to spinach omelettes. I’m partial to currant buns and chocolate eclairs but will happily wolf down a vegan plate of loveliness, a warming daal or stir fry. My taste buds don’t really know upon what continent they belong. I adore a home-made lasagne, a tagine with pickled lemons, smashed avocado on sourdough, oh yes, and crisps – lots of crisps. I don’t say no to sushi but then beans on toast with a fried egg makes a very acceptable meal. Dirty chocolate nestles against top quality 80% dark unctuousness. A cheese toastie is a great snack and a packet of chocolate digestives and marshmallows tops the list. But then, what about a takeout sweet and sour? You see, it’s almost impossible to choose.
Let's be inspired and inspiring through these challenging times
I suppose what I am dismayed about when I read about hoarders and panic buyers is just how uninspired they are. If you’re facing weeks confined to base surely, we can do better than pasta and beans, can’t we? However, research does show that we do tend to stick with what we know. Spaghetti Bolognese, pizza and chilli con carne are now store cupboard staple meals but surely if we are going to spend lots of time at home this is the time to experiment and start cooking meals rather than relying on processed foods. What do you think? If we do experience lockdown maybe it will be the time that we recalibrate our approach to foods and also start exploring more local produce. At the end of this scary journey perhaps we will learn a lot about ourselves as a nation and an awful lot more about our eating habits. Certainly, we need to thank our incredible logistics and distribution centres that make stocking our supermarket shelves look so easy when in truth it’s probably a nightmare.
Anyway, what couldn’t you live without? I’d love to know what fuel your household runs on. Go on, dare to bare!