Food for thought

Yes, this was me 10 years ago and 18.5 stoneIt’s official, Britain is the fattest nation in europe, at least according to some survey or other. This is a subject dear to my heart, on the left is a picture of me, around 1995, weighing around 18 stone (252 pounds) and on my way to almost 19 stone (266 pounds) and a 48 inch waist. Shortly after this I lost the weight, and dropped to around 11 and half stone (161 pounds).

I’m an ‘ex-fatty’, and in the same way many ex-smokers are over zealous about smokers and smoking, I am with fat and food. Now, I’m not exactly svelt myself, but I worry about my weight and I have issues with over-weight people who think that they’re ok and don’t have a problem. No disrespect to anyone, but you really should be able to see your feet when you look down.

Anyway, the other night I was walking home from taking my dog out for a walk and walked past my neighbours house (an Indian family and a couple of doors down a Thai family) and the smell of the food was fantastic. I got home and opened my ‘ready meal’ and thought to myself “this sucks”.

This reminded me of another BBC article about the UK being addicted to convenience food (BBC – feeding frenzy), I was disgusted at myself. Now I buy these things because at the moment my wife is working nights and we see each other for about 15 minutes a day (this also sucks). Cooking for one is not easy and can seem a bit pointless what with lots of pots/pans/dishes to wash-up and lots of effort to make.
So I’ve decided to start cooking myself meals, simple meals, stuff that can be done in 15 to 20 minutes with as few pots/pans/dishes as possible.

Last night was chilli, deceptivly simple to do. We have a microwave rice cooker (no quicker than boiling but easier to control and no burnt rice) so bung some rice in the microwave and set it off.
In a frying pan, fry some mince meat and some onions.
Once the meat is brown, bung in some hot sauce, we always keep some ‘harissa’ which is always good spicing things up.
At the same time through in a tin of chilli beans and leave to simmer until the rice is cooked.
And there you go, two pots used (microwave rice cooker and one frying pan), the only dishes used are one spatula to stire the meat, a fork to eat with (and stir the rice during cooking) and a bowl to eat it from.

There’s lots more you can do that’s quick and easy and better for you as you can control what’s actually in your diet (to an extent). So from now on I shall be avoiding ‘ready meals’ and making a concerted effort to ‘cook’ my meals.

Maybe I should start a ‘quick one-person receipe’ section on my blog?

One Response to “Food for thought”

  1. Chris Booth Says:

    Paul, there are a number of good books that talk about fast, but real, cooking for one or two people. I can positively recommend three authors: Nigel Slater wrote Real fast food and The 30 minute cook; Polly Tyrer, from the Leith’s school (who taught my sister-in-law to cook) wrote Cooking for one or two; and, surprisingly, Delia Smith wrote a fine book called One is fun!. They all feature simple ingredient lists, usually try to keep the pan-count down, and always try to keep the amount of time needed to a minimum.

    Have fun.