Making meals from the remnants of other meals is essentially what I do most days, unless of course I’ve pre-planned a specific meal and bought exactly what I need in advance.
I truly believe that being able to peer into your fridge and cupboards and put a meal together from whatever you find, is the cornerstone of food education that we’re now lacking, especially here in the United Kingdom. It’s the classic Masterchef ‘Mystery Box’ challenge although I wouldn’t say my food was that refined. It ties into food waste, healthy eating and balanced diets. It enables us to reduce food bills and make wonderful meals that are nutritious and tasty, and it encourages people to experiment in the kitchen and make more of what we have.
Personally, there aren’t many things that I find as satisfying as producing a great meal for my family from what many people would deem ‘nothing’.
I recall gloomy days at university when my housemates and I would repeatedly wander into the kitchen and peer into the cupboards looking for something to eat, eventually accepting defeat and inevitably going to the pub. There’s little I’d want to change in my life, but I can tell you that I really wish I’d acquired the skills to enable me to ‘rustle something up’: the cupboards were never truly empty – nobody’s cupboards really ever are. To make it worse, I was already a pretty confident cook back then…
It isn’t something that’s difficult, but there’s no doubt that this particular skill comes from experience, and herein lies the problem; people just don’t cook enough anymore.
It’s super-important for younglings to be taught food education and cooking skills in school, but it’s equally important they’re taught the right skills… I’m fairly certain I haven’t made a Swiss Roll since 1993.
I had the pleasure of setting the first of this months Jamie Oliver Food Revolution challenges. A very proud moment for me, which was only outshone by the terrific level of engagement by fellow Ambassadors around the world. The concept was simple: go and create something delicious from whatever leftovers you find in your fridge.
Give it a go – but then go and tell someone about it!
Here’s what you can do with some leftover chicken, a packet of noodles and some frozen vegetables. Plenty more to follow.