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Everything in boxes and plastic bags ie food.

I have the luxury of wanting to cook meals from scratch and the time too; but also I can understand many peoples need for convenience. However on a recent supermarket visit for a few seconds I just stood there and realised all around me everything is in boxes or plastic packaging, single use items that leave behind an absurd trail of litter and garbage merely to sate a few mouthfuls or a quick drink; this is starting to jarr with me now.

When sort of defocusing I could see avenue upon avenue of ‘stuff’ that in actual fact was not a great quantity or tonnage of nuitrition lets say but puffed out in its packaging occupying a far greater space than the contents themselves necessitated. I’d hazard great effort taken in the look of the thing as designed, as if this was paramount, certainly it must be, its sole purpose is to be chosen from among many other things, from among a wall of boxes and packets.

I realise I probably buy considerably less pre-packaged or processed food than most folk, in fact near none at all, merely I need a portion of meat and the bulk of any of my meals will be vegetables, I seldom have waste and at all occasions I clean my plate and as if a little boy I often lick the plate too … its so delicious!

I am low gluten, near zero dairy and low salt, the latter is no problem as my Indian herbs and spices do all I want.

I also consciously cook meals that utilise minimum carbon, a twenty minute meal prep on low gas for my ‘psuedo-stir-fry’ creations, for instance can be ….

good quality ext v olive oil flavoured with level tsp ‘punchpooran’ Bangladeshi seed mix, also fresh ground black pepper, no salt needed and where possible fresh garlic.

cubes of day old boiled potato (greater flavour).

fresh boiled turnip cubed (doesn’t keep)

one diced spring onion.

thin sliced leek.

*at this point we can go ‘Indian’, ie half a jar of ready made sauce,

or Chinese stir fry, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, noodles and sweet n sour sauce in wait for it … a packet!

or seafood pilaf, smoked haddock, mussels, chicken stock and white wine,

or maybe a little curry powder and just more vegetables ie broccoli and sweetcorn.

Sometimes a dash of Lee and Perrins can help and also a tiny drizzle of Canadian maple syrup where appropriate; for instance with my usual lunchtime steak mince casserole I accompany with half a tin of spinach, yesterdays pre-cooked potatos (whole) warmed up with the casserole in the benchtop Melissa and say tinned carrots or sweetcorn cooked with nigella seed and dillweed, finishing with tiny drizzle of Can m syrup before serving. Fast cooked broccolli is also fast becoming another favourite.

Precooked chicken can generally be added, I mostly do this, I bring my M purchased cooked chicken and it gets another 30 mins at 220c to dry it out and get the meat itself to a more palatable product, all in my tiny Melissa bench top oven, I get five meals out of this (no fridge). Oregano and black pepper helping things along.

I must now stop typing meal info … cooking fascinates me!

Interestingly I have no refrigeration, the two door remains of such an item is a useful storage box only.

Another side track can be to thin slice sweet potato and gently stir fry in cumin and a little ajiwan seed. but that leads on to other tricks and meals of mine, the above is my general do-all near daily procedure.

I don’t think the penny has dropped re long durations of oven cooking, a recent emergency purchase of a ready made lasagne necessitates a 40min cooking time each mealtime, high fat, high salt and the cooking time make it hard for me ever to buy that again, merely tiredness and lack of time pushed me to it, I confess. But during the 40min if i hadn’t had so much leg pain this time period would have enabled me to make a better quality replacement, at less cost too.

People knock China for pollution etc but isn’t that the country where for most of the twentieth century the bicycle was near universal and all meals cooked quickly!

To be honest there was nothing on those supermarket shelves that I wanted, endless variations of cookies and nibbles and ‘non-meal stuff’ that I have absolutely no requirement. I’d even say getting good bread is not easy, no way will I contemplate the ‘from frozen’ junk (generally small chiabata) that is presented so prominently before us at that chain of supermarkets name beginning with M. They have an instore bakery, so why the frozen, theres no valid excuse, a sales disaster i reckon.

The store itself is badly managed nowadays, more accurate to possibly say the chain of stores, its known as a food purveyor (name begins with M) but now we see newly introduced avenues of clothing, also an avenue devoted to bottled water and fizzy cola that interestingly gets little footfall, its near always devoid of shoppers. In retail the the target is to maximise £ return per square foot, I think in any analysis their ‘improvements and changes’ these last couple of years must be disastrous. I think what this town needs as most towns do is small family businesses with multi-generational skill and a hard work ethic, lets say an Italian ethos, or middle eastern or whatever.

This rant on my distrust of ‘food in boxes’ stems from some youtubes a few days ago where the major fast food outlets are infiltrating third world countries and pitching product way higher in fat and salt that would ever be allowed in their developed western operations. It saddened me greatly for instance to see Macdonalds, Domino Pizza etc pushing their horrible and grossly unattractive retail style in India, a country with a huge array of streetside food possibilities. How jarring, how brash and incongruous and of course … all in little boxes!

How i distrust ‘the little box’!

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