I get a bit fed up hearing/reading on the television/in the press the oft-repeated mantra that “Oh, I have to buy ready meals because I can’t afford to do otherwise,”.
I don’t buy ready meals because I love delicious food and enjoy cooking, and ISTM that ready meals would be likely to fail on both counts. Being curious, though, and liking to stare at food of almost any hue whenever given the opportunity, I sometimes take a scan through the things on offer when I’m at the supermarket, and I have to say that it all looks extremely expensive to me. Added to which, the portions definitely aren’t large enough…
This evening I wasn’t sure what to have for dinner, so I made a v. simple soup from a couple of carrots, an onion, a teaspoon full of a cunning soup base that I made a couple of months ago (recipe culled from the River Cottage Preserves book–see ‘Souper Mix’–delicious and lasts (literally) months in the fridge), some handfuls of orange lentils, green lentils and pearl barley and a handful of new potatoes that I found lurking in the bottom of the fridge. Oh, and a handful of toasted and ground cumin seeds, just to add interest.
It all came to a huge pan for hardly any money at all, and in fact it only takes an hour from having the idea to tucking in (though it’s possible to leave it to simmer for longer, if you want to get all the sticky loveliness out of the pearl barley). I ate it with a yummy wholemeal roll that I made earlier, at a fraction of the cost of what I’d have needed to pay in a shop.
I understand that some peeps don’t cook from fresh ingredients because they don’t have the time, or (in some cases) wrongly believe it takes longer than it does, or–basically–because they simply don’t enjoy cooking. All of those are perfectly fair enough. This crap about it being more expensive than buying tubs of additive-filled semi-toxic gunk at hugely inflated prices is just ridiculous, though!