As the name suggests, I cook everything from scratch. In fact, I am (some would say) quite fanatical about what I will & won’t eat. If I’m not 100% sure whether or not something has been cooked from scratch (using good ingredients), I simply won’t touch it. In fact, it’s well known that I take my own breakfast to networking events!
When young, I always cooked from scratch – in those days convenience foods were expensive and money was scarce in my household. Besides which, I enjoyed cooking.
As time moved on, supermarket ready meals (and many other mass manufactured, processed foods) came into being. They became more and more accessible as supermarkets grew in size. As my life changed, I did what most other people did and started taking shortcuts to save time, make my life easier and all those other ‘reasons’ people use. Little did I know then, what I know now – but, oh how I wish I had known!
It was around 2002 when certain triggers started me on the road to thinking more about the food we eat. There were many triggers – but that’s another blog in itself. As I thought more, I read more, investigated and eventually came to the conclusion that mass manufactured, processed foods are a bad thing – a very bad thing. I’m well known for calling them ‘the devil’ – and I truly believe that.
I went right back to basics and began cooking everything from scratch again (as I had when I was young). I researched and read more and more and became increasingly concerned about the food the majority of people eat on a daily basis. Hence, me starting on the road to Cooked From Scratch, which for me is about education and helping people as much as it is a business. It’s what I passionately believe in – I live and breathe it, it’s not just a job.
When I talk about processed foods, I know a lot of people immediately think of ‘ready meals’. Indeed, for many this is all they think of – as supermarkets have become more and more encroached into our daily lives, we forget the many foods that and I (and many others) class as processed.
Soups, sauces, cereals, drinks, desserts, cakes, yoghurts, breads, wraps, bakery products, pre-prepped fruit and vegetables, cooked and processed meats, pizzas, pastries, preserves, condiment sauces, ready made home baking products, potato products…. The list goes on! In fact, there are very few (if any) supermarket aisles that don’t contain these foods.
The result of there being so many, can become the obstacle to cooking from scratch – it can almost make your head explode. And, if you do decide to avoid these foods, there are still issues to consider when buying meat, dairy, fish, fruit and vegetables, flour, sugar…. (but that’s another story).
As food manufacturers and supermarkets keep telling us how busy we are, and how difficult it is to cook, we believe them. They try so hard to ‘help’ us by chopping our melon and carrots and charging us a premium for doing so.
I recently carried out some teaching for a community based project, for children and their guardians. On one session we made homemade chicken nuggets and fish fingers, so made potato and sweet potato wedges to go with them. Literally washing and cutting up potatoes, drizzling with oil and baking. One mother couldn’t believe how good they tasted compared to the frozen ready made potato wedges she usually paid £1.60 for. Little effort, much cheaper and so much better for you.
As written in a previous blog (‘Help, I Want To Change My Food Habits’), if making the decision to not buy processed foods is overwhelming, it’s best to take things in stages. If you do eat ready meals, this is a good place to start – if just a handful of people stop buying them after reading the article below, then it’s a job well done in my book.
Please, please read this article by Joanna Blythman from the Daily Mail. Joanna is a fantastic investigative journalist, who, like me, cares about the food we eat and has made it her mission to inform us of exactly what’s in our food. Read, digest and then please make that decision:
If this has inspired you to investigate further, then I highly recommend Joanna’s books –