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THE WATCHFUL COOK

FROM WASTEFUL TO WATCHFUL – A PERSONAL JOURNEY


WHY “THE WATCHFUL COOK”?

Good question and in my more despondent moments, I have asked myself the same question. To answer it, you might need to understand a bit about me. For more than 30 years I lived an obedient corporate life, during which time I was well paid, well travelled and well fed.

The corporate life ended and I found myself without a job but able to take my pension – early, I might add!

Anyway, the penny dropped that on my new income, I couldn’t afford not to pay any attention to the cost of my on-line grocery delivery or my outlay in our local (excellent) deli, butcher or wine merchant. Problem was, being a very keen cook and even keener on eating good food, I still wanted to maintain a high standard at the table and in the pantry (wish I had one – sadly it’s just a metaphor here!).

As I now had the joy of more time, I began to take more notice not only of what we ate, but what I threw away. I became horribly aware that I bought so much food only to dispose of a goodly percentage of it. I know, I know, I can hear the tuts and see the head shaking. I don’t blame you. I was hopelessly addicted to buying stuff “just in case” because I was a really bad planner of the weekly menu. It was one of those things that was just an extra chore in a long working week.

I also began to question more the elements of the food chain; I investigated the integrity of the food industry and was not happy with what I found. This led me to concentrate my purchasing power where it would at least do least harm and at best, may do good. This has led me, for example, to eat meat less often and only when I know the animal has had a decent life and a compassionate end, if there be such a thing. I have become a supporter of the Slow Food movement and the Real Bread Campaign and I now spend consciously.

Somewhere along the line I have also developed growing interest in the social and political history of food. This is thanks in part to Slow Food, but also because I see from the time I spend in northern Italy that food there is, if you will forgive a weak and feeble pun, a completely different kettle of fish. Not just in terms of quality and availability but in terms of personal attitudes – but enough of that for now.

You may also see my partner pop up in these pages. Edoardo is northern Italian and thus keen on his food. He doesn’t cook himself but has an excellent palate and a real gift for pairing wine and food. He is also my staunchest supporter and we have a lot of fun in the kitchen cooking up meals for ourselves and anyone brave enough to accept invitations to eat with us.

I was always an enthusiastic cook, but I was a wasteful and lazy cook. Leftover broccoli? In the bin, because I couldn’t be bothered to work out what I could do with it. Now I know differently and the purpose of my blog is to share with you (and, I hope, learn from you all) how it is perfectly possible to keep a good table (to use my mother’s phrase), be watchful of cost and buy in keeping with my conscience. Oh and food and eating should be FUN! In the UK, we seem to have become a but earnest and holier-than-thou about food and whilst I agree that there are few things more important than the food you put in your body, for heaven’s sake, let’s have some fun and pleasure with food.

So do please come along with me, The Watchful Cook on her journey.

Jan

 

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