Just one of those things. The freezer tripped while we were away for a holiday recently and we came home to mush. Well not really as most things are vac packed, and then stored in seperate containers so it wasn't a dump the Freezer disaster.
However, this means I do not have a store of ready cooked meals that have a great meat provenience. The litres of carefully prepared chicken, and beef stock and jus I like to have for roasts. Or the famous Bangladeshi Curry. And at this time of year Jersey Bean Crock for those very cold days. I also make a couple of trays of Yorkshire puddings when I have the oven on high, and store those in bags of four. It just makes it a cinch to whip them into the oven 5 minutes at the end of a roast and not have to bother with making a small amount for the two of us.
What I think we lack in our modern diets are these old sinewy, fatty cuts of meat. We have been brainwashed fat is bad for us. However, the way things are cooked slowly renders out much of the fat, and leaves collagen and sinews as a gelatinous protein that is essential for our skin, hair and cartilage.
Neither my husband or I have high cholesterol. My hear function is as good as a fit 16 year old's at 70110 resting. Yes I have a hacking cough at the moment from a chest infection I can't seem to shift, and the 10-15 roll ups a day! We drink a bottle of beer between us most evenings, and a bottle of red wine between us.
I went for for my first visit to the smoking clinic the other day at the behest of my doctor. When my Carbon Monoxide level was checked, it registered 12 parts per million. I had already had 4 fags!
Normal people who don't smoke probably have 6-8 parts per million. If you walk through traffic it would shoot it up higher than 12 parts per million, which incidentally I had to ask my husband to turn off the fan in the car on the way to the clinic as all I could smell and taste was diesel and petrol fumes.
Perhaps I just don't inhale a lot of the smoke from my roll ups. I only smoke outside in the garden. It's my kind of chatting to God moments. Or reflecting and planning what processes I am going to do. I plan everything mindfully first, and then just go and do it.
Anyway, I want to know what is in my food. I want to portion it so we don't overeat. I also like to cost the portions as I just like to know how much I am spending. Most of our meals work out under £2 each. Then we buy a good fishy meal at the Waitrose fish counter on Fridays when they have a 20% discount. I also try to eat an oily tinned fish during the week.
To be honest I am hardly ever hungry. Sometimes I may only eat one meal a day. I think it's because of the type of food we eat. I also find I become full very quickly, so have to make sure I don't put more on my plate. I prefer a bit of decoration than too much food.
My husband would have seconds every time if the meals were not pre portioned. He must watch his weight. I think over the last month I have sneakily slimmed him down by about half a stone! He is a well built man, and foodie. Measuring our wine over the last month has helped too. We buy boxes of wine, so the best thing to do is pour the evenings allotment into a little pitcher each. His usual offer of a cup of tea comes when I have about half a glass left, and he has run out!
Its one of those delightful marital rituals. I know he knows he wants my wine! I am touched he would make me a cup of tea as a swap!
I enjoy bulk cooking. The processes of slow cooked foods, and the preparation and care that I take with our food, and the respect I give to the meat and vegetables we eat. It honours God, and the animals we eat.
I also enjoy getting out a vac packed meal from our Freezer convenience store and having it ready with little bother most evenings. I realise most people would say they work so couldn't do this. I did when I worked. Prep time is minimal, cook time unsupervised, and pack time perhaps 20 minutes of weighing and sealing. Done as a family entertainment rather than watching TV every night of the week also teachers the youngsters their way round the kitchen.
My mother didn't work. She was on local council, and did a few other organisational things. She was very involved with the RAF air show at Shoreham. She also took evening classes, did some painting, loved gardening, and hated cleaning the house!
My my mother was also a very keen home economist who raised and fed five hungry sporty children, and cooked the special Coeliac diet for my Father.
Mostly these are techniques my mother and Grandmothers used. They are the cuts of meat that we ate. Just because they were cheap, and still are compared to the prime cuts, it doesn't mean they are less valuable. They are full of tissues you don't get in the lean meat. This coats our nerves, builds our skin and cartilage and with all the stock, lines our gut and keeps it healthy.
Brawn is also lovely in the summer as a cold potted meat with salad. The French eat a lot of these things. Brawn is called 'Fromage de Tete' in French. Rillette can be made from most fatty meats.
In days gone by, slow cooking the meat in a pot and pouring fat over it to seal it kept meat preserved in a cold pantry for weeks. It also meant the cook of the house always had a menu on hand for unexpected guests, or simply a food store for the house. This used to be considered wealth in most families. It meant you didn't have to worry where your next meal was coming from.
Believe me, nothing was wasted. Every scrap was utilised in some way. Our current lifestyle and recent generations do not remember oranges only arrived just before Christmas, and they were wonderful and exotic. We got one each in our Christmas Stocking! And I am only 60 years old! It was easier to get chocolate.
I find it heartbreaking to see so much wasted food. At least there are now initiatives to redistribute sell by date food, that is still good to eat, and get use by date perishable goods to people who desperately need help from food banks. Here in Jersey there are initiatives to make meals up from this food for families who need cooking for.
With my skills it is something I will look at doing next year. It's a bit like a cross between meals on wheels and a turn up at your house with a dinner for people who may even not have enough money to pay for the electric to cook their food.
I like cooking for people, so I have the time, and the enjoyment of doing it, also knowing that someone will not just sit down to a meal, but a lot of love and care cooked into it.
I hope I might inspire you to try different foods, the not so posh cuts of meat. When we buy and use the whole animal a farmer produces with care, we give the animal a higher value. This can easily translate into the animals wellbeing and conditions of its life. It allows them to be 'slow grown' in fields, eating grass and running and skipping and foraging about. It makes for happy animals, and shall we say meat produce with a good aura!
With good provenence, and slow grown meat very little medication is ever given to our local animals. They are numbered, so the animal has been tracked. My piggy had No 22 tattooed on his hock. I don't think Jon Hackett names his Pigs, but he would have been sad to see no 22 get big enough for the chop. What makes it less sad, is that we have seen no 22 having a great time growing up all summer. Playing with his mates, and being well fed and cared for. He was also a special purchase by me as I asked for his head and trotters.
Like I said, when you give your Pigs head a shave, and his trotters a manicure before you cook him, you can't get more identified with your food than that!
I am still chortling away to myself a day later after having my husband under my feet for my cooking weekend. I was cleaning the Pigs teeth, and getting a bit of straw out that had caused him a slight abscess and created a little pocket between his back molars.
I suddenly said loud enough for him to hear, 'good grief this pig has had a filling done'.
He shot over to have a look, and mistook the darker back molars as filled teeth. Incredulous, shocked and a few moments later he said, 'You are telling porkies'.
As my Mr Pork was no 22... we have a 'Catch 22 ... Pigs might fly'.
I wonder if he gave them a good run to catch him.
As a Bi-Polar person, I am faced with the catch 22 all the time! Self aware enough to know I shouldn't be driving, so technically not mentally unfit. However as I am considered not mentally unfit, my psychiatric services might get the chop! To which I would then get unwell...