Dish of the Day: Cooking at home is on the rise

Dan Doherty
london 300x199 Dish of the Day: Cooking at home is on the rise

(Getty Images)

With everyone hitting the gym, detoxing for January, promising to keep in touch with friends and many other doomed to fail resolutions, I’d like to take a minute and talk about what I thought about Christmas.

Some things never change, people will pretend to work harder than they normally do during December, then instantly regret it in January, they will overindulge over the holiday, by right, in my opinion, they will make the above resolutions, and inevitably break them.

But the one thing that has changed, or is changing, is that more people are cooking at home. More are challenging themselves to try something new, or make what they’d normally buy, or really aim to improve their turkey technique or take on the challenge of a goose. But why? Instinctively, I’d say it was down to Jamie Oliver, Tom Kerridge and the like, but then, we have always had an abundance of TV chefs inspiring the British public with what to do with our food, especially our leftovers, whether a turkey hash or a Gammon curry.

So what is it? It feels like our culture is changing, slowly, and that, as a whole, we care a little more. You see it everywhere, friends, family, even on social media; people who I know well enough to know they would never attempt to make a Pheasant Rillette (you know who you are, Digger) or go out and splash 70-odd quid on a goose (looking at you, Mikey) but that’s the reality now. We care about food, well, more than we did, which maybe wasn’t that hard, but you get my point.

Is Britain finally about to loose the stigma of having rubbish food? Probably not, as there are, unfortunately, still millions out there eating rubbish, but one can dream, and at least this is a start.

Another thing that surprised me a little, and this is something that first struck many of us during the Olympics, and that is how kind people were to one another. Lots of people out there were working over Christmas, not just chefs, people who do important work, like doctors, nurses (my sister, in fact) firemen, then there are the journos making sure we get a paper, etc. – you get the gist.

But people genuinely seemed more festive, more appreciative if they were off and sympathetic to those who weren’t. The guests we served on Christmas day, and throughout December, for the most part, were true to this. I saw more people than ever wishing passers by a ‘merry Christmas, which admittedly seemed strange at first, the whole talking-to-strangers thing, but I soon got used to it. The interesting thing is that I’m pretty sure most of these merry folks probably weren’t celebrating the arrival of Baby Jesus. We don’t take the religion part very serious, but the celebrating part? Oh yes.

Lastly, and it’s a slightly sadder point – Do you remember when things were closed on a Sunday? I barely do and I’m almost 30. But I do remember when things were only open a little bit, and only a few shops at that. Now look at how it is. Working Christmas day for a couple of years now, and you see that things, in London at least, are changing. I wonder if the 25th December will feel like Christmas as it does now, or even as it did before, in 10 years time? It’s a strange feeling, remembering how I felt as a kid, knowing that EVERYTHING was closed, and that it was all about staying home, seeing family, eating a roast, playing Pictionary and watching TV.

What will we be doing in 2025? Will shops be open? Restaurants already are so that’s the next step, I’m sure. As cultures merge, do religious holidays loose significance? I know most of the restaurants on Commercial Road were open, and so they bloody well should be. Food for thought, especially if you are on your own with no family, it seems fair to provide an option? It’s easy to want things the way they were when all is good in your world I suppose.

  • jones the roof

    I always cook at home, where else would you have me cook, in my next-door neighbour’s?

  • spencer

    You can’t beat cooking at home, it creates a bigger bond between the family if they all have a go and it is also cheaper and you can experiment and have fun :-)

  • Fool_Brittania

    I find cooking, and washing the dishes, relaxing.

    My frustration with many of today’s published recipes is that they use exotic ingredients that would have be special ordered even at Waitrose or Sainsburies.

    BUT, I can get fresh vanilla – straight from the farm!

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