Buying an electric implement for the kitchen will not automatically make you a good cook – or produce tasty food. Do not be fooled!
Every pre-Christmas, I notice that advertisements for electric accessories, tables and chairs and tableware proliferate, as if by owning these items your ability to produce perfect seasonal fare is then assured. Today, I walked into one local supermarket and was presented with a great pile of gravy boats. Do people only eat – or serve – gravy at Christmas? And what happens to all the gravy boats specially purchased other years – do they automatically vanish?
I annually ponder these vexing questions.
However, when I recently read an on-line advertisement from one of the mail order companies I deal with regularly, I actually felt cross. Here were special pans to microwave an omelette (£10), cook rice (£15), bake a pie (£35) or make soup (an eye-watering £70). Advertisers are clever and convince you that you rally cannot cook – or in any way do without – whatever item it is they are trying to sell. In these days of such widespread economic hardship, I find it in appallingly bad taste.
One omelette pan, one large soup pan (with lid!) and a collection of aluminium pie cases saved and washed from pies bought from the chippy or supermarket would produce all this food at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, what many are short on is the know-how of what to do in their kitchen.
I fondly remember the time I spent with my mother and uncle out in Sri Lanka when I was a child. We had a wonderful cook, Rajah, who could produce mouth-watering Singhalese and Indian dishes and cordon bleu European cuisine – his main utensils were a large sharp knife, and a medium-sized fork and table spoon. At the end of every day, he would carefully wash and dry them and reverentially lay them out on a clean cloth upon the kitchen table ready for his return the next morning.
Perhaps this is an extreme example in the opposite direction, but worth bearing in mind!
Every good cook is economical and hates waste. Keep it simple. Don’t be seduced into making unnecessary purchases – use what you have got and when you do have to buy new, make sure that it is multifunctional, of reasonable quality and will last a good long time.
For more ideas on how to operate in a kitchen economically, take a peek in either of my free e-booklets, ‘Eat Cheap: Survival Strategies in the Kitchen‘, or ‘Christmas on a Shoestring‘ which can be read on my website or downloaded – you can print them out yourself or order from Amazon if you want a professionally produced paper copy (just be aware that this last will cost you a few pounds).
I feel another book coming on – nothing quite like I have written so far, but one about how to basically run a household. It has already been suggested to me several times and I am beginning to think that maybe I should give it a try.
In the meantime, as far as Christmas Dinner is concerned, don’t get too stressed out… stick to simple, tried and tested… and good luck!