Foo-bored

No, this is not a type error or case of dyslexia.

This is about

FOOD BOREDOM

 I suppose school dinners could be blamed for some of it. I mean we had mash, boiled and roast potatoes once a week, curry and rice on Wednesdays, and chips on Fridays. Ice cream was always on Tuesdays and if we had chocolate crispies for afters, it was always with pink frothy custard.

On the homefront, Dad was a meat and 2 veg kind of guy so we always had a cooked meal every evening, bacon and all the trimmings for breakfast at the weekends and a traditional Sunday roast. Mum would bake cake and apple pie Sunday mornings, and Sunday tea was the only time we could have our dessert (fruit and jelly) before sandwiches and everything else.

I never found food boring then. I suppose because I wasn’t responsible for buying, preparing and cooking it, I took it all for granted when the miracle of Dinner was put in front of me on a plate.

Cooking for a ready made family changed all that, especially with an adult male and his 2 male offspring, all with healthy appetites to cater for. I seemed to be forever cooking and washing up! It was a difficult time (1985)  as I had a weekly budget of just £8 with which to feed the family, so it wasn’t unusual to see me practically falling into a shop freezer ferreting about for the split bag of frozen veg I could get at a discount, or buying produce at a knocked down price as it was near its best before date. I learned a lot about frugality and could get three meals out of a 4lb chicken. I tried to ring the changes with casseroles, jacket spuds, pastas, spaghetti and curries, but the food was either left if they didn’t like it or insufficiently filling, so I’d be cooking a dozen pancakes to fill the gaps in their rumbling bellies. A pudding was expected every day, so trifles (any left over cake went in the jelly) , fruit pies, and crumbles fitted the bill when necessary. In the unlikely event of having any stale bread, this was soaked then squeezed out and made into a bread pudding. I baked my own cakes and had a part time job which had the added perk of ‘food returns’ such as pies, pasties, sausage rolls and the occasional danish pastry or doughnut, which I brought home and served with a mountain of chips and baked beans followed by a ‘free’ cake dessert. Most of the time though, I doubled the amount of bread and butter with each meal (any not eaten would be made into a bread and butter pudding the next day), loaded their plates with extra potatoes, and made sure they all had a glass of water with their dinner.

What makes food interesting? I’ve seen and heard tales of desperate parents trying to tempt their offspring with blue or bright yellow mashed potatoes, or vegetables spelling out their name (alphabet spaghetti has a lot to answer for as to me it just encouraged kids to play with their food) , and I remember my Dad saying what a tasty bit of rabbit it was when Mum had sworn blind it was chicken! I have since made my own rabbit pies and although it’s nothing like chicken, it’s not bad at all and everything comes down to how you cook it.

Remember how boring it was years ago being ‘on a diet’ ? Salad with this, salad with that, salad with salad! Dull, dull, DULL. No wonder we all gave up so easily. Times have changed dramatically, and on some diets, you can eat absolutely LOADS, and still lose weight. It’s all to do with balance, combinations and variety. I am no professional, but I understand and appreciate food better now than I ever did, and believe a “little of what you fancy does you good” means you can basically eat anything you like, provided you know the consequences of ‘the bad stuff’. Despite having borderline type 2 diabetes, I still eat chocolate and cake, not to mention having a serious weakness for fruit pastilles, but I just restrict them. When I bake, I cut down on salt, fats and sugars and of course have the added knowledge of knowing EXACTLY what goes into each item. I’m lucky in not having to take any medication so try to eat a variety of foods, and walk the dog at least twice a day. I’m checked out every six months, and things are looking good, so I must be doing something right.

 It used to be the norm in many households to have fish and chips on a Friday night from the chippy as it was a cheap meal. Not so now. It’s unlikely I’ll get change from a tenner for the cost of cod and chips for the two of us today. Ten pounds goes a long way in our food budget, not only in respect of the food it buys but the number of meals said food provides for us. It’s no surprise then that we kicked this and other takeouts into touch years ago when our income dropped.

In my adult life, I have tried to avoid having specific meals on specific days week in week out.

My hubby, bless him, would be happy with rice every day as unlike me, he does not get foo-bored.

He likes rice. He prefers it to potatoes and hates the idea of me slaving in the kitchen preparing a roast dinner when for him a bowl of rice would do. We have compromised a little and apart from Christmas Day when I pull out all the stops for tradition or if we have a houseful of visitors, roast spuds are rarely on the menu here. The only regularity in our weekly main meal routine is that we will have at least 3 without meat, one of fish, and the other 3 whatever I feel like cooking. Rice is of course very versatile to this way of living. We have rice with curry, chilli, sweet and sour sauce (meat optional), and by adding milk and a teaspoon of honey, he’ll eat it as a dessert. With pasta, I make a pretty mean macaroni cheese (he calls it McCheese)  or I cover the pasta quills with my mix of tomatoes, onions and herbs. Also in the larder are packs of long spaghetti and lasagne sheets, plus an array of herbs and spices. My basic mix of minced beef, tomatoes, onions, and herbs is used for spaghetti bolognese, lasagne or chilli (add kidney beans and replace the herbs with chilli powder) . I’ve also used it as a base for ‘cottage pie’ as there is usually enough for 2 days.

Whatever I cook, I try to vary what we have and how often. Hopefully, nothing then becomes routine, predictable or thus boring.

 Breakfast however is another matter. Cereal.

 

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! We have an elderly dog called Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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