How do you balance good nutrition and good taste?
Food is integral to culture, every culture and a unifying influence across tribes as well as different language dialects. Food and music cross cultural and language barriers and both nourish so much more than our bodies and souls. Sharing a mealtime with those we care about can be a time of inspiring each other, comforting a loved one and strengthening personal ties. Similarly having spent time sharing a relaxing meal with someone you do not know helps to ease the conversation as well as relieve tension.
Four and a half decades later and I still remember boarding school’s weekly menu: Mondays was corned beef which meant we had corned beef sandwiches on Tuesdays for afternoon tea on Tuesday; dinner Tuesday night was a sloppy chicken mess; Wednesdays’ treat was cottage pie; we looked forward to Thursdays – a full roast meal complete with crispy roast potatoes, parsnips and carrots and fresh peas all swimming in jugs full of scrumptious thick gravy; Friday was baked or crumbed fish (convent school); weekends were a bit of a lottery but whatever it was it was a mysterious mish-mash of the week’s leftovers. The MOTH (man of the house) has similar recollections of school food that was generally floppy overcooked vegetables and grey meat.
Planning and research are an important part of food preparation in our home even when we were a one-income family the meals were tasty and nutritious and generally enjoyed! Our kitchen book shelves groan under the burden of cookbooks gathered during our marriage and it is from these that inspiration comes for our meals now that we are once again a family of two.
Breakfast is pretty standard and while it can lack variety it is an important meal that is a combination of grains, fruit, yoghurt and milk. In summer lunch is always a salad which has such a variety of vegetables that it is colourful, appetising and the envy of fridge-gazers at my place of work.
As the colder months approach soups are a lovely way to warm up and thanks to food pots a hot meal of leftovers is also part of winter lunch-time fare. Evening meals vary from one-pot wonders, warm salads and the occasional roast meal again cooler months tend to find us cooking our favourite curries and comfort foods. Part of the appeal of food comes from its appearance so if a dish is colourful and looks gorgeous I’m likely to give it a try. Come to think of it the same can be said for chocolate, pink bubbles, cake and biscuits!
The bottom line?
- Know the nutritional value of the ingredients
- Keep it colourful
- Mix up the textures; smooth with crunchy
- Use herbs and spices to add depth and surprise to every dish