Don’t hate me but I grew up with a mum who was and still is an incredible cook.
My earliest childhood memories all include my mum in the kitchen pressing down biscuit bases for baked cheesecakes and ‘topping and tailing’ fresh green beans for salads. I didn’t even know a frozen meal existed until my early twenties when I realised I’d forgotten to learn any of my mum’s recipes. My boyfriend at the time had no idea how to cook and regularly made macaroni and cheese from a box. It was orange. It was bright orange.
Let it be known, I’ve been a long-time corner cutter. Or as I prefer to think of myself, a time-saver. I colour my hair while on my cross trainer, I sleep in whatever top I’ve been wearing that day, I pre-pack snack foods and hang complete outfits on hangers. I brush my teeth in the shower and I answer emails on the toilet. Yes, that was TMI but I know I’m not alone on that one — I know you do it too.
But even I knew I could do better than bright orange macaroni and cheese from a box. So I went to the supermarket and headed straight to the frozen food aisle. While I loved my mum’s cooking, I’d always been curious to try the frozen meals I’d seen advertised on TV. We grew up on Italian food and I’d never even tried chicken cooked in mustard sauce or beef slices in gravy. There were so many to choose from.
My love affair with frozen meals had begun.
I didn’t give up on learning to cook all of my mum’s delicious food but it took me years of trial and error and total disasters. I’d always baked desserts but I couldn’t do pasta sauce or casseroles or even bake a chicken. If it weren’t for frozen meals I would have starved, or eaten out every night, or subsisted on orange macaroni and cheese.