As you may be aware, there’s a pandemic on at the moment.  It’s quite terrifying.

Less serious than the obvious concerns is that everyone has to stay at home.  As a society, we don’t really like doing that.  People are panic-buying.  Supermarket shelves are bare and it’s one-in/one-out on the door.  The entire food supply chain that we’ve taken for granted since the 1950s has effectively collapsed.

It was less than a week into self-isolation, probably in front of a “we are now closed” message on Ocado, that I realised that through accident and necessity, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we eat, and the way we think about food.

People don’t like change.

I realised that I’ve been guilty of a lazy, consumerist approach towards food – and shopping for food – for most of my adult life.  We live in London and there are a variety of national supermarkets within a couple of minutes’ walk.  I invariably end up going to at least one of them, at least once a day, and buying whatever we want to eat, whenever we want to eat it.  Bags of fresh produce sit in the bottom of the fridge, decaying until they’re remembered and binned.  Plastic wrappers added to mountains of semi-toxic waste.

COVID-19 has forced us to take a more subsistence-based approach to food, and that can only be a good thing. The option of “just running to the shop” no longer exists.  With that, it’s forcing us all to think more about what we eat, when we’re eating it, and how we’re cooking it.  I’ve realised this is commonly known as “effort”. 

Having had a bit of a think about it in a brief moment of quiet, it seems the principles are simple:

Plan more.  Buy less.  Save more.  Waste less. 

Use everything you can. 

Accept that the “buy the best you can afford” mantra of certain celebrity chefs isn’t currently really practical for 105 meals a week (in my case).

This was originally supposed to be a blog for me to record any interesting things I’ve managed to knock up for dinner and share it with a handful of friends.

Thinking we should probably try and take whatever positives we can from the next few months, those friends and I decided we’d open it up as a community site to share ideas, thoughts and recipes. Hopefully encouraging people to try and feel better by eating better.

Then in a few months’ time we can all go back to being terrible again.

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“I know when to go out. And when to stay in.” David Bowie, 1983