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Why Bother Cooking at All?

Hi all, its been a couple of weeks as I've been stalling to announce our opening date, but the truth is, it's out of my hands now and in the hands of our permit masters. I had hoped for an April, then May launch, and now Memorial weekend would be nice, but looking tight at this stage. My team and I will need a week or so once we're passed inspections to start aging and prepping our produce which also obviously adds a week. As soon as I can officially say for sure when we'll be ready I will, and again, thank you for the surprising and overwhelming support we've received, I can't wait to get going and meet you all.

I've set up an IndieGoGo event which is offering some exclusive offers and things that won't be available after we open, as well as discounts across the board on whatever is on offer. There's also a little introduction from me so please do have a look in any event. The link for that is at the bottom of this page. I wrote the below late last year, and I tried to encapsulate how I feel about the simple art of cooking food. I hope you enjoy it. See you soon.

We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s late, you’re tired, bored, or just feeling lazy: you don’t fancy cooking anything that night so you whip out the phone and rustle up some good old fashioned home delivery service. And I’ll admit, unless you’re one of the unlucky ones who gets their food delivered by a guy on a pogo stick, or receive it from some “chef” that just sent whatever he had lying around the yard, it usually ticks both hunger and taste boxes, even if it does come with a side of post-dinner guilt.

There are many people that live predominantly like this (I don’t judge), and the good news is that these days there are some legitimately sound options out there for takeout/delivery meals that detour from the standard pizza, kebab, chips and curry options that I had available (and regularly indulged on) in England. There’s also a healthy amount of midweek-super-quick-bonanza-meal-solution things from companies that send everything to you complete with explicit instructions on what to do. That’s a great way to start cooking, especially if you haven’t got the time to stalk the supermarket aisles yourself after a hard day at the office, retail space or home school.

I realise it’s difficult to write about the pros of cooking from scratch without sounding like a Preachy McPreacherson, but I wanted to highlight the extreme satisfaction that can come from producing your own cooked meal, especially for the first time, not to mention the glorious praise you’d no doubt receive from you dinner recipients. On top of this, the truth is, it doesn’t have to be that hard.

But why bother?

In all seriousness, I personally find it therapeutic, like meditation, or the fierce exercise regimes that work for many people out there. Once you get to grips with a recipe or you’re making your favourite meal, you can zone out and devote some of that brainpower to dealing with your day, whatever’s happening in your life or whatever it is you might need to deal with.

It’s especially relevant and important in the current climate, where at time of writing the Pandemic is still surging, people are hiding in their houses and counting their toilet rolls (At time of posting, we’re getting there, but we’re not completely out of the woods yet). If you think it’s possible that it might help you relax or unwind as it does me, I’d say it’s worth a go, considering we probably need as much mental health help as we can get these days.

The physical health benefits have to be considered too. Aside from the very few restaurants that actively produce healthy low fat food, the calorie content usually just isn’t a priority, the priority is for it to taste good, so that you go back for more. And I shouldn’t have to mention if you’re on first-name terms with the staff at your local Popeyes or In/Out Burger, you might want to dial it down a touch. When you cook your own thing, it nearly always involves cooking from scratch, using, you know, actual food, vegetables, lean meats (if you want), herbs, spices and crucially no unknown chemical preservatives or the classic “natural flavours”. Even if you shovel salt in like it’s going out of fashion, it’s still likely to contain less sodium than a lot of take-outs. And sugar? Cue shocked emoji face. I recently learned that a Subway bread roll contained 10% sugar. Just the bread! (although a court in Ireland ruled that it can’t technically be classified as bread there because of this).

Delicious maybe, but at what cost?

I might add that I recently read that cooking food (on your feet, generally moving about the kitchen) burns more than 3 times more calories than you would do sitting on the couch ordering dinner through your phone.

On top of all this your wallet will thank you too; in my experience cooking meals for yourself and/or your family for 7 days is more than half the cost of takeout for just 4-5 days. You can coordinate buying meat and veggies so that they multitask across different meals, reducing shopping time and saving cash for something else. You could divert the savings for an actual meal out at a restaurant as a treat for the weekly effort.

Now I do get that no one is born wearing chef whites, spinning plates and shouting expletives at your serving staff, and you don’t have to be, you learn as you go, and even the best in the world will tell you that they are still learning; it’s the same in butchery too.

I'm sure he's saying nice things

So for those who say “they just can’t cook”, well I would say you just haven’t properly tried. You couldn’t drive, play GTA 5 or ride that pogo stick until you tried either. Just start small and grow into it.

A good starting place might be to search for some easy low-ingredient recipes, like our Southern Baked Chicken (there are more recipes coming honest!) and go from there. Recipes like this are both quick and easy, so can be packed into most busy schedules. As mentioned above, combining a few ingredients that can be used across the week is a great way to make the shop easier and to reduce wastage, just takes a little planning. Some examples include potatoes, onions, mushrooms, leaks, stock, rice etc – it doesn’t have to be complicated, just protein, starch and veggies!

You can even replicate your favourite naughty dinners at home like the Southern Baked Chicken, or making your own burger; fish and chips is pretty easy too! (recipes and tips for these coming soon)

By using your own ingredients you have total control over what is fuelling you and your family.

Cooking is easier, honest

Also, despite what your therapist might say, the internet is good for many things, not all of them rude. It is awash with free recipes and ideas, from quick and easy right up to Michelin-star-highest-difficulty-setting. That’s how I learned. I started copying my favourites, learning what things taste good together and tried to better myself. That’s it really, you don’t have to professionally train.

If you’re also fortunate to live by a local (small) produce store or butcher, get to know them! At Featherblade for example, we’re always happy to discuss a new cooking method, give advice or recommend a cut of meat that might suit the ideas you have. Honestly, the satisfaction from trying and succeeding at a new (and relatively) easy thing like this is second to none.

Food for thought I hope…

Check out our IndieGoGo!

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