Look at this gorgeous shot.
It’s from a family dinner at our house.
Before you get all ‘ooh and ahh’ and talk about how you could never do that, take a closer look.
See how tightly framed the shot is. That’s so I don’t show the world the mess and chaos around the actual dish.
You can’t hear that I am yelling at my kids to get the cutlery.
It tastes great, but one of the three kids has groaned and declared they don’t like it without even a taste.
You can’t hear me say snippily “you get what you get and don’t get upset” (yeah, I’m THAT mum).
At first glance it might look impressive – but real life is happening all around it.
When I cook, it’s dinner, not Masterchef. Sometimes I make it look pretty enough for Instagram because I am proud of it. But only sometimes.
The trouble is that my Instagram feed is made up of the just those sometimes moments. So if you look at it by itself you might be tempted to think that dinner at our house is painstakingly prepared to be beautiful every night.
I can’t even begin to tell you how far from the truth that is!
Real life, real food
That’s the problem with the ‘food-as-entertainment’ culture (that’s what it’s called when we all spend hours watching Masterchef, but at the same time lose the ability to cook). It’s food with the real life edited out of it. It builds expectation that all our meals will be worthy of a restaurant critic’s approval.
That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself when really it’s just dinner!
So if you don’t have time to cook, maybe it’s because your expectations of what cooking should be are too high.
You can revise them down immediately and chuck out the idea that dinner will always look like your Instagram feed. If you do that you are removing some of the pressure that you are putting on yourself.
You don’t need to impress any judges (including kids or partners). You just need to get healthy foods on the table.
Cooking doesn’t have to be hard
Lots of businesses (including supermarkets, food manufacturers, fast food companies and meal delivery services) have invested billions of dollars in the message that cooking is hard – and then selling us an easy solution. But, put bluntly, they are lying. Cooking doesn’t have to be hard.
Take this Sauteed Rainbow Chard recipe. It’s one of the most popular things we make as part of the cooking workshops I run. It takes five minutes, is delicious and can be used as a base for a least three other meals. But the image that I usually use with it is this:
Why? Because the cooked version is delicious, healthy and nutritious, but it takes a lot of photographic skill to make it look that way in a photo!
You can use this recipe as quick side dish that you make while frying an egg and an inexpensive delicious dinner is ready in minutes.
Try it tonight and stay tuned for my next post that is all about how to meal plan in a way that suits your lifestyle. Until then, eat well and enjoy!