I like convenience food. It’s as the name suggests – convenient. As a stay-at-home dad of two, there are days when I just don’t get the time to prepare something from scratch and therefore resort to the ‘easy’ option of chucking something in the oven, or, occasionally, getting ‘Chef Mike’ to nuke it for me.
However, I do enjoy cooking. I’m from a large Italian family where dinner time was (and still is) an important event, a social gathering. I’d rather spend a leisurely couple of hours sitting around the table with my family and a glass of wine (or two) enjoying some great home-cooked food instead of sitting in front of the tv with a tray of bland, re-heated mush.
So far, one of my proudest moments as a dad was when Miss D was starting to eat solids and I cooked her some pasta with my own ‘signature’ tomato sauce. To my delight, she really enjoyed it and now that Miss D and Little Dude are old enough to vocalise their opinion on whatever gets put in front of them, it’s always a pleasure to be told that something I have created from scratch is ‘yummy’.
If anything, being at home has improved my cooking skills immeasurably. If Mrs D fancies something new for dinner, or if I see something interesting on a cooking show, I’m able to spend a bit of time checking out the recipe and getting a consensus on the ingredients and cooking method. Mrs D does get concerned with the amount of cupboard space that my ever increasing herb and spice collection takes up, but as I like to remind her, we have used all of them at one point or another.
Nowadays, with the popularity of male tv chefs and ‘blokey’ cooking shows, it’s pretty clear that the tired old stereotypical opinion that ‘men can’t cook/wont cook’ is dead and buried. Well, I thought it was until I saw this sarcastic tv advert from The Co-op (for any overseas folk reading this, they’re a popular UK supermarket chain).
“Half price crispy chicken and lightly spiced potato wedges. Ideal for when it’s dad’s turn to cook.”
Really? You mean dad can pre-heat an oven to the correct temperature, open a couple of packets, place the desired quantity of food onto a baking tray, put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes whilst at the same time being able to adjust the cooking time for fan-assisted ovens? What a hero.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I have a Lightly Spiced Potato Wedge on my shoulder because of what I do. I certainly know several chaps that don’t like cooking and freely admit that they aren’t very good at it, but I also know a few more that do enjoy getting their hands dirty in the kitchen. This is just lazy advertising. Imagine the uproar that would be caused if an advert dared to suggest that a mum was incapable of making a fresh home-cooked dinner for her kids?
What’s next Co-op? A delightful advert campaign telling women how much they will enjoy your home cleaning products and rubber gloves? I know you’ve been around since 1933 but your attitude towards modern living doesn’t have to stay there.
(Video clip filmed using my camera phone - apologies for the poor quality!)