Modern Convenience Foods

There are lots of different convenience foods. I think we were taught about in it home economics when I went to school.

I want to talk about a time about six or perhaps eight years ago when my husband still worked in a fast paced job in a civilised medium sized country town. I was about thirty seven and talking about that year and three years previous.

We were into wanting to be corporate in everything we did. I had four children at the time, aged about up to four to thirteen. I saw the bags of pre-washed salads in Coles, I may have used them once or twice. For the whole time we have been married I think, I have kept a lettuce in a lettuce container in the fridge, or perhaps in the early days in a colander, it is getting harder to remember. I take out the core, fill with water, turn it upside down to drain in the colander. When the lettuce runs out I buy a new one on shopping day, no matter how long that takes.

More recently, this year I walked into Safeway in our Regional Centre and I was struck by the amount of bagged salads the minute I walked in the door. So I am assuming they have increased a lot in the past five years. Was it beans I saw in a bag? However, my online green grocer put his beans in a bag, it is just not sealed and I assume not washed in chlorine as Jamie Oliver I think suggested those sealed bags are, at least in his country.

I have limited my precooked cakes at that time to birthdays or in lieu of home-baking. I am very stubborn about baking for other people outside those in my immediate household, I am not sure why that is. Maybe that it is one of my few liberated ideas. I used to buy the birthday cakes in Coles in one of those plastic containers. Now of course we live 1 1/2 hours from the nearest Coles. I have missed them, but gradually we have sorted out a new system. We have lived away from Coles five years.

I love at pre-marinated meat these days and wonder about it. The ones with vegetables in them, I just feel I wouldn't like to eat. Years ago, going back to when we were first married or our eldest two children were very small, we often marinated meat in this pottery bowl. That was because the Chinese Women's Weekly cookbook suggested that for the recipes. Recipes have changed a lot and have become easier and quicker. Not saying the marinating at the time was hard. So we don't marinade any more. I probably would be nice to upskill about BBQing but we don't BBQ so it would only be to know what others do, which is probably important.

I did buy pre-cooked chickens just before we left our hometown six years ago, and up until the time I shopped out of town here, not sure how long I have been doing that, maybe a year or two. I don't bring pre-cooked chicken home in the eski, though when we lived 1/2 hour from Melbourne I think I still bought the chickens home with me. We avoid chicken unless it comes in a Christmas hamper these days because of the real or imagined antibiotics they contain.

My mother has been using pre-cooked chickens every week for many many years. I started buying them after not wanting to at all, after reading a magazine called For Me. The lady who I have since contacted online had a very large family and wrote about her meals that she cooked for her family. One was chicken and corn cobs. So I had to try it.

Then after awhile we came across a paella recipe and for the first few years here it was a regular meal at our house, every 2-4 weeks. It involved rice, fresh tomatoes, lemon pepper and kabana or kabanos I think. Cooked chicken was a reliable food at the local shop, and there weren't too many of them, except rookwurst and chicken mince and perhaps I bought frozen pies and beef mince.

I don't think I got any of them to be a super person. It was easier for us to have frozen fish or pies back in the days I spoke of with potatoes and peas, nearly every night. I have spoken before how I am healthier now, either because of the change in diet or atmosphere. Our homecooked meals come from the Taste Australia website. I suppose if I didn't want to have an ordinary looking tea/dinner that would have been considered. Because I suppose salads and chicken do give a person points. Everyone loves the flair my Mum demonstrates with her meals. However, the meals we have made from the frozen fish from our Chrisco, Castle and Hamper King Christmas hampers lately have been very nice and I recommend them. For example Fish with Cheese Topping and cherry tomatoes and Lemon Crumbed Fish with Butter Bean Salad. I suppose it is a left over from the 60s where everything had to be done with flair. Remember those garnishes?

I had resisted the chickens for many years, even though my Mum was using them. Isn't it awful how once you have done the thing like bought the chicken you can't quite remember why you didn't buy them in the first place. I think it was a discipline thing. Maybe some people my age or older can relate. A similar thing goes on with washing clothes. Because of my self imposed discipline at the time I wouldn't buy the chicken.

The cake rake pictured below reminds me of my Nana's lovely vintage cake racks. We have a large one where lots of things fall though, and two small square ones that are very shiny and perhaps date from the 80s. I was interested that there were two kinds of cake racks in the hamper catalogues this year, a round one and a rectangular one. Yes, I could go to the hardware store, but I don't tend to do that.

Lemon Cake with Icing Sugar by Nikolai Buroh


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