What about you? Where do you buy your greens? Do you find good and fresh local fish around? Where do you get your meat right now? And by the way, have you learned how to make sourdough already? How about a nice stew or a delicious but simple lentil soup...?
Food has become a great source of conversation these days. For English writer and historian Bee Wilson, “the shift to home cooking has been amazing.” From zoom cooking and virtual meals, to trying to make a quiche Lorraine or a pad Thai from scratch, or avoiding waste creatively, people are rediscovering the value of food. They are exchanging family recipes and tutorials on Whatsapp, and reconnecting people in quarantine around the table. In the midst of one of the biggest global crises of our time, there is a glimmer of optimism.
“For decades across the western world people have been eating fewer legumes. We are constantly told that chickpeas are good for us, but then we just don't eat them, because we don't think we have time to soak them or simply because we do not know how to cook them… To see people eager to buy them on the markets or sharing ideas on how to make them is cheering, in a way. It's huge,” says Wilson.
Of course, everything about the way we eat is connected to the way we live. Wilson knows this more than anyone, as the author of The Way We Eat Now. And of course “the busy-busy way of life” will eventually keep us back on our toes. Some changes, though, might be here to stay: “Not only have a lot of people discovered that it's easy to cook, and that it doesn't take as much time as we were mistakenly led to think, people have been enjoying to cook while conquering something very important, and that is the habit. Once you win the habit, it becomes natural. For me, at least, it is almost like brushing my teeth”. So even if work or daily duties overwhelm us, “there will be weekends waiting for us to reconnect with this recovered practice. Those who learn will stay hungry for cooking in a way they did not realise”.