Kaye Holland can't cook, won't cook
Once upon a time, tourism boards wanted to tell us that their destination was fantastic for ‘live music’. Then the tagline was ‘art’, followed by ‘fashion’. Fast forward to the present day and it’s all about food.
Make no mistake: food has never been more fashionable. Without fail every tourism board I talk to tells me that their city/country/region (delete as appropriate) is a foodie’s paradise brimming with farm to table (aka locally sourced food) dining venues, funky pop ups, trendy microbreweries et al.
And more often that not, they’re right: ‘It’ restaurants are everywhere and travellers and locals alike are scrambling for seats. We’re reading reviews for restaurants all around the world – from Bristol to Budapest and Bali – and queuing around the block to get in and Instagram a picture of the go- to dish.
Yet while I love to dine out the latest hotspots (in London the buzz right now is all about Hoppers and Gymnasium) and will happily spend my Saturday mornings slumped on the sofa watching James Martin’s whip up a recipe on Saturday Kitchen, I can’t – it dawned on me on Christmas Day when I was trying to assist my Mum in the kitchen – cook for toffee.
For me, dinner is about wine, cheese and flatbreads – perhaps, at a push, some olives or anything else that is ‘instant’. I thought I was alone in my kitchen crap-ness but it transpires that I am anything but. I canvassed friends as to what they had eaten on Christmas Day and the answer ranged from “dips, Pringles and panettone” to “profiteroles and Prosecco.” Very few faffed around with a Turkey, with those who had their heart set on traditional Christmas dinner heading out to a restaurant.
Why are my friends and I so useless in the kitchen? I think it’s because – thanks to daily modern life with its endless deadlines, to-do lists, gym classes, hen nights and non stop social media pressures – we’re all so damn time poor. If I actually have a free hour, I’d prefer to watch paint dry than spend it shackled to the stove while trading 101 things to do with a ripe aubergine.
And thankfully – with M&S to the left of my door and Morrisons to my right – I don’t have to. Food halls, hummus and packets of pitta bread have set me free. It may not be the most nutritious diet, but it’s one that has given me the greatest gift of them all this Yuletide: free time.