For much of this year, I’ve been having a terrible relationship with cooking.
Normally, I like cooking. But for months, I’ve been in a perpetual state of can’t-be-botheredness. I’ve been eating far too many takeaways and semi-instant meals, and doing next to no cooking. The knock-on effect is poor nutrition – nowhere near my 5-1-day – and an empty fridge most of the time.
I’ve never really been one for a properly organised kitchen, with a meal plan and fridge full of the right ingredients. And I have nothing but respect for organised homemakers who can feed a family when I struggle to feed two of us. But it is a little bit complicated. I don’t work standard hours, and often have evening meetings. And ‘im indoors really prefers to eat at lunchtime and often uses his work canteen.
I’m trying to get back into the habit of cooking and shopping regularly and trying a leetle bit of planning. I’ve restarted using the 1click2cook website – which you populate with preferences, then it chooses five recipes for your evening meals next week and generates an automatic shopping list. Just this last week, I’ve also signed up for online shopping, to see how I get on. One immediate advantage is no illicit trips to the remaindered bakery section and stuffing my face with stale cake in the car park before driving home.
Pros and cons of 1click2cook –
Membership is really cheap and very good value for money. It’s got me cooking all sorts of odd and interesting things, and the weeks we use it we eat tasty food that on balance is masses healthier than takeaway weeks, and also much healthier than what I plan on my own.
A salutary lesson from taking a 1click2cook shopping list to the supermarket is just the amount of fresh veg it makes me buy. It’s only guiding me through one meal for most of the days, but still makes me get far more than I would anyway – before even I add in the apples, clementines and bananas that I’m supposed to eat for my lunch to bump up the numbers.
If your eatwell plate suggests you should be eating 1/3rd of your food as fruit and veg, I suppose your eatwell conveyor belt in the supermarket ought also to be 1/3rd vegetables.
You can also set it to provide different types of meals – I have it doing 3 meat, 1 fish, 1 vegetarian, but you can vary the numbers. I’m not very comfortable cooking with fish, and I don’t always like the results of the recipes. In fact I often find myself rejecting unfairly any sort of recipe with an unfamiliar fish, so more often than not, the fish meal ends up being tinned tuna.
Like with the veg box for the short while I did it, there’s no way of saying “we still have this ingredient left over – what can I do with it this week?” Week 2’s recipes are often completely different from Week 1s, so that sometimes you’re left with things you don’t have uses for. (It’s for that reason that I only ask for 5 recipes a week not 7 – I’ll almost certainly have nights off, and I will also know that I have enough ingredients left over to make other meals.)
There is a setting for how much you want to buy and how much make – so you can say, either I will make a tomato pasta sauce or I will buy one in a jar and use it as part of a recipe. But the website still assumes that some basic things come from ready made jars or bottles. Lemon juice and salad dressing are two examples. In my kitchen, lemon juice comes from lemons, and salad dressing is made from a selection of ingredients shaken together in an old jam jar. My selection includes 2 types of oil, dijon and wholegrain mustard, cider, balsamic and wine vinegars, some of which are home made, and other seasonal ingredients including elderflower cordial for the brief months it’s available. Back on the pro side – we eat far more salad on the 1c2c diet than we do ordinarily, so we can forgive them this!
Their system is complete random, so sometimes you get slightly odd combinations. This week has had three pasta dishes (including chilli con carne with penne?! – chilli should be with rice, so I did that anyway) two of which were pasta bakes! You can weed that out manually by making substitutions – potatoes and rice instead of pasta, normally, both of which are slightly healthier.
If you follow their list to the letter, you sometimes find yourself coming home with more fresh food, both veg and meat, than you can eat before it goes off. Common sense needed here, and more frozen meat than fresh some weeks.
Their system cleverly adapts quantities to your household, so it knows how much you need to feed the people you have to hand. I’m not sure what their base is for normal recipes, but reduced to 2 you sometimes get odd quantities of things suggested, like 60ml stock. It’s never yet asked me for 1/3rd of an egg, but it’s only a matter of time 🙂
They do have a refer a friend scheme, but they don’t have any way of creating specific urls. For blogging cooks, that would be a helpful thing. Instead, if any of you start using 1c2c as a result of my recommendation, please say firstname.lastname@example.org sent you!