The new crop of spring cookery books is out and as usual publishers seem to be convinced they’re onto a winner with titles featuring the words ‘quick’, ‘easy’ and ‘simple’. (‘Slimming World’s Extra Easy All-in-One’ must tick every box going.)
It’s the same with cookery mags and even estimable cookery sites such as this one have endless links for 'quick and easy' recipes of every type. The implication being that . . . well . . cooking is really a terrible drag, to be got through, like housework, as quickly as possible.
OK, there are some people who loathe cooking and - to my eternal bewilderment - prefer swabbing their work surfaces, but what are the rest of us saving time for? Ironically, it seems, to watch cookery programmes like Masterchef or Come Dine with Me where contestants take a lot more time and trouble making a meal than the viewers are prepared to.
Simon Hopkinson's Baked pappardelle with pancetta and porcini defers gratification by all of forty minutes - too long to wait?
Maybe we’re just too ambitious: overawed by the clever creations we see on telly we just give up. When I was brought up, my mother - not a great cook, admittedly - had a limited repertoire. Monday and Tuesday used up leftovers from the roast. There would be macaroni cheese another night (my favourite), mince another. If it was Friday we knew it would be fish - grilled plaice usually. It wasn’t too demanding because they were all familiar friends.