Monday, 7 January 2013

The great home cooking revival

Eating out at a fine restaurant will always be one of life’s great pleasures, but for many people there are distinct advantages to rustling up a great meal at home. These include:

Saving money
Saving money is perhaps the most obvious benefit to cooking for yourself. The economic downturn of the last few years has fuelled a real resurgence in home cooking as squeezed consumers look for ways to save money without compromising on enjoyment and nutrition. This has boosted sales of kitchenware and cookery books and has seen a mini boom in the number of cookery classes available.

Supermarket chains have been quick to support the home cooking trend by providing thrifty shoppers with partially prepared ingredients that can be as quickly and easily assembled into a meal. Unusual ingredients and exotic herbs, spices and seasonings, such as those provided by the Schwartz range, are now far more readily available in major supermarkets than they were even a decade ago.

Family benefits
Spending more time with your family is another clear benefit to cooking at home. Sharing good food has always been a way of cementing bonds between family members, and sitting down together for meals on a regular basis may signal a return to more traditional family values. Preparing meals at home also provides parents with a good opportunity to teach their children how to cook, a skill that will stand them in good stead throughout life. If your children are fussy eaters, getting them involved in the preparation of food will make meals more fun and less of a battleground.

Health benefits
Good health is another sound reason to shun convenience food in favour of home-cooked meals. Wholesome, fresh ingredients are generally more nutritious than processed ones and if you cook your meals yourself you can control exactly how much fat, salt and sugar goes into them. You are also less likely to be tempted to buy unhealthy treats if you are eating satisfying home cooked meals.

Home cooking as a hobby
Many people pursue cooking as a serious hobby. It’s messy, it’s creative and the results can always be shared with an appreciative audience. Learning the cooking styles of different world cuisines is a great way of boosting your culinary expertise.

Traditional Chinese cuisine is a firm favourite among home cooks. Different styles of Chinese Recipes originate from the different regions of China and are influenced by factors such as climate and geography. Cantonese cuisine is probably the best known tradition outside of China. Soy sauce, spring onions and rice wine are very characteristic of this style of cooking. If you’re hosting a Chinese-themed dinner party, you can add chopsticks and bamboo mats for an authentic feel.

Greek cuisine is another popular tradition with a long history and many different styles to offer. Greek Recipes tend to make wide use of olive oil, aubergine, courgettes, okra, feta cheese and dried oregano. A little plate smashing can add a fun element to a Greek-themed dinner party.

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