In a way our grandparents were the greenest generation of the past 100 or so years. They weren’t so tempted by processed foods and over packaging. The general attitude of thrift passed down to them by their parents and magnified by the shortages of the war led to a buying local and ‘make do and mend’ philosophy.
What’s more, a survey by Love Food Hate Waste and Mumsnet found that 24% of parents were not confident that they could make a meal using leftovers without resorting to a recipe book.
Shocking, especially when you consider the £12.5billion of good food and drink that gets thrown away from UK homes each year. Our grandparents would probably never have considered such a thing - storing left overs and reusing them in meals throughout the week.
£12.5billion of good food and drink is thrown away from UK homes each year.
Undoubtedly, shows such as The Bake Off have boosted the popularity of skills such as baking (with retailers even trying to predict what the ‘hot’ ingredients will be and racing to get them on the shelves). However, this is still not the type of cooking our grandparents would undertake as it still relies on buying more, cooking unseasonal ingredients and not creating foods that can be stored over winter or reused in different meals.
While the recession and, arguably, a general feeling of disillusionment with the current system has led to a rise in the popularity of restaurants that focus on sustainability such as Poco, The Captain’s Galley and many others (River Cottage has, of course, been leading the way for years) these are still restaurants. Restaurants that people go to to eat sustainably, rather than making meals with local, sustainable produce at home.
So, how can we ensure that skills such as seasonal cooking, pickling and preserving, fermenting and re-using leftovers, don’t die out?
The easy answer of course, is to learn it ourselves. For those of us still lucky enough to have grandparents around to pass on this knowledge - go ask them. For those of us in a less fortunate position - there is that endless resource - the internet.
Here is our selection of some pickling and fermenting recipes to get you going.
There are, of course, countless other resources out there that can help you learn the skills our grandparents took for granted. Enjoy learning and let us know how you get on - we would love to hear from you.
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