Gone are the days when the mother would spend the best part of the day cooking a delicious meal for the whole family.
Gone are the days of fresh and in season produce being put together to create something truly delicious.
Instead today we are posed with a cardboard box, or a plastic pot or air tight package ready to get thrown into a box and ready to eat in two minutes. The lazy microwave age is upon us.
Everyday dishes such as spaghetti bolognese, shepherd’s pie, chicken curry and a wide selection of pastas, burgers and even pancakes can all now be cooked in the microwave. Who could resist? When the recommended retail price for a Birdseye Spaghetti Bolognese microwave meal costs as little as £1.
However, since being at university, I’ve learnt the importance of fresh cooking and that buying in mass and cooking for everyone can actually work out rather cheap. Granted, it may cost slightly more than the Birdseye tat above, but you’ll know exactly what is going into it and is guaranteed to taste much better.
God knows what goes into a microwave meal, but it’s more than likely to consist of a variety of preservatives, colourings, artificial flavourings and badly sourced produce.
In a Birdseye Spaghetti Bolognese meal, the sauce consists of the following: Water, Beef 12%, Tomatoes, Onion, Tomato Purée, Mushrooms, Red Wine, Carrots, Celery, Maize Starch, Sugar, Reduced Sodium Salt (Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride), Garlic, Yeast Extract, Oregano, Parsley, Basil, and Pepper.
Although the majority of ingredients are fresh here – which is certainly an exception – there is only 12% beef and a vast amount of water. In comparison, a packet of fresh beef mince, an onion, a carrot, tomato purée, Worcester sauce, a tin of chopped tomatoes and a packet of spaghetti – when split four ways – provides a nutritious meal for four at a fair price.
Jamie Oliver, who forever emphasises healthy eating, has recently released the book 30 Minute Meals - proving how easy it is to cook and prepare a fresh three course meal for a family in very little time.
Microwave meals don’t have to be the only option on a busy day; nor do they have to act as a cheaper alternative – as many students would prove.
Do you think the culture of microwaves and TV dinners has gone too far? Or are fast meals built into our busy lifestyles?