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Louise’s story: food, meal times and my family during lockdown

04 August 2020

Louise, our National Food Services Operational Manager and mother to a teenager, shares her lockdown experience and the part food and meal times have played.

Lockdown for many – myself included – has been a very busy time, juggling full time work with home-schooling, shopping for neighbours and relatives, dealing with IT woes, and much more besides. With a husband working different shifts to myself, eating together can often be a challenge, but we’ve certainly found it’s been worth the effort to do so.

My son and I have definitely seen a lot of each other in recent months, particularly with regard to home schooling. We’ve argued about physics. We’ve argued about maths. We’ve argued about a lot of other subjects too. But what we haven’t argued about is food. In fact, food has been the main thing that we’ve enjoyed together over the last few months.

During our daily walk (yes, we are still doing these!) my son and I have spent a considerable amount of time discussing what to eat the next day, who will make it, and when we’ll eat. (Having a teenager does mean that there are lots of meals and snacks to plan for!)

During the summer term we tied some of our meals in with his food tech homework – although I focused more on supporting with the making of rice pudding and bean burgers, and left the fish filleting to my son and his dad! One memorable occasion was when he was asked to make a rainbow coloured dish – his single dish ended up being a rainbow picnic that we all helped put together for his grandma’s birthday – something we all enjoyed hugely as lockdown started to ease and we were able to visit.

“Grandma’s birthday – something we all enjoyed hugely as lockdown started to ease and we were able to visit.”

Over the last few weeks we’ve enjoyed trying out new BBQ dishes like Nadia’s grilled water melon, bread and halloumi skewers, we’ve tried making our own homemade mint tea (yum) and iced coffee (the jury’s out), and we’ve experimented with mini quiches and omelettes as a variation to the usual sandwiches for picnics. See my inspiration for some ideas here. We recently located a cheese making kit we had forgotten we had, so have been busy making cheeses as varied as cottage cheese and mozzarella. Not always successfully – but always fun!

But we don’t always cook together – I’m the only member of the family who likes baking! I’m not naturally a recipe follower. I tend to see what I have in the house and garden and experiment with ingredients, meaning we have had some quite interesting muffins lately. Different left over cheese grated up with sweetcorn. Banana and nutmeg. Grated courgette. Blueberries and yoghurt. You name it I’ve tried it.

And for me that’s what cooking and eating is all about – trying new foods, experimenting with (and without!) recipes, discussing the dishes and the flavours with friends and family – and having fun!

And that’s also what the Family Action Cookalong4Families Holiday Hub is all about – having fun cooking and eating together as a family. #Cookalong4Families

Learn more about our Cookalong4Families Holiday Hub programmme here or visit #Cookalong4Families on social media.