The new Knorr “Flavour of Home” campaign has got me thinking about how we changed our meals for the better in this house. Not long after milk intolerance hit the household, Max made the bold step into proper home cooked food for the family every day, with meals always eaten together around the table and mealtimes becoming part of the fabric of our family and household. It was something profoundly new for me; my parents ate separately from us most of the time and the first few years of having children involved meals around a little table for them and a later, post work, meal for me and Max. He was used to a very different way though, having always had meals with his dad, brother and step mother through teenagerdom and combined with finally taking over the cooking, he made dinner time change for the better.
Meal times have been something very special to us over the last 10 years and the more recent melee (and I use the word advisedly) of evening activities has punctured our routine and made them less regular, something that affects us all. For years the nightly sit down together to chew our food and chew the cud, chat about current affairs and practice times tables was as much part of our routine as tucking people into bed. We had our ‘dinner winner’ award for best table manners and much of our family closeness came from those conversations around the table. You can smooth out a lot of angst, argument and anxiety over a family meal.
The meals have always been the heart of it. Unlike me (functional food, as quick as possible) Max really likes to cook and he puts plenty of effort into texture, flavour and ingredients. There are so many meals here which are part of what makes us a family; the particular blend of chilli spices, his way of making Mediterranean couscous, the Ragu he has perfected over several years, the curry created especially to deal with cashew, mango and milk allergies plus a girl who hates onions. Everything is familiar and recognisable and we’d be lost without them. Those tastes are part of the family.
The girls often talk about how, once the leave home, they’ll need a set of ‘special daddy blend’ spice jars and a recipe book to recreate all his foods for themselves – I’m happy to oblige but I’m hoping we can lure them home more often by offering free food and a regathering around the table. It’s bad enough at the moment now that we can only sit down together twice a week but when people start leaving, it will be awful.
Knorr has recently conducted some research into how flavour can affect our sense of well being, bringing comfort and contentment and showing how it is deeply connected to our emotions and feelings. Home cooking (I’ll glide over the research saying ‘mother’s cooking’ here!) brings back memories of childhood and feeling loved and cared for. Their team of over 300 chefs from all around the world, bringing together the tastes of 48 nationalities with the individual dedication and personality of home cooked meals.
This video is a rather lovely tale of a girl working far from home and her reaction when unexpectedly, she starts eating a meal cooked by her mum. I can just imagine the reaction if my girls suddenly found themselves served up the chilli they have grown up eating, or the ragu that is a staple of the our week, just when they least expected it. It would, undoubtedly be the greatest taste on earth. The taste of home.
Find out more on the Knorr website.
Sponsored by Knorr.