Everyone should learn to cook. Start with easy tomato sauce

Children love cooking and the tactile mess that evolves from combining ingredients

Tomato sauce, another food that suffers because we all buy those expensive ready-made sauces full of hidden salt and sugar

Tomato sauce, another food that suffers because we all buy those expensive ready-made sauces full of hidden salt and sugar

 

The debate regarding our massive consumption of “ultra-processed” food continues with some saying it is elitist to suggest everyone can make a meal from scratch: some of us just don’t have the time, the money or the knowledge. Those on the other side bemoan our “Pot Noodle culture” arguing that the hidden salt, fat and sugar in these products are what are making us sick, making us obese and ultimately undermining our health system. What side of the fence do you sit on? 

I feel it’s the lack of investment in the food education of our children that ultimately leads people to be absolutely dependent on processed food. I’m not saying I never ate a Pot Noodle (I didn’t inhale) but if we don’t teach children how to cook then each generation has less hope than the last. 

Children love cooking. They love the tactile mess that evolves from combining ingredients.

I made a chocolate mousse with my daughter’s class in Galway recently and loved the reception and interest of the children. Of course, I chose chocolate. Who doesn’t like chocolate? But I wanted something that would bridge my world with theirs. On another occasion, I made tomato sauce, another food that suffers because we all buy those expensive ready-made sauces full of hidden salt and sugar.

It’s so easy to make your own. Heat a little oil in a pot. Add two chopped onions and two gloves of garlic and fry on a medium heat until translucent. Season with some salt and then add four tins of tomatoes. Lower the heat and simmer for an hour or two. Then blend and adjust the seasoning. Of course, there are more complex ways of going about it. You can add a glass of wine to the onions or fresh herbs, but I find this simple sauce a good base for pasta, stews or soup. It’s freezes well and keeps for at least two days in the fridge.

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