My partner shared this (n.b. that is where all the flour went) with me today, and I have to admit, I’m surprised The Guardian hasn’t pushed out an article like this sooner! It’s about time someone did an opinion piece showcasing the reality of most kitchens during lockdown.
All we see on Instagram are people baking sourdough for the first time, with their #newstarter, and somehow #winning with #firstsourdough and #foodporn. None of these things go together. Like #justmoved and #iknowwhereipackedmykettle. I don’t care who you are, you’re lying.
It really made me think about all those people who, for the past 3 months, have been made to feel grossly inadequate in a whole new way. It’s one thing failing at a badly written un-tested recipe privately in your own secret dark place (you’d be AMAZED how many cookbooks are comprised of untested recipes…or perhaps, given your experience, you wouldn’t be…). It’s a whole other thing when you feel like you’re under some weird imagined spotlight where everyone is suddenly an artisanal baker, and you’re the only one not getting it.
Genuinely, don’t panic. You’re not the only one not getting it. We’ve all been there. It’s not even your fault.
It’s galvanised more than ever my desire to create something to really empower people and inspire true home chefs to be all they can be. Yes it’s lovely watching a fancy chef make something out of dehydrated algae and sous vide watermelon, but let’s be honest: is that really making you more confident in the kitchen? Don’t get me wrong, ‘Chef’s Table’ is addictive viewing for a reason – who doesn’t want to watch the unicorns and their stories about how they found their way. But personally, I’d always wonder: who is this made for? If it’s not genuinely made for you, do the noble thing, and tap out. I’d like to say there are plenty of chefs (and TV producers) out there who really care about people like you cooking better, and engaging with produce in a way which not only coincides with safeguarding the future of the planet but also leaves you feeling empowered and a better cook. But, they’re about as rare as someone willing to admit that they suck at baking on social media when everyone else is #nailingit.
The good news is: you tried something new. The better news is: there’s a whole community like you. The great news is: I’m actively engaging with that community, solely because I love people becoming actively more engaged with anything and everything as a direct result of my passions.