Has lockdown awakened our love of cooking?

If you’re on social media you can’t have failed to notice the surge in photos of banana bread over recent months. Lockdown kicked in and our inner Mary Berry/Jamie Oliver (*insert chef/baker/cook of choice*) started fighting to get out!

Although sometimes hampered by a lack of flour, sugar and other baking necessities as everyone had the same thought (although we’re willing to bet a fair few packets remain unopened in cupboards across the country) one of the benefits of enforced time at home was the encouragement it gave us to get into the kitchen again. No restaurants, pub lunches, grabbing a sandwich from a coffee shop – even many takeaways closed for a while. And if you’re going to be cooking at home every day, you soon get bored of the ‘same old’ recipes you usually rely on.

Many people cooked more from scratch than they ever had, others even took part in family cook-alongs and virtual dinner parties. After all there’s the social element of good food which is often just as important as the food itself. For some it gave the first real opportunity for spending time over family meals round the table when usually people would be dashing in and out from school and work and hobbies.

Google Trends reported that since the pandemic began, people were searching for more recipes than at any other time in history. As well as banana bread; frying pan pizzas, sourdough starters, dalgona (frothy, sweet, Instagrammable coffee), French toast and chocolate and carrot cake were high on the list. Our lockdown might not be the healthiest, but it’s understandable we might want a bit of comfort food right now! Other high-ranking search terms included new ideas for old staples like chicken breasts and minced beef.

People relied more on smaller local food businesses and retailers across the country – perhaps finding new things to try and benefitting from the advice of experts and those passionate about the products they stock. We’ve been lucky to be able to stay open throughout to serve our local community. We, like others, introduced free local deliveries for the first time so that we could ensure everyone had access to good food. Although it’s been a worrying time all round, it’s been lovely to meet more local people and to be able to help people feel excited about food at a time when a lot of focus was (understandably) on the essentials.

We’ve had lots of people wanting gifts and hampers for friends and family – showing them that although they’re apart, they’re thinking of them. From the practical to the ‘you deserve a treat’ – all of them extremely thoughtful and delivered with love.

Another food positive driven by the lockdown is perhaps a bit less wasting of food at home. As food got scarcer, other than those who had stockpiled a bit too much, people got more inventive with the contents of their store cupboard and their leftovers. We’ve loved helping people think of new ways to use those items, helping with ingredients and hopefully a bit of inspiration.

So, whatever the lockdown has meant for you when it comes to the kitchen – whether it’s reminded you of your love of baking, inspired you to try some new world cuisine, or it’s taught you never to take a tin of chopped tomatoes for granted again – we look forward to helping you keep eating well whatever lies ahead. If we can help, just get in touch.

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