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Rethinking Ready Meals

I have always been pretty sceptical about buying a ready meal and even more sceptical about eating one.

Can one really trust the product if it says free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours? And can one trust the manufacturers that say, "hand prepared"? How can a ready meal produced en masse possibly taste good?

I am a dyed-in-the-wool cooking-from-scratch type of Chef. In an ideal world, I would even grow my food myself to ensure its wholesomeness, and then combine it with other basic unrefined foods. Sugar, I believe, should be used sparingly if not at all. I would love to not crave the stuff, but I do. So I try to satisfy my sugar longing by indulging in the unadulterated sweetness of dates or health promoting honey. But is it humanly sustainable? Do we have the time to live so purely? Time?

We are constantly bombarded through the media about what is good for us and what is not. Should we eat meat or should we stick to a vegetable only diet. I would say I fall between a vegan and a traditional eater.

I love brown flour, whole grains, raw milk, oodles of vegetables and fruit, proper butter and the occasional dollop of yummy animal fat to penetrate a succulent roast joint. And that crispy bit of chicken skin impregnated with the choicest of seasonings. And a little cream now and then doesn't hurt, not to mention there being no substitute for scrummy, crispy, golden goose fat potatoes.

And so, over the last year I have learnt that one can eat ready prepared food that can be trusted to be preservative free, reliably sourced, lovingly hand prepared and taste utterly delicious! Then it's frozen to make life that little bit easier. Being time-poor myself I find myself reverting to our own products more and more. It is so convenient. I have come to realise that this is not a ready meal as the world knows ready meals. This is wholesome convenience food which is prepared as if it were prepared at home for one's best friends, if one had that precious commodity - time.

At Eat West Country we are constantly trying out new recipes for our range of convenience meals. We spend many hours sourcing and preparing raw ingredients and cooking luscious meals to be delivered to our clients' homes, to make more time in their lives. And to eat healthy, delicious meals.

It is not easy to be wholesome all the time, especially if you are short of time. So I do hope you will join me in putting my wisdom to the test by trying some of our scrummyyummy convenience food, at your leisure. Why not let me know which of your fave dishes you would love to have delivered your doorstep?

Angela Rae Smith
Executive Chef