Friday, 21 May 2010

Death by Ready Meals (Or Not...)

Jamie Oliver would have you believe that ready meals are the bane of man-kind. He would have you believe that it was a ready meal that the Americans dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. He may even tell you that ready meals are to blame for appointing Gordon Brown as Prime Minister in 2007, and that they also are the soul reason of under-age alcohol abuse today.

But I'm not convinced. Admittedly, the previous paragraph may contain a few healthy spoonfuls of hyperbole, but I'm not so sure that they are all that bad. Whilst at Sainsbury's a short while ago, I picked up a Sainsbury's Basics Meat Lasagne ready meal for seventy one pence. Obviously it only served one, but that was all I needed and it was a bargain.

Anyone who cares about their health will at this point be cringing, their brains calculating a formula similar to 'BASICS + MEAT + CHEAP + READY MEAL = FATALY DIRE INGRDIENTS, AVOID AT ALL COSTS'. But no. Unbelievably, as I warily examined the box, my inner-Oliver screaming at me to put it down, I could find nothing wrong with it. The colour wheel was all greens and oranges. There were no added artificial flavourings or colours. There wasn't even a trace of any E numbers. So I told my inner-Oliver to shut it, and put the ready meal in my trolley - admittedly slightly apprehensive of how it might taste.

And I am delighted to inform you that it didn't taste bad. Obviously, it wasn't the tastiest Lasagne I have ever eaten, but there was nothing particularly wrong with it. Served with a heap of crispy salad it made for a pretty nice meal, with (almost) zero preparation required.

I think I should make it clear that I am in no wise pro-ready meals. They are never as healthy, tasty, and rewarding as home cooking, and they never will be. I am in no way trying to encourage you to eat them. Also, I have no intentions of undoing the hard work of Mr. Oliver's tireless campaigning. It's just that every once in a while, when you're too busy to cook, a little ready meal won't hurt. Just don't drop it on Hiroshima.

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