The door clicks open. ‘Oh! It smells good in here!’ Shoes kicked off. The soft thud of laptop bags and days and worries and weights of the world being set down. All of these, precious sounds signalling G’s homecoming.
Padding down the passage in winter socks I hear him coming before the door swings open. Cheeks red from the cold, hair mussed from the ons and offs of all the London layers.
Our home is small and cosy and in the dark winter evenings, warm as toast. And with dinner slowly roasting in the oven, or sizzling and spitting away on the stove, I must admit, it does smell good in here.
Sometimes I feel like I burst into adulthood earlier than planned. It kind of snuck up on me, with it’s responsibilities and autonomy and independence. But the thing that took me most by surprise was my love of cooking. I’m no michelin starred chef. But give me time and a new recipe and I’ll happily wile away a few hours over chopping boards and bubbling pots and pans.
The longer I’ve lived away from home the more I’ve come to realise what a gift of love a home-cooked meal is. My Gran and my Mom were both infamous hostesses. Delicious meals streamed from their kitchens and gathered their families around tables. Crispy roast potatoes, light-as-air chocolate eclairs, golden sausages on fluffy mounds of mash and creamy mac-n-cheese played starring roles in their ever expanding repertoire. My cousins and siblings and I have a great inheritance of relationships forged over breakfasts and dinners, rows forgiven over afternoon tea and the art of sharing learnt around a mixing bowl streaked with the remnants of cake batter.
I love to love with food, to light candles and share the evenings with my nearest and dearest. But London is a busy city, and often I find myself tired and uninspired, throwing together that meal that we had two days ago, and two days before that, and last weekend. It becomes all too easy to pull out the TV trays and park off on the couch.
Made-from-scratch meals take devotion and planning and time, of which I have limited supplies. But I long for those moments of rest and quiet at our dining table, snatched from the grasp of ‘busy’ and spent eating and listening and sharing, the unloading of the day.
Then I discovered HelloFresh. I pick the three recipes I want to try that week, and they deliver beautifully packaged boxes of (really great quality) groceries straight to my door. The best bit? They measure out exactly the right amount of everything you need (one sausage, two cloves of garlic, one sprig of rosemary) so there’s no awkward extras ending up in the bin. And – new recipes without slogging through cookbooks or Pinterest? Yes please.
I may have less time to spend seeking out new recipes, less inspiration to pour into dreaming up a good pairing, but we still get to enjoy the tummy-warming comfort of a home-cooked dinner. I’m much more likely to lay the table and shun dinners shared with the TV when I’ve enjoyed the evening’s cooking.
Those rare evenings we get to spend around our table are precious. Our days are anchored down, punctuated by (hopefully) delicious food, good conversation and probably wine (I say probably because I’m not a wine drinker but G is partial to a glass of red with dinner). And with meals already planned and picked out for me, I find them happening (happily) more often.
PS. If you’d like to give HelloFresh a go, use this code – ‘NT4HDZ’ to get £20 off your first box.