Family Food

Ingredient No. 123456789

Here’s a thought… well, a few, in the form of questions…

  • How long does it take you to read the ingredients on the back of a food product bottle, jar or packet?
  • How long does it take you to decipher what the ingredients are?
  • Do you recognise them all?
  • Are they natural?  
  • What does ‘natural’ mean, legally, where this product was made?
  • Are they numbered?  
  • How long does it take you to research what the numbers mean? 
  • Do they mean the same thing in the origin of where the product is made by comparison to where you live and eat?
  • How long does it take you to research the source of the ingredient?  
  • Do you know where they came from?
  • Do you know how the ingredient was treated during its life or the impact their growth had on the environment, for animal or fruit and vegetables, spices, herbs etc.?

If the label listed these conditions would you still choose to consume it?

Seriously, all the research, even trying to answer the above questions would take me more time that is does to cook whatever they’re trying to sell me. Plus by being responsible for my own cooking, I won’t have any of the health, environmental, ethical, economic concerns that come along with whatever is on the label and in the product…

How long does it take you to roughly chop a bunch of ingredients and throw it into the slow cooker? Or into a food processor if you can’t be bothered dicing? Maybe 15minutes, if you were really taking your time… throw in a couple other ingredients, herbs and spices… another 10-15minutes of cooking attention, let it gently blip away for a several hours, and then bottle it up for months worth of sauce?

How long did that take?  

A fraction of the time it took to translate and comprehend a label, no doubt…

This is not to disrespect all labeled products, there are more and more available these days that are working hard to undo all the naughty and very cheeky work done previously. These products have ingredient lists that are clear, concise, organic, accessible good for you and, they hold their place in terms of fast meal prep, family friendly, flavour bombs and convenience. And sometimes these quality ingredients are even bottled at their optimum for us to use throughout the year, even out of season – awesome, I’m thinking passata, what a wonderful glorious bottle of deliciousness!

So, they can serve an appreciative purpose in our busy lives.  

But, if we focus on making more of our own things from scratch, we are more in control of what we’re putting into our bodies. We can rely on jars, bottles, and packets less and less. There are many environmental factors that can affect our health which are out of our control, so why not take back control, of what is within our reach? Let’s do it, together!  

I’ve put together a recipe for Green Curry Paste and Prawn and Eggplant Curry. This is one of my favourites and the epitome of cooking from scratch, AND is possible for ALL levels of cooking experience. 

Lets cook and eat REAL FOOD!!!

xox Elena

PS Naturally packaging in the form of skins, stems, roots etc. all have multiple purposes too, unlike the cans, plastics, glass etc. that takes more time and energy to breakdown and reuse. Keep an eye out for my waste tips at the bottom of each recipe.



Elena Duggan

Winner of MasterChef 2016, Elena Duggan takes us back to her golden moment ahead of her return to the show as a guest chef in Season 9.