As Freedom Day dawns and lockdown restrictions are eased we can (look forward to getting back to normal and enjoying the pleasures of life we have been denied for the past 15 months, hopefully anyway.
We say hopefully because ‘Independence Day’ in 2020 didn’t end up the way we all hoped, but there is genuinely more hope this time thanks to the speed of the vaccination process.
Traditional weddings, nightclubs and holidays abroad are hopefully some of the pleasures in life set to return, though it will be interesting to see what forced changes society decides were for the better and adopts for good.
Football on the telly everyday has to be up there with the best of the unexpected bonuses and working from home proved preferable for many, especially if it did away with an arduous commute and the need to wear a suit.
The full return of pub grub, including buffets, and the opening up of café and restaurants will be most welcome. Nearly 40% of people surveyed said the dining out experience they missed most during lockdown was the simple coffee and cake at a local café, this was followed by 29% who pined wistfully about the traditional Sunday roast down the pub.
So, what lasting legacy will lockdown leave on the food habits of the nation? What new culinary practices will continue even after Freedom Day?
The shortages of flour and yeast on supermarket shelves during the first lockdown gave an indication of the dormant baking talents that had been awakened.
Studies suggest breadmaking is beneficial mentally because the kneading of the dough helps relieve stress and there is something tangible at the end of the process. Throw in the fact that you are also providing food to help you and your family through a crisis and the personal satisfaction rating goes through the roof.
A survey by the Co-op sought to find the most popular dishes cooked by people during lockdown and the results suggested that when we reached for the pans it was wholesome retro-classics we had in mind.
Sausage and mash proved top, followed by chicken curry, cottage pie and beef lasagne.
Pre-lockdown a trip to the supermarket would see us buying enough supplies to last three days now we’ve ditched the basket for the big trolley and do a ten day sweep each visit, with a six fold increase seen in the amount of tinned fish bought.
So there we have it, taken as a 15 month social experiment lockdown has shown the British public likes loaves and fishes, Sunday roasts down the pub and football on the telly – who would have thought?
One thing that is definitely going to be back on the menu from Monday is late-night food, or should that be early-morning food? We are of course talking about that thing we have all missed, stumbling out of a club at 2am with the munchies and craving a kebab.
Although we have taken inspiration from the Greeks for this week’s recipe:
- 2 chicken fillets
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoons each of onion powder, ground coriander, paprika, oregano, garlic powder and thyme
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- Grated cucumber
- salt and pepper
Mix all the marinade ingredients together and coat the chicken. Cover and leave for at least an hour.
Heat a pan with a but of oil and cook the chicken until done.
For the tzatziki, squeeze as much water from the grated cucumbers as you can. Whisk the Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice together until smooth. Add in the grated garlic and cucumbers, and season with salt and pepper as desired. Taste and adjust with additional lemon juice as desired.
Serve on a warmed pita or flatbread with chips, onions, sliced tomatoes and the tzatziki.