A slow cooker. Like me.

Every so often you learn something new that materially impacts upon your life. I am in the slow process (a process which will clearly never end) of learning to cook. At the moment I am still getting to grips with the basics. When I say basics I mean basics. I’m at the ‘how to boil an egg’ level at the moment, and have a long way to go before I can legitimately call myself semi-competent. But I’m getting there.

Key in this learning journey has been two things. First living alone again after a long period of being in a relationship (and thus being cooked for), and, secondly the introduction into my life of my partner, Claire. With some pushing and lots of guidance, Claire has enabled me to overcome that initial reluctance to cook (previously my eating habits had encompassed a wide range of microwave ready meals, takeaways and pizzas).

One of the greatest joys of cooking, I have discovered, is being able to make a meal for my two daughters when they come to stay. Yes, the meals may not feature on MasterChef or earn any awards, but they are a step up from the ‘chuck it in the microwave’ type of meal that I used to default to.

At Christmas I purchased a slow cooker which I finally put to use last week (yes, I know, what was I waiting for?). It was a simple recipe, given to me by Claire – I threw in to the deep dish some diced chicken breast, a simple jar of chicken based sauce, and chopped mushrooms. I switched the cooker on when I left for work and the meal was there waiting for me when I returned. I ladled the resultant concoction onto some rice (microwaved Uncle Ben – I haven’t yet attempted to cook my own rice yet… but soon) and ate it with gusto. It was really very nice and was several notches above the type of meals I would have happily pinged into the microwave.

I was delighted with the meal. But better still was the reception given to it by my daughters. Despite my misgivings, particularly with the rice, the girls both loved it. They both ate it all, which is all the endorsement I need. I could not wish for a better outcome than to see both of my children enjoying a proper meal, made by myself.