Convenience Food

For me there is a place for a lot of supermarket ‘convenience food’. It’s always good to have healthy ready meals or a pizza in the freezer for emergencies. I’m also a fan of good quality fish fingers as well as ready made pies and quiches.

The thing I have a problem with is what I term ‘lazy food’.

  • Frozen yorkshire puddings – It is so incredibly easy to make your own yorkshire puddings. Plus they taste so much nicer!
  • Ready made mash potato – Seriously?! How hard is it to mash potatoes? You can even get fresh cheddar mash as it’s too difficult to put some cheese in it when you make mash yourself.
  • Peeled and chopped up bags of vegetables – You can now buy ready chopped fresh onion, peeled potatoes, new potatoes with a dressing on them, fresh potato wedges, fresh potato chips, sliced carrots, broccoli and cauliflower florets, chopped pepper. Really? You can’t peel and chop a few veg and maybe stick a dressing on them!? Quite often they come in a lovely foil tray too, you don’t even need to decant them to cook!
  • ‘Fresh’ cookie dough or cake mix – What fun is there in making cakes if you use ready made mix? Why not just buy the cookies or cake and save yourself the bother of even turning the oven on.
  • Frozen Roast Potatoes – It’s far too hard to cut some potatoes up and stick them in a hot oiled pan in the oven?
  • Ready Made Jacket Potatoes – Just stick them in the oven…. Like you normally would with a jacket potato! Or the microwave variety – McCain MicroChips but jacket potatoes.. There I was thinking that jacket potatoes were one of the easiest things to cook yet people need ready made ones in packets. I also thought you could cook them in the microwave anyway? Never done it, not quite sure.
  • Microwave Burgers/Paninis/Hot Dogs/Kebabs/Wraps – Rustlers and the Tesco ‘Ping’ range have a lot to answer for. Microwave Crap Snacks. Complete with bread product and sauces. Limited nutritional value and you’ll be hungry ten minutes later. Do yourself a favour, get a Mac D’s on the way home. At least then you don’t even need a plate or a microwave!

There is obviously a market for all this food, otherwise people wouldn’t buy it and it wouldn’t be sold in shops. That market is clearly not me. I do however know people that use ‘convenience food’ and I can, kind of, understand the reason for it. If you work long hours, have a family to look after and are limited on time then I can see that having a ready made portion of mash potato might make your life easier – no washing up, takes no time at all and might taste ok. But, it’s when people rely on these products, use them all the time and pay the inflated prices that it’s a problem.

It is so much cheaper to make your own mash, buy loose veg and prepare it yourself or even buy frozen veg for the same nutritional content and no real expiry date, buy a bag of potatoes and chuck them in the oven (or microwave) to make jacket potatoes and make yourself a sandwich instead of microwaveable fast food junk.

All I can say to those of you that rely heavily on lazy convenience products is that Aunt Bessie and the supermarkets saw you coming. You are a marketing dream. I’ll stick to my bag of potatoes and home made yorkshire puddings – thanks.

25 thoughts on “Convenience Food”

  1. I almost completely agree with you for a lot of people these foods have become something that once was used in a time restricted situation to a ‘this is so easy I’ll buy it again’ before you know it it’s on your list weekly (like myself with boil in the bag rice!) I also had a moment where I thought al the ready diced foods was totally ridiculous until one day I stopped and thought about older people and disabled people who find it difficult to cut their food but still want to eat good food. One thing I’ll never get is ready made butter icing. Just no and it costs more than butter and icing put in the trolley!

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and reply.
      I completely agree that there’s definitely a time for convenience foods – I have friends that work full time and use ready made mash during the week to save time, and your scenario with older people or disabled people is completely valid – I was thinking more from an able-bodied perspective and didn’t consider these circumstances at all.

      • Oh yes I understand you now. I think it’s like I mentioned above, you use it once to save time and then it becomes like a habit like me and my bagged rice lol I’ll admit it’s part laziness I do this but also that it’s the only way I can properly cook rice bad or what! Ha x

  2. I am a user of done of these lazy foods namely the chopped onion because they always make me cry. Also the micro mash as my boyz are just too full on for me to get chance to make mash, if I do it’s always skin on mash due to time to prep and cook when they are already hungry.

    • Can you do mash with the skins on?! Amazing! I never knew that – love a time saving tip! Everyone needs some convenience in their lives – I use frozen veg as it’s so much cheaper and has all the nutrients still in it.

  3. I agree to a point, some of the items are just ridiculous. Others are handy and cost effective, like frozen sliced peppers, bargain, to buy fresh is almost a Β£ a pepper!

    As mentioned above, they also prove ideal for those with limited mobility and time.

    But oh my gosh, never would I have a frozen Yorkshire, my nana taught me better than that!

    • I think people have misread parts of this, I have nothing at all against frozen veg of any kind. I really just don’t understand if people want to buy fresh veg why go to the length of buying preprepared veg – buying whole veg is so much cheaper! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ x

  4. I kind of get this but i think the point is that people use easy, albeit more expensive, options everyday to save time or take the stress out of things. It’s not always about the money but sometimes about spending your precious time with family or chilling out.

    It’s the same thing with getting a takeaway, or even going and getting a massage – not exactly necessary but apart from the basics what is? People spend money on what they feel is most important to them, individually.

    The thing i don’t quite understand though, and i’m asking this genuinely as i’m intrigued, is why you have a problem with these foods, or people buying these foods?

    • Thanks for reading. I don’t have a problem with these foods, or people eating them – I just have an opinion about convenience foods that I’ve voiced. I think that people are falling into the hands of supermarket marketing campaigns – the supermarkets want us to buy the more expensive but convenient option. That was the point of this post.

  5. They do, you are right, but then they are just a business and making money is what they are all about.

    We mostly buy loose fresh ingredients as it is cheaper although sometimes i buy bags of mixed squashes/potato to chuck into a stew or soup to save time.

    I am TOTALLY with you on the microwaveable burgers though – the though makes me want to heave!!

  6. I kind of get what you’re saying, in principle. However, people want to eat better healthier food but some have neither the time nor the inclination. However, they are willing to pay a premium for others to do it for them, in this case, the supermarkets. If by creating these products means families eat fresher, healthier food than they would otherwise, i think it is a good thing.

    My husband is an amazing cook and other than the goose fat debacle at Christmas (it took a good 24 hrs to degrease the kitchen) we stuggle to create a better roast potato than Auntie Bessie. I doth my cap to that “woman”.

    I think the reason for the controversy over this post is that it comes across that you maybe think you are a better parent/wife for shunning the items you scorn. Everyone does the best for their family with the time and imcome they have. If people wish to take shortcuts, permanently, so be it. Live and let live. Am I a better mother for trying to make my children’s own birthday cakes rather than paying someone to make an, albeit, far better one? No. It’s not a competition. Let’s not make it one.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read. The reason I am so shocked by the amount of attention this post has received is because I was aiming it at the fact people spend so much more money buying – for example – frozen yorkshire puddings, ready to microwave jacket potatoes and cut up vegetables. The emphasis – that most people have missed – is that you don’t have to pay a premium to eat the same things and I commented that I can understand using convenience foods when time is an issue but I don’t understand ‘always’ using ready made mash – for example.

      A lot of people have taken unnecessary offence to this post and, like you, they feel I am questioning their parenting skills. Parenting was never a focus of this blog post. It wasn’t aimed at any social group and is relevant to single people as well as families and couples. If anyone has been upset by this post then I’m sorry that they feel that way but they have interpreted the things I have written in the way they have – and most probably not read the whole thing.

      I write, often, about saving money and my regular readers know and appreciate that. This post was about the cost of convenience foods – not questioning parenting skills.

      • Thanks for posting this and responding. Fair play to you. Nothing wrong with a bit of healthy debate. That is the purpose, no? A bit like Your Samantha Bricks and Katie Hopkins, it draws in the readers. Good on you.

        I have the luxury (smug bitch that I am) of having both the time to prepare my own fresh food and the money to buy the pre-prepared stuff. I choose to prepare certain things I and buy some others. Lazy, you and some others may think so. Choosing to spend my time on other things that I see as more beneficial to me and my children, absolutely. My choice. That was my point. It’s my choice and I’m harming noone.

        I never took it that you were aiming this at any social group. When things are written, especially a piece like this, people will interpret it from their own perspective. It is natural. Suggesting people, maybe me, haven’t read the whole thing seems a bit harsh but I’m sure that wouldn’t have been your intention.

        The cost of convenience food, especially vegetable based ones, is ridiculous. Obscene. But surely how I spend my husband’s hard earned pennies is my business?

        Thanks again for your reponse.

        • I completely agree with you – if you choose to spend your money buying convenience food then so be it. Who knows, if we had more money I might buy ready peeled and chopped Butternut Squash every so often too! πŸ™‚

          I’ll always post comments I receive – I only hold them for moderation to stop spam! I like to reply where I can too. I knew you’d read the whole of the post – apologies if it sounded like I thought you hadn’t – there were people that I was sure hadn’t read the whole thing as I had a lot of comments about how I don’t agree with frozen veg… They’d missed a paragraph at best!

          I don’t actually think that people using my so-called ‘lazy foods’ are all lazy. It’s just been interpreted that way. I think most probably work incredibly hard, long hours and use convenience foods to save time. I could never call them lazy. In your instance, if you have the money to buy things and you’re fully aware of the alternatives then who am I to argue? On the flip side I have had a couple of people commenting on twitter and FB that they didn’t realise roast potatoes were easy to make. They’d only ever known Aunt Bessies. In those instances I feel like I’ve achieved something.

          I do appreciate healthy debate and do appreciate you replying again.

  7. I am one of those people who relies on these convenience foods. I am far from lazy though, as I’m working full time ten hours a day. My free time is precious, and I’m not going to spend that time mashing or peeling, when I can spend it with my child. I don’t feel guilty at all about this. I do pay more for those foods, but I don’t care. They keep me sane, less stressed and allow me to have some semblance of a work/life balance. Aunt Bessie DID see me coming, and she welcomed me with reassuring arms and over prices frozen yorkshires and told me that it was ok to bung something in the oven and go cuddle my child.

    I appreciate that you may not have wanted to appear judgemental or condescending with this post. However, the tone of the post and language used gives entirely the opposite impression. The ‘money saving’ aspect is only given a cursory mention in the final paragraph. By this point in your post, many others will have missed that sentiment and will, like myself, be focused on the ‘lazy foods’ comments and sarcastic rhetoric.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

      I did comment that people working long hours may find it easier to use these convenience products and I can understand that. I just don’t think they should be used all the time – I think the generations are forgetting how to cook things like yorkshire puddings and that’s a shame – in years to come everyone could end up using Aunt Bessie’s and to me a world without home made yorkshire puddings is a world that is missing out πŸ™‚

      If you’re happy with paying the inflated prices then I can understand that – spend the time with your child and don’t peel spuds. There are other people though that have responded to this post on Twitter and FB that didn’t know how easy it was to make their own yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes. They were paying the inflated prices not through choice but because they didn’t know the alternative. That was more the point I was trying to make – all these things have an alternative and you don’t have to pay the inflated prices.

      When all is said and done, this post was only my opinion and I will stand by that. I do find those foods lazy and I’ll never use them. Because I term them lazy foods everyone that uses frozen yorkshire puddings has jumped on the bandwagon saying I’m calling them lazy. Just because you use ‘lazy food’ doesn’t make you lazy. Ever heard of the ‘Lazy’ brand? Lazy Garlic, Chilli, Ginger? I don’t think they’re calling all their customers ‘Lazy’ do you?

  8. Some people have more money than sense, but then I feel that way about people who spend thousands of pounds on disposables instead of cloth; have 4 pushchairs when 1 would do; buy into the baby food market when it’s not brain surgery to purΓ©e a sodding carrot (not that I’ve got the energy to do that crap myself); etc etc etc. Not that anyone likes to hear this of course, because people get so sensitive about how their spend their money and tie it in to who they are as a person for whatever insane reason.

    Does it really matter if someone buys a bag of sliced carrots vs. a bag of whole ones? No of course not, but people are entitled to think it’s stupid just as people are entitled to think that pre-chopped food is God’s gift to meal times. Whatever floats your boat I say – no need to get your knickers in a twist over it. πŸ˜€

    • Hi.

      I didn’t think anyone was getting their knickers in a twist over this. It’s only a blog and it’s only a discussion about convenience food. Debate is good.

      I undoubtedly fall within the more money than sense category. But we have worked really really hard in the face of adversity to get here and the reward is that we do have choices about how we spend our money. We, and my husband especially, kind of see it as a sign of our success that we can spend our money on such foods (the prepared veg, not the microwaveable burgers) to allow us to do other more pleasurable things. Lots of very valuable family time was lost making the money so now we are lucky that we can recoup some of that time. I hope that makes sense to you.

      • What doesn’t make sense to me is how anyone can moan about how hard their lives are and how they have to make up time they could spend with the kids by not chopping up a few vegetables … all the while arguing at length on the Internet.

        Like I said, whatever floats people’s boats. I manage to chop my own veg AND run a business AND raise my children, but I guess not everyone can be as great as me :p

        • It’s maybe arguing to you, it’s discussing to me. My husband’s fast asleep next to me on the couch, I’ve nowt better to do. I’ve loads of time cos I buy all my veg already chopped up. πŸ™‚

          • I’m sorry, I must have accidentally led you to believe I was referring to you specifically and not any of the number of people that had been bickering over this. Please accept my apologies for your confusion.

  9. Nice to have a comment of agreement πŸ™‚ Most celebrity chefs even use ready made pastry now days – I remember Jamie Oliver (not everyone’s favourite I know) saying that anyone that makes their own pastry has too much time in their hands! Plus, using ready made pastry means you’re making something lovely and homemade with it! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚


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