Sunday, 15 March 2009

The Economic Implications of the Casserole

It seems that Britain is going back to basics with the weekly shop and cooking again. Only we are not cooking the stuff of celebrity chefs who have epitomised nightly TV fodder for the past decade, but the meals we all remember from our childhoods - real food: stews and casseroles. So not surprising that sales of some basic provisions - potatoes, carrots and, most of all, onions, has shot through the roof.

Indeed, sales of onions, ravaged by a bad harvest in 2008, risk seeing supply not meeting demand, whilst sales of some stock cubes are up 1000% on this time last year.

But it is not all good for the supermarkets. Sales of TV dinners have fallen sharply; after all, why not do homemade when it's so much cheaper than readymade? Plus with less work, the flipside is that we all have more time on out hands to cook. And our American cousins are at it too - one of the hottest blogs in the bloggosphere tells a growing army of readers how to cook for less greenbacks:

But the earthenware cookpot revolution occuring in the nation's kitchens is only part of a very real back to basics cultural shift which appears to be underway.

Just see the supplements in the weekend papers over the past 6 months. These have been on "simple pleasure" subjects as diverse as camping, knitting, cooking and allotment gardening (for those not on a waiting list). All a pleasant change from the gluttony and excess of recent years, and may prove a very good thing indeed for the environment in its time of need - all this simpler economic activity is apparently having an alleviating effect on emissions (though one wonders if anyone has factored in the power used for all that slow cooking?) Added together though, maybe soon we will all be delightfully Cockatoo Dreaming:

But it is not all good news - this same back to basics cultural downsizing also risks further slowing demand in the economy, and making the recession we are all experiencing even deeper and more painful.

Alas, Britain's unsustainable upward spiral of immediate gratification, perpetuated over many years by cheap credit, will be a painful thing to descend back down from. But many will no doubt discover that at least their cheap and tasty homemade Irish Stew may prove some consolation this St Patrick's Day. For which see an unbeatable video guide below.

Also see a fantastic colour guide at the superb


  1. Great post ! and thanks a lot for your comment the link to my blog..I'm completely flattered !

  2. Thanks for the comment and link to my blog, I was thrilled when I saw it. And yes, I do own a crockpot/slowcooker.