Ready meals are bland, overcooked and downright sloppy right? Not necessarily, says Gregg, but is that a good thing?
I used to know exactly where I stood on ready meals. They tasted absolutely awful and there was no point as far as I could tell of eating one. I had memories of some, obviously I had tried some. Bland, sometimes overcooked meat, unsubtle sauces and downright sloppy. So I never went near one again.
Then a little while ago, while filming with the BBC, I came across them again. My mind was already made up before I tasted one. I knew they were rubbish and I knew I would hate them. Oh dear horror of horrors! Some of them taste OK! More terrifying is the fact that some of the more expensive ones taste pretty good!
Now this is a real concern. If ready meals get better and better, and more people buy them, they will get cheaper and cheaper. What's going to happen then? Everybody tells me as a nation we are cooking less and less. I have heard a large percentage of homes haven't got a dining table.
If the quality of the ready meals is actually decent, I will have a tough job convincing people they should cook every evening if they can microwave a more than acceptable alternative.
I did interview a well known foodie who has put his name to a selection of prepared meals. In his defence he said he didn't want people to eat his dinner in a box every night, but thought it a much better alternative to a take away. I have to grudgingly agree.
My concern is, if as a nation we go down this road, what skills are we going to pass on to our children? Supermarkets brand these instant dinners as 'meal solutions'. What kind of message is that? What is a meal solution? This is giving a very clear message that cooking is a problem that needs solving, no it's not.
Feeding people close to you is an expression of love, not a problem that needs solving. Once every now again is fine but surely we can't let ready meals take over, can we?