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My relationship with canned food goes back to when I was a child. Growing up in Folkestone in the late 1960s, my parents didn’t have much money. We had a takeaway once a year as a treat. And so my mum cooked very wholesome, simple food – and a lot of it was out of cans. We ate Spam and corned beef hash out of a can. I still love Spam, in fact I always make sure to have a can in the house because it’s tasty, full of protein and can make a lovely stir-fry.
Fast forward to the early 1990s and I found myself using canned food once more, this time because the posh hotel where I worked as a chef had fallen on hard times.
It didn’t deter me. I knew just how delicious food made from cans could be. So I got creative and served up dinners that were cheap but delicious.
As a nation right now, we’re all feeling the pinch. And as a result, saving money is more important than ever.
Canned and frozen food can be a big help, cutting back your weekly food bill.
There’s a misconception that it isn’t as nutritious as fresh. I say, look on the back of the packets – they’re full of goodness.
Take frozen peas. They’re harvested, cooked and put in a freezer within two hours of being picked.
There’s a certain amount of food snobbery about canned food. Yes, those cookbooks with 40-ingredient dinners are beautiful, and no doubt delectable. But when you’ve been working hard, the last thing you want is to cook a complex meal that will take hours. What’s more, you might not have the funds to buy all those ingredients.
So why not make it easier and more economical?
As I say on This Morning, the only health food shop you need is the supermarket. You can buy healthy, nutritious, fabulous food in every supermarket around the country. So my challenge to you is this: what can you make from a can? The answer may just surprise you.
- The Canny Cook: Freezer and storecupboard meals on a budget by Phil Vickery (£16.99, Kyle Books) is out now
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