We are tantalised and bombarded by celebrity chefs cooking a vast range of delicious looking ‘simple meals’ in what’s claimed to be minutes.
Chefs throw in a pinch of this and a handful of that to create their signature recipes that you too can create at home – honest.
This dream however is quickly shattered when, on opening the recipe book, you discover a list of ingredients longer than the weekly shopping list and containing many things only a seasoned chef would recognise, let alone understand what to do with.
So, do we care what the last 18 ingredients are in a 21-ingredient slow cooker chilli, even if we could find them?
Can we really obtain all of the Mexican ingredients in the dishes designed by cook, writer and TV presenter Thomasina Miers?
And who can muster the energy to find all 18 ingredients involved in creating a double chocolate cake in A Modern Way To Eat, by cook, stylist and writer Anna Jones?
I don’t, I can’t and, furthermore, my weekly budget definitely wouldn’t thank me if I did.
But, if your Mexican black bean sauce simply can’t do without that quarter of a teaspoon of epazote, and you have to travel halfway across the county to find that certain ingredient that will be tossed to the back of the cupboard never to be used again, then Cornwall does have some amazing specialist retailers that I often visit.
The fantastic Nature Kitchen in St Austell sells every spice you could ever need, as well as specialised flours, grains and a range of interesting ingredients you’re never quite sure what to do with.
Penzance hosts Cornwall’s specialised Chinese supermarket, Chan Oriental, which sells a fascinating array of ingredients.
And Thornes Fruit & Veg in Truro secretly has a range of produce that would seem foreign on our local plate.
These shops are magical places, full of smells and intrigue. And if you haven’t been, then it’s time to go and be inspired.
Despite my rant I do find a great deal of pleasure in trying new things.
So, this week, I urge you to buy and try at least one weird and wonderful thing to make cooking fun.
Note: should epazote be essential in your cooking endeavours and you can’t find it in Cornwall you can substitute it for boldo leaves. That’s OK then. Panic over.