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Covid cooking The lockdown is forcing us to be inventive in the kitchen - even Liz Hurley is making jam

We’re spreading our wings in food department as Covid forces us to rummage our cupboards


Liz Hurley

Liz Hurley

Liz Hurley

Spreads may explain the spread of the last year.

With the Covid kilo nestling in like a bear for winter, the explanation may lie in the explosion of sales of chocolate spread, jam and honey, and peanut butter leading the way in the kitchen cupboard Olympics.

The mouth-gluing gunk is now a third more loved than a year ago thanks to its planet-friendly vegan credentials. It only gets into our house once a year when I take a satay notion and it then mysteriously refuses to age.

The theory for the increased allure of spreadables, with jam sales up by nearly a quarter and even disgusting, inedible Marmite up by a fifth, is that thanks to the working from home brigade breakfast has now become an actual meal again.

Although, anyone who eats Marmite at any mealtime needs help or a taste bud transplant.

Even bog-standard old marmalade was given a lift recently when Liz Hurley revealed she'd turned into a "demented housewife" after churning out buckets of the stuff.

When mere mortals are demented we don't wash for a week and live in a dressing gown.

When Liz goes mad she's in a perfect crop top with bouncy hair and the ladies on display, but at least she's now got so much marmalade there was no room in the Insta image for her son-clone Damian.

The businesswoman boasted of making 47 jars of the stuff with another sack of Sevilles waiting for the Hurley magic.

The picture makes it abundantly clear that not a spoonful of her labours has passed her lips.

And it triggered kitchen flashbacks of my last attempt at the hard stuff.

After the thankless faff of separating pith and peel and juice, tying up the seeds and boiling and temperature checks, the finished product point refused to set. It eventually gave birth to the marmalade martini so it wasn't a complete disaster.

But thanks, Liz, for your effortless perfection.

The rise of shop-bought spreads, identified by market research group Kantar is another slice of the comfort food revolution revealed by Oxo maker Premier last month.

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Once we'd binned the last of the banana bread and realised that life is too short to make sourdough we turned to favourites like Bisto, Ambrosia custard and Mr Kipling buns.

The shock of having to actually cook at home has driven us to the security of childhood staples.

In normal circumstances Ireland leads the way in Europe with 14per cent of the food spend brought in or bought out and it's estimated that nearly a third of calories consumed in the UK have never darkened a domestic kitchen.

Mary Berry was right when she said ahead of her new Celebrity Best Home Cook series that Covid has taught us to chef up what's in the fridge because we can't nip to the shops every five minutes.

OK, it has ruined the world economy but I've reduced my food waste and eaten those lentils at the back of the cupboard.

It's deeply ironic that we've turned to food and smellies for solace - scented candles and pot pourri sales are up by a third - while battling a virus that takes away the ability to smell and taste anything.

During my two weeks of Covid last year I learned that porridge really is like wallpaper paste when you can't taste it, and coffee is just a hot drink.

But hopefully we've only got a few months of lockdown comfort food left to endure, and Liz Hurley's got enough for everyone.

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