Spread Love Through Food | Melissa Hemsley
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Spread Love Through Food


Spread Love Through Food – A Chat with Emma Gannon

What a treat it was to have Emma Gannon from Ctrl Alt Delete to my home for a coffee and a chat. We first met at the Google panel when Emma interviewed me and we just had a lovely connection so I was thrilled to be asked as a guest on her popular podcast. In fact, I think I was her 70th guest!

Emma mentioned that she wasn’t a food expert which made me laugh because, really, everyone is an expert! We all know as much about food as each other and what I mean about that is; we know what food we like and we know what food is good for us. I think the important thing is just being interested in food and asking questions about where your food comes from!


Positive body image

I loved how Emma said that she had come to accept that her body was her friend. I think this is something that is so important, especially for females. We need to practice more self-love and appreciation for what our bodies do for us (and focus less on what our bodies can’t or don’t do for us). Growing up with my Dad in the Army, we went to a lot of different schools. I vividly remember when I was at an all-girls school and for whatever reason, I was wearing a leotard. I was so self-conscious and, it was as though, right at that moment, I lost my innocence. I realised I was supposed to care about what I looked like – because everyone around me seemed to care. It made me quite sad. But more than ever, in a world of takeaway and business, we need to look after our bodies as great food helps us do so much. Well, good food, exercise and loads of sleep!


Kitchen confidence

Emma said she’s intimidated by lots of crazy ingredients and this puts her off cooking certain dishes – and I think she was expecting me to say that I’m not like that but really, I’m the same! When I’m out at a restaurant, I always order things that I can’t make myself. As a cookery book writer and I think I’m the same as many chefs and authors – I don’t want people to follow my recipes like a textbook. I want people to have the confidence to make the dishes they want – if you don’t like some ingredient, swap it with something else.


Food should be simple

Food really has become so confusing. Emma mentioned that when she was a journalist, she used to get so many press releases touting one ingredient as a superfood and dissing another as terrible for you. I totally get this – it’s overwhelming which is why I like to bring it back to basics. Buy good food, from a great source – that’s all that matters. But you also need to bear in mind that it’s a personal journey. Whatever may work for me, perhaps won’t work for Emma or everyone else in the world! You have to work out what your body needs and then nourish it accordingly.


Positive change

I love the power of food and I think it’s fantastic the positive, charitable things that come through food and cooking. I’m a big supporter of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (and everything his team does) and the Cook for Syria campaign, which was started by @Clerkenwellboyec1 and Serena from Suitcase Mag. For more information on their work, head to http://cookforsyria.com and http://www.jamiesfoodrevolution.org.


Sneaky tips

Let’s be honest, we’re not always in the mood for cooking so my top tips for those moments are:


  • ■ Batch cooking. Choose a stew or soup you love and double or triple the quantity. The more the better! Then freeze in portions for those days when getting out a pan feels like a chore.
  • ■ Toppings. Keep a jar of roasted coconut flakes, chilli infused oil or nuts to add to any dish. Suddenly your simple smashed avocado on toast looks (and tastes) like a gourmet meal!
  • ■ Turn leftovers into meals. This is one of my favourite ways to eat and cook. Use all the bits and bobs left in the fridge for an ad hoc salad or soup. Growing up, Mum would always make what she called ‘Big Sunday Soup’ – everything in the fridge was thrown into a pot. And I used to LOVE Sunday nights because of this.


As busy women, Emma and I chatted about the ways in which we manage our stress. I talked a lot about meditation, which, if you’ve read my other blogs, you’ll know I’m super passionate about this. But life is all about change! I used to roll my eyes at people who meditated. My boyfriend is a DJ and yet I couldn’t think of anything worse than going to a nightclub even though I love to dance and I love music. Meditation has taught me to be kind to yourself and other people. If you’d like to know more about my meditation journey, I’ll write a blog about it specifically. Drop me a line and share your thoughts. If you want to find out more about Emma, follow her on Twitter @emmagannon.

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