A few summers ago, I was at a friend's house. He has an (unheated) outdoor pool, and was having a swim when I arrived. 'Do you want to borrow a swimming costume?' His little brother asked me. 'No thanks,' I replied. 'Oh,' The little brother replied quickly. 'You can't swim.' I looked at him, horrified. 'I can swim,' I stated emphatically. 'I'm just choosing not to.' I glared at him until he nodded meekly in agreement. I thought the matter had been properly resolved, until I later overheard him telling his Mother gleefully that 'Lucy can't swim'.
I would like to state, emphatically, that I can swim. In fact, there are several things I am perfectly adept at, only I choose, as a fully-functioning adult, not to do. Cooking is one of them. 'Would you like to come over for dinner?' I asked some of my girlfriends recently. 'Yes,' They replied enthusiastically. 'Who's cooking?' 'I am,' I replied, affronted. 'I am an excellent cook.'
My good name restored, I then forgot entirely about the whole thing until the Saturday before they were due to come. I called my Mother. 'So,' I began carefully. 'You like cooking.' 'Yes,' She replied, a little confused. 'Oh, great,' I said happily. 'I need a meal for 4 people. Something easy, but that seems impressive.' Oddly, my Mother seemed entirely unwilling to help.
'Just pop down to Waitrose and grab something,' My little sister suggested. 'I can't,' I replied in despair. 'I'm away this weekend, and they're coming on Monday. I have no time.' It was at this point, as I waited for my little sister to offer to cook for me, that our housemate stepped in. 'There's this new site,' She explained. 'Where they deliver you fresh ingredients for four meals at the beginning of the week, and the recipes, and you cook them.' 'This is exactly what I need,' I replied, delightedly. 'What is the name of the site?' 'I can't remember,' My housemate said, wandering into the shower.
Reminding myself that God only sets the worthy tests of this magnitude, I had a quick google. 'Was it Jessica's recipe bag?' I yelled at my housemate. Surprisingly, she was more pre-occupied with her shower than helping me, so I had to search the site myself. It looked kosher, so I decided to sign up. Jessica's recipe bag has recently launched in London, after great success in Sweden. It aims to help busy people stop eating stir-fry, night after night. Instead, you pay £74 for four meals for four people, and on Monday evening they drop off a large bag of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The menus vary each week, but they take on average 30mins to prepare, and, if you are wise, and do not tell your guests that someone else took all the hassle out of cooking, shopping and choosing, leaving you with the time to make a delicious meal- are wildly impressive. I served slow-cooked spiced lamb stew with parsley mash and green beans. I made sure to take a photo, so that I could serve my friend's little brother a healthy slice of humble pie.