A Microwave Meal for 4


Today we had a bugger of a Sunday, everything went wrong, arguments between teens and the parents, harsh words between wife and husband. On top of that car door slamming and sniddy comments – – – – – apologies and discussions later we realised we were all hungry with nothing in the fridge.

It all happened when we missed Father’s day, with me and my daughter volunteering all day in a café at an open garden event, So we missed ‘dads fav – curry’ So six days later hubby decided not to take his wife’s advice – ‘Don’t forget to book the Indian Restaurant tomorrow before we leave’ I shouted down as I was getting ready on the Saturday for ‘Lets Rock Norwich’ – of course like all husbands everywhere he thought it best to lie, say he did it and not bother. The trouble with Sundays at the end of Ramadan is that most of the things are closed – – despite what the internet says.

So, there we were in Attlebough outside two closed restaurants, we then turned to the internet and called a whole bunch more only to find out they were shut too – – – disgruntled moody teens, disappointed man and ‘I told you so’ – wife, sat and pondered in the car with an atmosphere you could cut with a plate knife. We then had a husband that refuse to go to the only Indian restaurant that was open because it did a buffet – – – so we turned home to rethink while the teens kicked off between them – – – – –

30 minutes later when, a sort of calm had descended on (hell) the house, me and my daughter whipped off to the supermarket to see what we could find Indian wise as a last resort – –

Since I’m a cookery tutor and food writer I ‘blue moon never’ buy convenience food for myself, admittedly I sometimes buy a pizza for the kids or some fish fingers when I’m away & my teens have occasionally brought home the odd meal for one, probably to annoy me – especially when they tuck in and remark how lovely it is!!! But by the smell of the kitchen I doubt that.

Of course, never do I eat that ‘stuff’ but there I was with a box of Indian microwave takeaway for 4. I shoved a few more sides in the basket and ashamedly sneaked through the till, hoping I didn’t see anyone I knew – I’ve got a reputation to maintain, you know!!!!


It was 2.30 by the time we walked in to Lodge Farm kitchen and a full 30 minutes later before it was on the table – – –


First of all, I needed an axe, to get through the packaging, after that challenge I had to prick and microwave 10 different packets’ individually, along with heating up some rigamortis naans.

I – a chef and cookery tutor had to stand idle by the microwave, juggling packets of pre-made slop in and out of the microwave for tens of minutes – bored!!

My poor microwave didn’t know what had hit it, it’s only ever used for heating up left overs, cooking peas & my daughters mug cakes once in a while – I could hear it panting.

The irony was in 30 minutes I could off created something fresh, vibrant, tangtasticly tasty and good for my family (not forgetting the time it took me to fetch it).

Instead I stood there juggling –

Then my family were served 10 plastic trays of pre-formed chicken stips in medioca runny sauce, resembling nothing that any Indian in India would recognise, with soggy pastry sides pretending to be mini bhajis, pakoras and samosas – which scientifically just don’t darn well cook at the same time. To top it all, the naan was nothing but a dry t-towel – the most exciting part of that family meal for 4 was the box, the tastiest part of that meal was the box, the most colourful part of the meal was the box, the most nutritional part of the meal was the box.

Thirty minutes of my life waiting by the microwave when I could have made my Cumin & banana chicken in a coconut and cream sauce (20 minutes), with home-made chapattis (5 mins to make, 8 minutes to rest, 12 minutes to cook) & a side portion of dhal (15 minutes – all cooked at the same time – yes, I’m a multi-tasking woman) and still have time for a cup of tea (2 minutes).


Convenience – my arse! – there is nothing convenient about waiting, I hate waiting more than que-ing, although officially that’s the same thing, either way it’s boring.

And boring is unfulfilling just like a microwave meal.

So, I ventured in to convenience just to find it wasn’t convenient at all – a trip to the supermarket, a boring wait and a bland nutritional valueless, insipid meal which is now making me flatulent – – – – I know you didn’t need to know that. Call for the colonic irrigation – – I need purifying. My body’s been violated by packaging.


Oh, well – – – if only my husband did what he was told, all of this wouldn’t of happened and I wouldn’t of been reminded again that there is nothing quite like home cooked, fresh meals to warm your cockles and cleanse your soul on a Sunday.

As the great woman, herself said – ‘You are what you eat’ and at this present time I’m ‘a sloppy, watery old windy biriyani’ mass produced in a factory in Dagenham, not by chefs but by hard working Europeans that wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole – even if they got it for free.


By Zena Leech-Calton ©


Please excuse my language – I’m a dyslexic chef!!! – I know thats excuse enough x