It all started with sourdough, then we went bananas for banana bread and then came the Insta-famous feta pasta…

There’s no doubt that many of us have been cooking more during lockdown, taking advantage of the newfound slower pace of life and increased time at home to refine our skills. Even those who once saw cooking as a chore — something they did purely to survive — have got into it. And now, they’re living to cook rather than just cooking to live.

Rise to the occasion

According to research commissioned by Tesco, more than a fifth of Brits are now cooking every meal from scratch, compared to just one in eight before lockdown!

At first, many turned to classic comfort dishes such as cottage pie, casseroles, spaghetti Bolognese and sausages and mash. But now, people are becoming more inventive and using their spare time to experiment in the kitchen — whether it’s making pasta from scratch, opting for homemade curry pastes instead of reaching for the jar or recreating their favourite restaurant meal at home with a ‘fakeaway’.

This willingness to experiment has allowed budding cooks to become more familiar with a range of new ingredients and broaden their recipe repertoires through online tutorials, cookbooks and social media.

With general life slowing right down, cooking has also become more of an occasion — a shared activity for households to enjoy together. Families spread out across the country or world have even come together virtually to pass down their tried-and-tested recipes. And it’s not just the adults! Kids have also shown an increased interest in cooking and got more involved with food prep.

For many, this shift in cooking styles has undoubtedly been about a question of time. Working hours might not have changed, but when you can shut the laptop at five and be in the kitchen two minutes later — rather than sitting on a train or stuck in rush-hour traffic — it suddenly becomes much easier to find the time to cook. Even slow-cooked dishes usually reserved for lazy Sundays can be conjured up midweek when you’re working from home.

Practice makes perfect

As with any skill, confidence comes with practice. And after months of practising, many are now starting to feel confident — relaxed, even — in the kitchen. Cooking has become a therapy of sorts — something to look forward to and find comfort in. A long day of virtual meetings is much more bearable when you know you have a hearty homemade lasagne and a smooth glass of red waiting for you on the other side.

It’s clear that lockdown has reignited our passion for cooking. But with the end of restrictions now in sight, how can we all keep up our new hobby?

A cookery school is the perfect environment for learning the more technical aspects of cooking and taking your skills to the next level — whether you’re hoping to sharpen your knife skills or master your favourite cuisine. And if you’re impatiently counting down the days until you can impress all your friends with your culinary talents, then you’ll no doubt be keen to learn the art of catering and hosting an unforgettable dinner party!

As a nation, we’ve rediscovered the joy of cooking; it would be a real shame to let that momentum slow down now.

The Abinger Cookery School is set to reopen on the 12th of April (subject to government guidelines). If you’re eager to keep cooking once lockdown is lifted, why not book onto one of our courses or treat a friend to a day of cooking together with our gift vouchers?