The Next Chapter

Claire Tansey offers tips on how we can be more efficient home cooks, even in a pandemic

The Toronto chef, writer and teacher is the author of the cookbook Dinner, Uncomplicated.
Dinner, Uncomplicated is a cookbook by former Chatelaine food director Claire Tansey. (Suech and Beck, Page Two Books)

Claire Tansey is a chef, writer, teacher and former food director at Chatelaine magazine. The Toronto-based Tansey is also the author of cookbook Dinner, Uncomplicated, a book that offers easy and simple ways to create great food when you're strapped for time. 

Tansey spoke with Shelagh Rogers about writing Dinner, Uncomplicated.

No muss, no fuss

"Uncomplicated cooking is exactly the way I want to cook. I used to call myself a 'lazy cook' until someone told me that doesn't sound good. They said I should call myself 'uncomplicated' because I love to eat and I love good food, but I do not want to spend forever in the kitchen. 

Uncomplicated cooking is exactly the way I want to cook.

"I really don't want to spend a ton of money. I don't want to have to go to seven different stores to get specialty ingredients. I don't want the sink to be so full of dishes after the meal is over that it takes another three hours to clean up. But most of all, I just want big flavours, comforting flavours and delicious meals that I can share with my family. That's what I wanted. I figured if I want it, I bet a lot of other people probably do as well." 

Cooking in a pandemic

"The biggest roadblock between the average person and making dinner most nights of the week was time, a lack of time. I heard that from my readers, my students, my neighbours: 'I just don't have time to cook.' 

Many people who are working at home find they're working even later, so it's even harder to have to separate from your work from your desk.

"That's why I set the book up the way it is. The chapters are divided by how much time they take to cook. Now that we are all essentially stuck at home, time is not the biggest roadblock. And yet in some ways it still is.

"Many people who are working at home find they're working even later, so it's even harder to have to separate from your work. It can be even more challenging to find the time. But 'pre-pandemic,' it really was time that was the biggest obstacle. And so that's what I wanted to tackle." 

Claire Tansey's comments have been edited for length and clarity. 

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