What is it all about, this Hokan thing?

In this blog I aim to share the tips and tricks that I pick up from being interested in how to save; save time, food and money. My parents and grandparents saved everything! Clothes, tins and jars, paper, food, money! But then they were from the second world war years when everything was at a premium, either rationed or just not available. Everything was reused and re-appropriated. Clothes were one style and then handmade into another. Scraps of paper were cut into A5 pieces and used for drawing or to write notes on (my grandfather even used his Senior Service cigarette boxes to draw on and make lists by gently opening them up and flattening them out). Clothes were handed down never thrown out! Everything had another life beyond its initial use. Now of course we do not generally live, and certainly in most western countries, under such hard, biting circumstances, but does that mean we should be frivolous or wasteful. I don’t think so. In fact I think that there is a real sense of achievement if we do make something go further, and not just mentally, but socially and economically. I like to save money and know that these savings can be put to something else. Maybe it’s the Scot in me, but I know that it appeals to all. Sometimes its just being shown or reminded what to do. 

Saving money of course is great but saving time is just as important when we generally have so much to fit into our days. If two things can be done at the same time that makes me fell as good as saving some cash. In cooking for instance, if several meals can be prepared at the same time and saved, then when time is tight, pull them out of the fridge to have something lovely prepared is a great feeling (quite apart from not having to choose the immediate, and most often, unhealthy option) 

Refurbishing worn out furniture or clothes also makes me feel great! Although I can’t do the clothes bit, but there are plenty of people and companies who can make alterations and put on patches or insert new material. I mean this is not unfashionable thinking, far from it, my very well known fashion designer ex sister-in-law started out by reformatting clothes from her mothers wardrobe, adding new materials and elements herself and creating her ranges that are now in every fashion magazine on the planet. In fact all fashion and budding fashion designers do this so why not us. Its about being individual and who know maybe even putting your new pieces on instagram and getting famous yourself! I mean look at the business Nasty Girl, not only did she make huge money buying from thrift stores and then selling on through a website but they just made a Netflix show about her too. That’s got to mean there is something in it.

I wrap this all up into the line ‘conscientious cooking, efficient living’. Look after what you have and greater benefit will come from it. Waste is the product of a lack of imagination. It is the basis for why I designed Hokan Bowls and set up the Hokan business. Hokan in Japanese means safekeeping. The bowl range is my practical solution to the problem of storing and reheating leftover, and over prepared, food. Anything not used right away can be stored safely in the fridge or freezer until it needs to be cooked or reheated. Efficient, because this can all be done in the same bowl. They are even designed to stack on each other so that they take up less space in the fridge. The lid is the same size for each bowl so that there is no searching for the correct bowl.

One thing I will be doing throughout this blog is shamelessly extolling the virtues of (because they are essentially the product of all of the above mentioned beliefs is Hokan Bowls.

As with most things I like to be shown what i can do rather than just being told not to do it and i hope that this blog is somewhere I can showcase other peoples great ideas that make sense of all the food, time and money saving facts that are provided in the mainstream media as well as offer a space and platform for any that you have after reading this.

The current ‘modern living’ as defined by the millennial group is all about promotion of products and limitless options, constant upgrading and replacement which generates the potential for huge wastage so the question is how can we reduce this? What clever ideas can we have or are already out there that shows us how we can recycle, up-cycle or repair – this potentially could be a huge saving of money and space too I am equally interested in these ancillary benefits that these practical solutions bring which I hope to include in the blog too. I am keen to hear from anyone who comes across these kinds of products and ideas.

I think the general movement of consciencousness for our world and the environment has moved on from being the wonderfully instigated, Hippie cause to a genuine mass movement for the need to safeguard our resources for our children and their children.

To kick off lets talk about food waste. In the past few years this has become a well documented and supported concern with many newspapers, magazines and chefs alerting us to this problem and offering solutions. 7 million tonnes of perfectly edible food is thrown away  each year in the UK. And then we have to have food banks for those parts of our society finding hard to make ends meet. Food waste is clearly out of control. Now common knowledge, supermarkets have been throwing away tonnes of food at the end of each day into the wheelie bins at the rear off their stores for years! Restaurants provide huge menus that can never fully be eaten and so unused ingredients will be tossed at the change of a menu, not to mention the over sized portions served to table that can never be eaten and are then thrown in the kitchens bin – why don’t people ask for take out bags, and have it for the next day, or the day after that? And then there is the crazy situation of tonnes of vegetables grown by farmers that do not pass some shape test or are bought by supermarkets ahead of time and who then change the contract terms leaving the farmer to burn or compost perfectly edible food every season. I mean there are people who are going hungry, schools not able to provide the best 5-a-day menus on their budget – doesn’t that sound like a great little link up there for a new government department to put into action?

But as always there is something that we can do. We can start to buy, cook and plan better to minimise our own food waste potential. We can be creative and considerate, and there are plenty of people out there to follow or get inspired by. The national newspapers and TV are on it and writing food waste and food preparation articles and recipes to share, and then there is social media and the internet where we can learn from and communicate with like minded people.

Let’s start. What do you say? Why not see where we get.