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  • Rochelle Armstrong

Not Your Mum's Cottage Pie




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When expressing my excitement about making my first cottage pie this autumn, a friend declared “Nothing British you make is authentic- that's why it's so good”. Their playful banter raised my awareness and sparked some introspection. I thought to myself, “Are my dishes British and what does 'British' food mean today?”


That evening walking home into the smell of caramelising cheese married with spicy ground turkey, buttery garlic and herb potatoes gave me such a warm and fuzzy feeling- this was my confirmation that autumn's among us. To me 'British' food is rich and hearty with intricately layered flavours.


Though internationally British food has a bad reputation for being tasteless and bland, having grown up in the UK much of my culinary repertoire was cultivated by the national cuisine. Yet the underpinnings of my Afro-Eurasian heartbeat (multicultural heritage) materialises in the way that I prepare my 'English' comfort food. The washing, preparing and marinating of the meat with garlic, thyme and scotch bonnet (habaneros) closer reflect practices of my Jamaican ancestors. The adding in of the finely diced vegetables and cooking them in the meat juices is influenced by my Midwestern African American heritage (#casserolevibes!). Yet as a whole the dish itself is a very traditional British staple.


As part of my self-care lifestyle on my self-love journey, sometimes I take the time to meal prep and on this occasion my self-recognition, self-acceptance and celebration of my transatlantic, multicultural identity and experience popped up unconsciously in this dish I prepared.


Whatever you incorporate as part of your self-care lifestyle, allow yourself to come through unapologetically and authentically defining your own unique flavour with each effort.


You are, have been, and always will be enough exactly as you are!


Love, peace and power,

Rochelle

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