Convenience Foods

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Convenience Foods are a large category and one of great antiquity. It might encompass any processed food. Womenfolk accustomed to grinding their daily allotment of grain on a quern-stone would think the flour that flows from a windmill a convenience. But more usually, the phrase describes foods occupying the next step up the ladder of preparation, a ‘tertiary’ process, resulting in something ready or almost ready to use such as the whole range of store sauces and ketchups, as well as those starch-based powders that begin with custard and end with instant whips and cake mixes. As we climb the ladder of convenience, so we attain the heights occupied by preparations that need no more than unpacking and heating.