So said fitness phenomenon Joe Wicks , aka, The Body Coach, at the launch for his new book Cooking For Family & Friends last night. He did of course mean the ‘no exercise’ aspect in jest (he does have a built-in running track at his Richmond HQ after all), but what this book is most definitely not about is sitting on your tod with a meticulously macro balanced tupperware:
“The photography from the book shows us all having a great time tucking into food and it’s genuine, because that’s really what I think eating needs to be all about. It’s not about just cooking for yourself and being lonely with your lunchbox, it’s about eating lovely food with family and friends.”
This may sound like a cheesy line to sell a cookbook, but seeing Wicks well up at the memory of the shoot day, which featured his then week-old nephew, and even cynics can see that the concept came from the heart. Involving everyone, rather than those set on weight loss or getting ‘lean in 15’, seemed to be at the essence of its creation, and while many of the recipes do qualify as ‘lean’, with labels such as ‘post-workout’ and ‘reduced carb’, family favourites such as lamb curry, toad in the hole and roast beef mean that your granny can just as happily join The Body Coach clan while remaining completely unawares.
There are treats here (the sticky banana and date cake is worth falling off the lean wagon for), but if healthy grub to feed the masses on a daily basis is your aim, the 100 recipes will fill tummies big, small, old and young and not demand that you go on a pilgrimage for pricy nutritional pixie dust- all ingredients are everyday supermarket buys.
You’ll also get at least four servings per recipe, and many of the meals can be frozen. Given the time that Joe spends babysitting his nephew, we suspect that he’s onto the hectic pace of life in the average British household - there’s definitively no kale massage or nut activating on the agenda. But then again you knew that - ‘lean in 15’ has always been more bish, bash, bosh than slaving over a stove; his protein pancakes aren't famous for nothing.
Cooking For Family & Friends won’t help you to win any Michelin stars, but having met Joe and tasted his ‘big meaty balls’ last night (a moreish mix of beef and lamb mince with olives, pine nuts, mozzarella and mint), I can confirm that he’s a cheery bloke who’s as concerned about putting on a good spread for his mum as he is about inspiring his 1.8 million Instagram followers. Given that he was the bestselling non-fiction author of 2016, we think Mrs Wicks can be proud. She certainly looked it last night.
Baby Oscar couldn’t make it by the way (he had a cold and a “gunky eye” according to Wicks), but we’ve no doubt he too will be being fed the likes of ‘bad boy chilli con carne’ as soon as he’s teethed. Joe has ordered a cot for his house for sleepovers, which kind of says it all where his dedication to family and friends are concerned.
Cooking For Family & Friends by Joe Wicks is out now, RRP £20, published by Bluebird (£20)
Image credits: Maja Smend.