Convenience and Care: Exploring the role of convenience food in twin family foodways.
Convenience foods are growing in the UK but their use within a family is still frequently moralised. The number of twin or multiple births is also growing due to increased use of infertility treatments. The research aimed to explore whether or not the daily realities of caring for two babies at once gives twin families a more pragmatic approach to convenience food use or whether the persistent identity of caring motherhood, delivered through family food still dominates. Using Warde’s (1997) culinary antinomy of convenience and care the research explored the role of convenience foods within the twin family foodways. This research undertook an interpretative qualitative approach, using 13 in-depth interviews, seven joint interviews with both parents and six individual interviews with mothers. An interpretative analysis revealed the meanings of convenience food use within the everyday food practices of these families. There were three key themes which emerged from the data analysis. Firstly the important role of meal planning and domestic technology such as freezers were critical to protecting the foodways from unacceptable convenience use, either unacceptable foods or frequency. Secondly, individualised schedules dominated within homes for breakfast and lunch but there is a persistent desire in most families to eat the evening meal together. Those that did not eat together wanted to spend time with their partners and relax. Finally, there was evidence of negotiated food choices with planned family meals, children and partners dislikes commonly taken into account in advance and there was not much evidence of parents wanting to force a child’s choice. However convenience foods were used to manage food allergies and to avoid wasting food.