The restaurants may be closed, and the streets may be quiet, but the cook, putting the final touches on a homemade herb-encrusted cod fillet, is happy to be surrounded by their family.
Once the cod is in the oven, they can put their feet up for twenty minutes or so before the timer rings and it’s time to dish up.
While not all their loved ones would have been in attendance, having dinner together each night was a moment of union for families around the world during the pandemic and a piece of flaky, fresh cod is certainly a great source of lockdown comfort.
Moments like this were essential for keeping spirits high during the past two years and to make them possible, fishermen have stayed out at sea while many were confined to their homes.
Working in all seasons and often in challenging conditions, fishermen at companies like Norebo operate quickly and skilfully to ensure that the fish is filleted, trimmed, and frozen, and on its way, within just hours of it being caught.
The result? A product which locks in the icy arctic freshness of the North-East Arctic Seas and one that’s superb taste is matched only by its versatility and value for money.
Looking back to March 2020, when the UK entered its first lockdown, retail sales of seafood soared as Brits began to adapt to life confined to their homes, cut off from beloved local restaurants and bars.
This jump in sales was largely driven by frozen and tinned products, with consumers understandably cautious to visit shops too often, instead choosing to stock up their freezers with the ever-convenient frozen at sea fish.
As the daily commute became temporarily confined to history, to the joy of many, consumers found they had more time to cook and dusted off old family recipes to get stuck in.
Whether it was haddock coated in a glorious herb crust and served up with cherry tomatoes, or crispy pan-fried halibut accompanied with a parsley sauce and buttery new potatoes, home cooks began to give professional chefs a run for their money.
And yet, while the pandemic undoubtedly swept in many commercial revolutions, be it the shift from restaurants to supermarkets or the rise of videoconferencing, it also heralded a number of more low-key adaptations.
The chip supper, a dish that Brits turn to no matter the season and no matter the challenges the country faces, is very much part of the fabric of the UK’s society.
In pre-pandemic times, everyone would pile into the local chippy and natter away as they queued for their perfectly crispy piece of halibut or cod, laid out on a sumptuous bed of golden-brown chips, topped with everyone’s favourite, scraps.
When lockdown came, the chippy remained at heart of the community, but the set-up had been adapted ever so slightly.
Punters queued outside waiting to be called in, socially distanced of course, but still chatting away, keeping each other’s spirits high – easy enough when a chip supper is round the corner.
As international travel wound down, the role of takeaway outlets like the local chippy became even more essential and they did a roaring trade as the British seaside and rolling hills became a fashionable destination once more.
While we may have been disappointed not to be able to fly off somewhere exotic, staycations also meant that holidaymakers held onto more of their money, and more of their time, allowing them to buy high quality ingredients and cook for themselves.
Many holidaymaking families, potentially keen to balance out their takeaway consumption, will have turned to frozen at sea fish, defrosting a light, flaky cod fillet and serving it up in a cheesy fish pie or having it lightly seasoned with greens and creamy mashed potato.
Perhaps thinking of a family setting just like this, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the famed American essayist, once wrote that ‘a house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams’.
While many would agree that we’ve spent far too long at home over the past two years, there has been the clear benefit of having more time with our loved ones.
As for the ‘dreams’ part of Emerson’s observation, there’s not much that beats a hearty meal at the dinner table with friends and family, and in recent times, frozen at sea fish has been the star of that particular setting.
A veritable staple for pandemic consumers, frozen fish is now a mouth-watering, money-saving go-to product for any sensible shopper.