Food From Home - Guilty Pleasures

Every picture tells a story so they say.

I’m not too sure what the two images above this post are meant to


One is of a dubious collection of tins and packets from my larder, and

the other is of my organic herb garden.

They represent two opposites in food values – that much is obvious, but

how are they connected?

Suffice to say I have been moved to write this piece after reading an

article in the food magazine Delicious, entitled “Don’t Tell the Food

Police” written by Tim Hayward.

It deals with the author’s struggle within him between the two main

food types. For those who are unaware of what these are, let me

enlighten you.

Broadly speaking, in the red corner, we have Good Food, and in the blue

corner we have “Bad Food”.

Mr. Hayward is far more expansive than this in this article, but I am

sure you are getting my drift here.

The author talks of his moral compulsion to buy organic/ethically

produced/locally sourced food EVEN THOUGH it may not even taste that

good, fuelled by an unease over incurring the potential wrath of “The

Food Police”. He additionally has the occasional dilemma between

ethically produced and locally produced. Life can be complicated, don’t

you think?

I recently dined with my daughter on the Ile de Re at what she

affectionately calls “The Free Buffet” (That is so say that her ever

indulgent parents were paying) Despite this, she wavered over choosing

cod due to the over fishing question that she flagged up as a question

of personal food ethics. Her resolve to choose an alternative clearly

signalled her feeling that somewhere the Food Police that Mr. Hayward

similarly feared were lurking, furtively making notes.

So, what do I think about it all? I am likewise challenged with the same

problems from time to time. My garden is organic and I am proud of

this. My eggs come from my sister’s chickens, a lot of my meat comes

from my neighbours free range animals, we have a “Bio -Coop” nearby, a

nirvana of ethically produced, organic food that I am irresistibly drawn

to week after week. I have already praised our local market here

earlier in this blog.

However, I cannot be a hypocrite. The first picture in the post is a

collection of the British foodstuffs that find their way into my larder

by way of visitors from the UK and my trips there by car. Even the most

cursory of glances will show that we are slipping into the realms of

“bad food” here. Take the large jar of peanut butter for example. My

mother brought that back recently, after I had specifically requested

“the trashy stuff” Ironically, I make my own from whole roasted nuts and

it is rather good, even if I say so myself.

But there are markers deeply embedded in all of us that make us crave

comfort food, and for me the foods pictured above are high up there in

that special category.

I remember the time when I was recovering from a bad shoulder injury. I

existed on a diet of Heinz Tomato Soup, Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles and

Cheerios. Happy days!

Every jar and pot in that image has a similar memory that I won’t bore

you with, other than to say they all taste good, despite the dubious

contents of some.

I believe that life is about balance and compromise. A modicum of trashy

food countered by something that is nutritionally sound will ensure an

acceptable equilibrium – If the food hails from a locally sourced,

ethically produced or organic provenance so much the better.

One thing is clear here. It MUST taste good for us to enjoy it,

otherwise we really need to start on a diet followed by NASA astronauts

where the pleasure factor is totally absent.

Mr. Hayward decides that the taste and enjoyment factors are to be his

mantras in future. Sensible chap.

I hope this post does some justice to Mr. Hayward’s article which I

enjoyed, and that the sentiments I feel are duly conveyed in this post.

To conclude, I am currently pawing through Nigel Slater’s “Appetite” –

One of my favoured authors, who sees fit to have a full page picture of a

packet of instant noodles on one of the early pages of the book, and

quotes Smarties as a store cupboard staple. Both have additives that

would make your eyes water, but they taste great.

You get the point? Good.