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
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
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.