Recent snippets of significance from the Press
Instagram may be awash with beautiful, artfully shot, overly-colourful, carefully filtered images, but it’s something that leaves food critic Marina O’Loughlin puzzled, as she points out in this spot-on article in The Times. What actually delights her is the ‘ugly’ foods, the unfashionable foods, the comfort foods and the brown and beige foods that don’t find their way onto social media – the sort of food that’s all about flavour rather than current trends and wacky looks. It’s a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with, after-all, the real pleasure to be had from food is from the eating, not the photographing.
The Secret’s in the Sauce
With food almost a national obsession in the UK, highly-skilled, technical home-cooking has become commonplace among a certain demographic, Zoe Williams, writing in The Guardian, asks whether there’s actually any point in going to eat out in restaurants anymore. Well, besides going for the atmosphere, she argues that restaurant food is still on the whole better than anything you can make at home. Restaurants not only have trained chefs, with their years of experience in the kitchen, but also have access to specialist equipment and suppliers, and most importantly, the time to make proper stocks and sauces.
What’s Your Taste in Music?
On the back of Nigella Lawson declaring that she’s allergic to noise – she says that loud restaurant music completely drowns out the taste of the food and leaves her utterly drained – The Telegraph has an article that looks into whether there is any scientific basis for such a claim. It turns out there is certainly some truth to the matter, with a new study from Oxford University finding that auditory stimuli can indeed have a negative impact on our experience and sensory enjoyment derived from food, but conversely, the right soundtrack can also enhance such enjoyment.
Junk Food is Junk Food
A short but spot-on article in The Sunday Times in which food writer India Knight states her annoyance at how there seems to be a modern belief (and a common marketing ploy) that if something is prefixed with the word vegan it makes it healthy. As she rightly points out ‘this is simply not true…as…you could live off chips and fizzy drinks and call yourself a vegan.’ She has nothing against vegan food per se, in fact it is a movement she whole-heartedly endorses. However she believes that there’s far too much overly processed, so-called vegan junk food being sold that is just as bad for as traditional junk food – and the polar opposite of what the vegan movement first set out to be.
Naturally Delicious or Not?
The FT Magazine has an article by wine writer Jancis Robinson in which she discusses the rising popularity of natural wines – that is, wines that have minimal intervention and additions from the winemaker – and how they remain a very a divisive drink. Despite quality increasing considerably over the past few years many people, experts including Robinson and casual drinkers alike, are still not convinced by the fluctuations in quality and often funky flavour of these wines. Ultimately the future of natural wines lies in the hands of skilled and creative winemakers who whether they can craft something delicious regardless of any chemical additives.
An extremely interesting and timely article on how, with the recent rise in vegetarian and vegan eating, meat has become the bad-boy of the ingredient world – an unsustainable throw-back to a time when the issue of climate change was a little-talked-about subject. And there’s definitely a lot of truth in this – the UK uses more land to grow animal feed than to produce food for humans, and also imports more than a million additional tons of soybeans for animals every year, largely from South America. Given how resource-hungry, wasteful and polluting the global meat industry is, one thing is for certain – there needs to be a major shift in the way we farm and consume meat. As Stephen Buranyi points out in this in-depth article in The FT, meat production is unlikely to stop completely, but its future might lie with the small scale producers who put sustainability before profit.
Eat Yourself Healthy
The idea of food as medicine is an age-old concept that has long been central many traditional cuisines – way back in the 4th Century BC the Greek physician Hippocrates even proclaimed ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’. It’s something I’ve discussed previously on the blog, and compared to many modern health diets, the idea of eating a balanced and healthy diet in order to maintain body wellness just seems like good old common sense. As this article in the on-line publication Just-Food points out it seems that now major food and drink companies are starting to buy into the concept as well. Backed by modern scientific research there’s growing consumer interest into this way of eating, and as such it looks like it’s a wide open market for these pioneering companies.
Drink Yourself Healthy
Kombucha, has grown in popularity over the past few years, largely due to it well-marketed properties as a bit of a wonder tonic that’s good for your gut and so good for your health, and these days is to be found on sale everywhere from street food markets to major supermarkets. I’m a big fan of this natural, fermented tea-drink, so it was with interest that I read this article in The Telegraph by Tomé Morrissy-Swan, which includes an insightful interview with David Begg, owner of the Real Kombucha ‘brewery’. Begg has seen sales of his artisan product soar and he believes this complex-tasting drink has the potential to move beyond the health food market and become a viable alternative to both alcohol and overly sugary soft-drinks.