Recent snippets of significance from the Press
Sowing the Seeds of Change
An extremely interesting and thought-provoking opinion piece by chef Dan Barber in the New York Times in which he discusses the worrying current state of global agriculture. With four large international companies now controlling more than 60% of the world’s seed sales, and as such also controlling what is actually grown and harvested, global crops are becoming more and more homogenised at the detriment to both our health and ecological diversity. Barber believes the future of agriculture lies in small producers and the development of new heritage varieties of fruit and veg – which are bred for flavour rather than the ability to be farmed on a global scale. In fact, with this in mind, he has even started up his own organic seed company (something we wrote about last year).
The Failings of French Cuisine
French food is undoubtedly one of the world’s great cuisines, and is held up in the country as a source of national pride. But classic French cookery has somewhat lost its way in the face of an evolving global restaurant scene, and is no longer at the cutting edge of creativity. In this feature-length article in The Guardian Wendall Steavenson, explores the rise and fall of French cuisine and looks at how it is having to modernise and adapt to current trends in order to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive food landscape.
A Vegan Feast
As Rowley Leigh quite rightly points out in this article in The FT, there are plenty of good arguments for adopting an ethically minded vegan diet, however the idea of eating lab-grown meats and processed vegetable proteins as part of such a diet is a long way from appealing. Instead we should celebrate vegetables for not being like meat and fish and so not treat them as such, but rather serve them up as a buffet feast of different dishes – especially at this time of the year when the garden is at its most bountiful.
A Problem with Veganism
Although the number of people identifying as vegan has greatly increased over the past few years, The Telegraph reports that many vegan restaurants across the country are actually struggling to survive. In some ways this is not surprising, as despite the headline growth rates the number of people who actually eat a purely vegan diet still only accounts for a very small percentage of the UK’s population, in fact just 1.16% in 2018 according to The Vegan Society. Tied in with this is that as veganism has become increasingly more mainstream many traditional restaurants now offer vegan and vegetarian options, and so appeal to a bigger cross-section of diners. As such, by offering exclusively vegan food, some venues may have made it more difficult for themselves to reach the majority of customers and have seen footfall dropping as a result.
The Food of our Forebears
Apparently the oldest cookbook in the English language was written by the cooks who ran Richard II’s royal kitchens way back at the end of the 14th Century. Now 600 years later Polley Russel, a British Library curator and chef Rosie Sykes, alongside Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer from Honey & Co have recreated some of these ancient recipes for the History Cooked supper club. Once over the issue of translating the old English language used in it, it transpired that many ingredients were not that far removed from what we still use today, and that overall the dishes were all quite sophisticated and flavourful. Read the full story behind this dinner with a difference in The FT.
Slimming down Supermarkets
With the UK facing a major obesity crisis, a recent report by the Royal Society for Public Health and Slimming World has revealed 15 per cent of people believe supermarkets cause them to ‘go off track’ in their efforts to lose weight, whilst more than one in three claim they impulse-buy unhealthy food and drinks because supermarkets put them on special offer. As a follow-up the same institutions have now unveiled their own pop-up supermarket in London, as detailed in this Evening Standard article. It’s a simple, yet effective concept that turns the traditional shop layout on its head and gives prominence to healthy items instead of unhealthy junk foods.
Yes to Yoghurt
According to a new study, eating at least two portions of yoghurt a week can help slash the chances of getting pre-cancerous growths. Add to this other benefits such as helping reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease alongside getting rid of bad breath and aiding digestion, and it seems that yoghurt should be on everyone’s daily menu. With this in mind, Peta Bee writing in The Times takes a closer look at some of these health benefits and also gives some background to the different types of yoghurts available and how they differ from one another.