But what’s wrong with chlorinated chicken?

There is a real risk that the coming general election could be the United Kingdom’s last – with Boris Johnson remembered only for being its last Conservative prime minister. Johnson’s deal is, we now know, even more fatally flawed than Theresa May’s in vital respects: it threatens to make Ireland a smugglers’ and tax avoiders’ paradise and ushers in a race to the bottom in social and environmental standards. All Labour MPs must vote against it. The deal also threatens to Balkanise Britain. Northern Ireland is, for example, exempted from the evil consequences of a US-UK trade deal – from the entry of chlorinated chicken to the contracting out of NHS services – while Scotland, Wales and England would be bound in.

If people don’t want to eat it then they won’t buy it. So, what’s the problem with it being on the shelves?

Either people want it, in which case they should have it, or they don’t and the availability makes no difference.

What’s the cheapest and fastest way to process milk?

Quick, quick. A high risk but lovely opportunity exists.

What’s the fastest to build, and cheapest, method of processing raw milk? Make butter? Powdered milk? Use it to raise veal?

Northern Ireland risks being swamped by thousands of litres of raw milk after a no-deal Brexit, farmers have claimed.

Livestock owners have warned they would be obliged to keep milking their cows without any means of processing or legally disposing of the product – meaning huge amounts could ultimately go to waste.

Mike Johnston, the head of Dairy Council Northern Ireland, said that businesses had received no guidance from the Government on how they would break out of the looming “vicious circle”.

You’ve got 15 days to be up and running in business……

Hmm, well, yes, Spanish ham

There’s a reason why the pork in Portugal is often surprisingly good.

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has confused jamón ibérico, the prized Spanish ham, with run-of-the-mill jamón serrano in a gaffe on a par with a French politician referring to a fine burgundy as plonk.

Speaking at the centuries-old livestock fair in Zafra in Extremadura, western Spain, Sánchez left his audience open-mouthed when he told them “you can be sure that when the Chinese president visited Spain he would have been served a plate of jamón serrano from Extremadura”.

Extremadura is the cradle of jamón ibérico, a delicacy capable of throwing Spaniards of all political persuasions into a gastronomic swoon. The local farmers’ association said it had dispatched some to Madrid to educate Sánchez, lest he once again cast his swine before pearls.

Yep, OK.

The finest version of the ham, jamón ibérico bellota, is made from Iberian blackfoot pigs, or from 50% crossbreeds, which spend the last months of their lives roaming the dehesa – oakland pasture – feeding on grass and acorns.

Once slaughtered, the legs are plunged into vats of salt and hung and dry-cured over a range of temperatures for a minimum of 36 months. The best jamones are cured for around four years.

Quite so. Not that pigs eat very much grass, obviously, but the rootle around in it, certainly. And the type of oak we’re talking about, not England’s majestics, but the much smaller cork oak – the same things that produce cork, obviously.

The thing being this ecosystem extends across into Portugal. In fact, overs much of the southern half of it.

More recently a company was caught selling “Spanish” ham that had in fact originated in Poland.

Well, quite.

So, the black pigs that the stuff comes from, possibly bred but certainly fattened in Portugal. And slaughtered. The legs go off to Spain to be cured. But this leaves lots of lovely free range, acorn fed, black pig porkshiousness to be consumed locally.

Where it is. One cut being “secretos” which is a particular few slices off the belly. Scrummy. And most butcher’s counters will have a separate section of that black pork – no, it’s only the skin colour that is black – as chops and all that.

Town just up the road that claims at least to be the centre of this business. Ourique……which is where some reasonable portion of “Spanish” ham originates from.

So that trade deal with 0hte US will be a good thing then, yes?

British scientists say the EU is allowing our food to be pumped full of potentially dangerous additives that have unknown long-term consequences.

Scientists fear the EU’s European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) is too eager to approve additives such as the controversial sweetener aspartame, which has been linked to increased rates of cancer, and are failing to consider the long term impact of additives on the human body.

Health campaigners say potentially dangerous food additives that are banned in the US are being allowed for use in British products because of ‘lax’ EU rules and the “weakness” of the UK’s Food Standards Authority (FSA).

Running our own policy – or even adopting the American one, would be a useful benefit of Brexit then?

Why don’t we get on with it?

Ohm yeah, we forgot to tell you about that red meat thing

Uproar after research claims red meat poses no health risk
One expert says findings by international experts represent ‘egregious abuse of evidence’


Others said Johnston and colleagues were wrong to exclude environmental concerns about damage to the planet from clearing forests and animal farming from their work.

The lead author of the EAT-Lancet Commission, which in January advocated a plant-based diet for both environmental sustainability and health, excoriated the new work.

“This report has layers of flaws and is the most egregious abuse of evidence that I have ever seen,” said Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, himself a vegan.

Just who was it you were saying was egregiously abusing the evidence?

The one who is conflating the health of Gaia with that of our gut or not?

Not sure I’d trust these numbers

From a book written by a bloke who worked in the finance pages of the Mail. So, you know, dodgy numbers. Still, fun:

At the market, a pound would buy you 28 lbs of peas or beans, or six kilderkins (108 gallons) of ale, or 60lbs of best butter, or 280 lb of beef.

2lbs (910 grammes, close enough) of Sainsbury’s peas is £1.30. Or £18.20 for the 28 lbs.

Canned kidney beans are about the same price, say £18.20 for the 28 lbs.

Butter’s £3 a lb (ignoring 2.204 lb to kg) or £180 for the 60lbs.

Beef is (mince) also £3 per pound or £840 for the amount.

Full strength own label beer is £1 a pint or so. Or £864 for the amount listed.

The relative prices of beef and beer have changed little over the centuries (1630), those of beer and beans/peas rather a lot. Dunno quite what that tells us other than government being involved in beef and beer and not in peas and beans…..

Coming soon – the £20 brown sauce sandwich

Give it a couple of years and we’ll have cafes in Hoxton making nothing but brown sauce sandwiches. Yours at £20 a pop.

The brown bomber: how the likes of HP Sauce fell out of fashion
Brown sauce has lost yet more ground in the condiment sales wars, as the British have their heads turned by fancy foreign stuff

The new sandwiches will be retro and ironic. Artisanal bread plus brown sauce, toasted or not. With your choice of sausage, bacon or mushrooms, to taste.

It’s only got to go out of fashion first for someone to start reviving it after all. And if they’ll flock to a cereal cafe then why the hell not?

They’re just being Puritans, aren’t they?

A full month’s diet plan would be a better illustration, given that the daily ration of red meat stands at 7g (with an allowable range of 0-14g); unless you are creative enough to make a small steak feed two football sides and their subs, you will only be eating one once a month. Similarly, you are allocated little more than two chicken breast fillets and three eggs every fortnight and two tins of tuna or 1.5 salmon fillets a week. Per day, you get 250g of full-fat milk products (milk, butter, yoghurt, cheese): the average splash of milk in not very milky tea is 30g.

And then you fill up on beans.

One interesting problem here being that if we don’t eat meat, consume diary, then we can’t even have the beans. Because there is this insistence upon going organic, not using artificial fertilisers. The problem there being if we’ve not got the animals we’ve not got any shit to put on the fields…..that is, the recommended diet doesn’t make internal sense.

Defining choice

Research shows that eating habits people pick up in their youth tend to track into adulthood, which makes the teenage years an important stage to start forming healthy habits. So rather than placing the full responsibility of food choice onto teens, more needs to be done to enable young people to make healthier choices.

This can include consulting with pupils to engage them in making decisions about the dining room environment and better food education. Reducing choices and streamlining menus has also been shown to improve healthier food choices.

Reducing choice” “enables young people to make healthier choices”.

After all, if all you’re offered is gruel then all you’ll eat is gruel.

Surprising what dormice taste like

Roberts has placed a stuffed toy dormouse at the top of the jar to show how fat they got and that they were not as tiny and spindly as modern visitors might imagine. Nearby are kitchen utensils that would have been used to cook them.

They were evidently delicious, and consumed in vast numbers. “I’ve not had one myself,” said Roberts. “But friends have and apparently they taste like a cross between rabbit and chicken.”

Or perhaps not that surprising – tastes a bit like chicken covers rather a lot of foods….

How do you make falafael?

OK, you don’t. But how does one?

Background. 16 year old grandchild out for the summer. Recently declared as vegetarian. Part of the summer with us is that granny can teach her a bit of cooking. Grandpa is thinking the science bit. Forget recipes for a moment, think about basics. So, a soup is a stock, a flavour, a thickener. A galette is mash potato, some veggies, that’s it. Falafel is a galette but not with potatoes. Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, and what the hell are they?) is the mush, add tahini, add veggies if you like. So, end up with something vaguely solid that can then be grilled, fried, deep fried, baked, whatever.

And you can do this with pretty much any flour or mix. Chickpea, maybe lentil, certainly potato, bean apparently, no doubt maize, millet, quinua and so on.

Need a stodge, turn it into a paste, add stuff, form into shapes then cook. See, that’s science.

OK. So, now. To make falafel, Do you start with chickpeas? Or is chickpea flour a thing? Beans or bean flour? If the pea/bean, with dried? Or with stuff in water that you drain? That is, blend dried chickpeas into flour? Or drain and mush those in water?

The basic idea – stodge mush with bits added, we’ve ot. It’s how to make the stodge. Oh, and are those potato flakes a good starting point? Or better to mash tatties?


Fast food outlets will get tax cuts for putting salads on their menu, under Government plans to combat obesity.

Ministers on Tuesday backed measures which will see restaurants and cafes receive discounts on their business rates, if they offer healthy options.

So, everyone now serves the one single green salad. Bought in a sealed box, made by the supplier just and solely to be the business rate lowering offering.

Because of course people will fiddle with such rules.

This always does amuse

Larragoiti says that sugary diets are a real problem in Coca-Cola-loving Mexico, which has the world’s second-highest rate of obesity and has successfully taxed sugary drinks to try to combat a main source of the issue.

Paradoxically, another corn byproduct – fructose – is part of the problem, used to make corn syrup that has been linked to increasing obesity in the US.

“It’s kind of ironic,” Larragoiti says. “High fructose corn syrup is just a bomb of carbs and concentrated sugar that makes a high peak of insulin. It’s many times sweeter than regular glucose. Companies use and pay less and that’s the issue.”

Let’s take them at their word. HFCS is indeed part of the problem. Mexico and coke, obesity etc etc.

Mexican coke doesn’t use HFCS, US does……largely true here in Europe too, sugar, not HFCS. It’s one of those little signs of people not doing their homework, both insisting that HFCS is the problem and also that Europe uses it as the US does. To argue that it is is fine, but we need another explanation for places which don’t use it.

Veganism is child endangerment

Or so the Belgians tell us:

Doctors in Belgium have called for parents who raise their children as vegans to face prosecution after a number of deaths in schools, nurseries and hospitals.

It is estimated that 3 percent of Belgian children are forced to follow the strict diet, which rules out any animal products, including dairy and eggs.

The Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium published a legal opinion on Thursday, which could influence future court judgments and is the first time a health authority has taken a position on veganism in the country.

The opinion said it was unethical to subject children to the diet because it didn’t include animal proteins and vital amino acids which can help growth and prevent health problems.

The vegan diet could only be made safe for growing children if complemented with medical supervision, regular blood tests and vitamin supplements, which most parents were not qualified to provide.

“We must explain to the parents before compelling them,” said Professor Georges Casimir, who led the commission that wrote the report, “but we can no longer tolerate this endangerment.”

Thin end of wedge stuff, isn’t it?

Yes, unless very well done, very carefully contrived, a purely vegan diet isn’t good for growing bodies and minds. So, a few marks in favour of the illegality. Yet giving the state legal power over diet? Many points against. Imagine what Public Health England would do with such a general power….

Why we must wipe out British farming with true free trade

Britain’s farmers are almost 18 times more likely to be killed on the job than the average industrial worker, and the fatality rate is increasing. Look through the government’s summary of the 33 fatal farm, forestry and fishing accidents in 2017/18 and there were a number of types of fatalities such as falls, crushes, electrocutions and equipment malfunctions. Most people (but not farmers) might be surprised to learn that work with cows is particularly dangerous – “crushed by a bull” was the single most common cause of death.

So what can be done?

Buy our food from elsewhere thereby saving any English people from having to do such a dangerous job, obviously.

Well, there’s good for your health and then there’s good for your health

Authorities have warned people against eating raw marmot meat because it can carry Yersinia pestis, the plague germ. Some people ignore the warnings as they believe that consuming the innards of the large rodent is good for their health.

Each year in Mongolia at least one person dies of the plague, mostly due to consuming such meat, according to the US National Center for Zoonotic Disease.