Err, what?

Never let it be said that I do not suffer for my art(icles). I have just poisoned myself in the name of research. I have downed a dram of Soylent that I found in my cupboard and realised a little too late that 1) I bought it several years ago and it is now horribly out of date; 2) it was horrible to begin with; 3) it is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with modern life; 4) it is possibly made out of people.

What’s wrong with modern life is that we’ve so many choices about food?

Which are being idiots here

One in five vanilla ice-creams has no vanilla, cream or fresh milk

Hmm.

Britain’s longest heatwave since 1976 has seen ice-cream sales soar, but a survey has revealed that some brands are sold without vanilla, cream or fresh milk.

Something must be done!

There are currently no requirements for manufacturers to meet before a product can be called ice-cream. Only products labelled as “dairy ice-cream” should contain at least 5% dairy fat, some protein from a dairy source and no vegetable fats.

Oh, something has been one. Back to sleep everyone.

Don’t These People Have Editors?

Also known as could you at least try to be consistent honey?

Our problems with food in Britain go so much deeper than the pronouncements of celebrity chefs that I wonder if our diet needs its own #MeToo movement. On the one hand, we’re a nation of plenty; on the other, we have such a reliance on school meals that food banks are having to fill the gap during the summer holidays.

But this is not just about poverty. Food has also come to be about identity, class, race and gender in a way that it is not in other countries.

OK, divided by food along those varied lines.

Access to good food is regarded as a class issue in Britain, but our cultural attachment to junk food transcends the class divide too.

But we’re not divided along those lines either. Sigh.

Look there’s a reason why the traditional British urban diet was so shite. We were the first to industrialise, to urbanise, before all those methods of having not shite urban food for millions were developed. It’s really just that simple.

Lazy stupidity

When Jamie Oliver launched his new “punchy” jerk rice in supermarkets, he hoped consumers would fall head over heels for a dish “made with love” and bursting with “attitude”.

But last night his “knockout” creation became the subject of an extraordinary backlash, as Dawn Butler, the shadow equalities minister, accused the celebrity chef of cultural “appropriation”.

Confronting Oliver on Twitter, Ms Butler questioned whether he understood what ‘Jerk’ was and suggested that he receive a “masterclass” from Levi Roots, the British-Jamaican reggae musician and cook.

Sure, jerk rice is a bit odd, jerk is usually a meat marinade or style of cooking. But seriously folks, get over it.

Someone using an asian grain, a pre-Colombian exchange pepper and a European introduced (to the East Coast and Caribbean at least) bird to make jerk chicken is accusing someone else of cultural appropriation?

A very minor whinge

One of the house guests is gluten intolerant. No, really and properly.

OK. I thought about corn tortillas. Why not?

Only to find that all the ones in the shops are wheat tortillas. Where does one get corn ones from?

Wonder how this one will play out?

Consuming twice the maximum daily salt recommended by the NHS may be safe, a controversial new study has claimed.

A major review published in the Lancet suggests that salt is not as damaging to health as previously thought and that official campaigns should focus only on those consuming the most.

The NHS and World Health Organization say adults should not have more than a teaspoon of salt a day, because of the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

But the new study indicates that up to two and a half teaspoons of salt may be safe, and that more than this may still be acceptable as part of a broader healthy diet comprising lots of fruit and vegetables.

Given that the body normally self-regulates salt levels, that all sounds reasonable enough. But how are the prodnoses going to take it? And when will they reverse the insistence that everything must below salt?

Well done to City University here

Last week the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London released a briefing paper written by, among others, Professor Tim Lang, looking at British food security post-Brexit. It pointed out that the US is currently only the tenth largest exporter of food to Britain. “For the US to replace the combined food imports from the other nine of the top 10,” the report said, “would require a vast food flotilla and logistics operation exceeding that of the 1940-45 Atlantic convoys.”

Hmm.

It’s Tim Lang, so what idiot assumption has he made?

Leading food policy specialists have assessed the food security risks of Brexit in a new report.

Feeding Britain: Food Security after Brexit – published by the Food Research Collaboration – takes stock of how food security and food regulation are being addressed by the UK Government in the Brexit discussions.

The authors say a careless Brexit poses significant risks to food flows into and out of the UK and they urge the Government, industry and public to keep focused on food.

Oh Aye?

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Pissups and breweries come to mind.

Typical Guardian

As Brexit looms, stockpiling food seems the only sensible response
Ian Jack
I’m not spreading fear and alarm. A government as inept as this one cannot be trusted to feed us

We’ve not got that National Food Service. Anyone told The Guardian as yet?

Well, I’m willing to believe

Hotdogs and other cured meat such as salami and beef jerky may be causing manic episodes, according to a new study.

Scientists say they suspect the chemical preservative nitrate is causing the disorders.

They found people hospitalised for an episode had more than three times the odds of having ever eaten nitrate-cured meats than people without a history of a serious psychiatric condition.

The study was backed up a further experiment in rats who were fed a diet with added nitrates and had mania-like hyperactivity after just a few weeks.

Well, I would be, if they then fed people leafy veg (spinach, arugula) and then found the same effect.

But the larger idea, that there might be harmful effects? Sure, why not? For as with so many things we’ not be surprised to find more than one thing going on.

Those who, historically, ate such cured meats would not be deaded through starvation. The minor effect of mania would be swamped by that carrying on living thing.

Traces of meat in vegetarian products

Bit of a surprise, as there’s rarely much in the normal stuff.

Would be interesting – the results haven’t been released as far as I know – to know what the levels are. Modern testing is perhaps accurate enough to find traces of one of the workers having had a bacon buttie – I exaggerate, but not much.

And is there anyone who know this answer? What levels are allowable under the varied religious laws?

Judaism is far too practical to start to insist that 1 ppb pork in something makes in non-kosher. Yes, I know, all the different saucepans to ensure non-cross contamination and so on but still.

And there is that story about vegans/vegetarians moving from poorer countries to the UK and then suffering from anaemia and the like. Modern packaging of lentils, beans being remarkably free of the bugs and insects that had previously been nourishing them.

What are the cut offs for kosher, halal and the varied Hindu rules? Any idea?

Fancy that!

Laura Sandys, the chair of the Food Foundation thinktank and a former Conservative MP, said food insecurity had long-term health and social consequences. “We know that food insecurity can trigger a range of unhealthy eating habits and force people to buy cheaper, less nutritious and more calorific food.”

What? Poorer people buy stodge?

Bloody Frogs

It’s tempting to wonder whether Bocuse’s pall bearers were able to detect a rapid, rotatory motion from within the load on their shoulders – tempting, too, to think that perhaps France should bury its much burnished self-image along with the master. For this, the home of haute cuisine and haughty chefs, the country of foie gras, baguettes and Charles de Gaulle’s celebrated “246 varieties of cheese” has a dirty secret: it has fallen in love with cheap, fast food.

Damn this modernity anyway. Who wants to solve that most pressing concern of the human condition, how do I fill my belly?

Now isn’t this a surprise?

Campaigners are calling for a ban on promotions and price cuts for “sharing bags” of chocolates which many children and adults eat by themselves, consuming as much as 20 teaspoons of sugar in one sitting and contributing to the obesity crisis.

The charity Action on Sugar is also calling for a 20% sugar tax on all confectionery, which it says is the second highest source of sugar in children’s diets after soft drinks.

They never do argue or anything else, do they?

And what is our reaction to this?

The ubiquity of new year diets and detoxes could extend beyond January and last all year, thanks to the Government’s latest suggested health guidelines. Public Health England (PHE) is demanding a “calorie-cap” on supermarket ready meals and fast food dishes.

The suggested ruling, which may come into effect in March, would limit breakfasts to 400 calories and lunches and dinners to 600 each.

Ruling? By whom? And under what powers and authority to enforce?

Of course, there’s an answer. BOGOF.

Two headlines

Cadbury criticised for selling variety box containing just eight biscuits

Sugary drinks banned from sale in NHS hospitals from July

So, we reducing sugar intake or not? And are’t people arguing for a sugar tax to do so? You know, people eat less of more expensive things?

Blimey, that’s a shock!

John Torode: Millennials are changing what we eat

As does every generation passing through this life.

It’s entirely possible that Torode, in his professional life, has never served a plate of what 1950s Britain would have called “food.” Probably for the better, true, but still.

Another tiresome variation on apres moi la deluge.

On this losing weight subject

I’ve lost quite a lot. And kept it off for some years, apparently the difficult thing to do.

Really, what I did was stop drinking fizzy pop.

Oh, bit more exercise, maybe, but not really. Little less booze but not particularly. And really, no change in food, not very much.

Umm, so, err, what’s all this difficulty then? Cut out the 400 to 800 calories from the soda and what else needs to be done?

Now this is amusing

Daily calorie consumption should be reduced to 1,800 calories a day, according to new health guidelines.

The current recommendation is for women to consume 2,000 calories a day and men 2,500 as part of a balanced diet.

But a new Public Health England (PHE) campaign next year is expected to recommend a ‘400-600-600’ rule. That means restricting food intake to 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for dinner.

An additional two healthy snacks of up to 100 calories each are permitted, bringing the total to 1,800 calories overall.

According to the government, adults currently consume an average of 200 to 300 more calories per day than they should.

That good man, Chris Snowdon, has something to say about this. But then so do I.

Let us assume, not necessarily a valid assumption but let us assume, that they’re right here.

This then tells us that Public Health England is entirely wrong about everything else they say about food. It’s not sugar, it’s not processed food, it’s not unhealthy food it’s simply the amount. We’re all fat because we consume more calories than we expend.

For, note something about historical diets. Back in WWII it was noted, during rationing, that those who got fewer than 2,900 calories a day lost weight. WWI frontline rations were 4,400 a day.

If PHE now says that it’s calorie intake which is the problem then it’s calorie intake which is the problem, isn’t it? Or, the balancing item, calorie usage.

Even, as I’ve been saying for some time now, it’s central heating to blame for us all being fatty lardbuckets.

This very insistence on calories is the very thing showing that all the other malarkey is wrong.