(I know this because I retain a deep childhood nostalgia for Fray Bentos).
At a service station recently, my seven-year-old picked out an M&S corned beef butty that was called “the nation\’s favourite sandwich” and emblazoned with the Union Jack. It looked pretty disgusting but he was hungry. He also knows my sympathy for British-flagged food. We bought it.But it turns out that the “nation\’s favourite sandwich” is not British at all. The meat comes from Brazil, but is labelled British because it is processed here. Apparently, we don\’t make corned beef any more (another myth shattered). In fact, more than half of what we eat now comes from abroad.
Err, Ms. Cavendish seems to be unaware that corned beef and many other such products have always been made from Latin American beef. In Latin America. As the brand name "Fray Bentos" indicates, it being the name of the port in Uruguay from which the products were shipped.
We spend hours watching TV chefs but apparently only 13 minutes on average making a meal – down from one hour in 1980.
And the problem with this is? We\’ve had a rise in the opportunity costs of the time it takes to cook. We\’re both richer than we were in 1980 and we\’ve also got more and different things we could be doing other than said cooking. Thus the costs to us of cooking, as opposed to the other things we could be doing, have risen.
It\’s hardly a stunning economic revelation that when costs rise people buy less of something. Home cooking is more expensive than it used to be: thus we do less of it.
What\’s the problem?