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Food

Well, yes

Spurlock was also later criticised for not disclosing that he was an alcoholic or for acknowledging that his drinking during the making of the movie could have impacted his health.

As he should of course

Soviet politician Anastas Mikoyan spearheaded a boom in ice cream production after encountering the product during a US goodwill trip in the 1930s.

Mikoyan enacted strict controls that forced producers to adhere to state standards around ingredients and production methods.

There were three main varieties of Soviet ice cream: molochnoye, made with milk; slivochnoye, made with cream; and plombir, which is made with cream and egg yolks.

Some Russian manufacturers still make ice cream to those specifications, with Golden Standard among them.

Mikoyan was said to have been accused by Stalin of caring more about ice cream than Communism.

Can also be remarkably good. Basically, because they’ve done absolutely no innovation at all – hey, Soviets – and they’re still making, really, what is iced cream.

So I start reading the story and blow me

Eating ultra-processed meat is linked to an increased risk of early death, a Harvard study over 30 years has found.

Scientists tracked more than 114,000 adults in one of the most extensive studies into the long-term consequences of modern diets.

So, ban UPF and all that. Except, the bit that surprises:

“The study showed a modest association with high UPF consumption on the outcome category ‘All deaths’ which were 4 per cent higher in the high UPF group.”

However, Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, Emeritus Professor of Statistics, University of Cambridge, said such an association was “weak”.

He said it was “surprising” that researchers’ conclusions focussed on the risks from processing given their acknowledgement that overall dietary quality had the greatest impact.

It’s not a strong association and further:

Dr Mellor said: “It is also noticeable that those who consumed most ultra-processed foods tended to eat few vegetables, fruit, legumes and wholegrain. This appeared to suggest that it might not be as simple as that those who ate more ultra-processed foods were more likely to die earlier – it is quite possible that these foods might displace healthier foods from the diet.”

It’s not even obvious that it’s the consumption of UPF that does it. Rather, the non-cosumption of the other stuff.

The surprise being that the journos actually bothered to do all of this.

I love it when a plan comes together

For the last six years, I’ve eaten pizza every single day. Sometimes it might just be a slice, but most days I will get through a whole one. My favourite is a classic American deep-pan pepperoni. I also love tomato and cheese on a nice thick crust, so a plain margherita will never go amiss.

Ohhhhkay…..

My wife is very supportive and often brings slices home. Last year, I spent 16 days in Italy exploring Rome, Naples and the Amalfi coast with her and our daughter. I ate pizza there, too, of course.

Well, yes, obviously. Top tip from the home of pizza – you don’t use water buffalo mozzarella, use the “fake” cow milk one. It melts better. You do use the water buffalo on a saltimbocca though (an extremely fine one to be had in the church square in the middle of Pozzuoli).

But:

I think people find it hard to understand why I do it, and just how much I love pizza – but it’s as simple as that. I’ll continue my streak as long as I’m still excited about pizza, and I’m happy to enjoy my delicious journey, one bite at a time.

You know, man’s a little weird. Not knife slashingly weird, but he is a bit weird.

Just over a year ago, a pizza box company saw my Instagram and asked if I’d be interested in working for them. I left my job to sell boxes to pizza stores full-time. It’s the perfect job for me, as I can travel and try pizzas from all over the country. This spring, I had pizza in 10 different US states. I also went to Las Vegas for a pizza convention. My favourite crust is the thick, crispy and chewy style from New Haven, Connecticut. The city has the best pizza I’ve ever tried. I love eating at a place called Sally’s Apizza, which has been open since 1938. The sauce is like nothing I’ve ever had, and the coal-fired oven puts the perfect char on the crust.

But isn’t that glorious? And no, I am not making a joke nor sneering. I think it is both glorious and gorgeous. We live in a society free enough, rich enough (to a great extent, the same thing) that the slightly weird squiggle shaped peg of a guy is able to find exactly that right slightly weird wiggle shaped hole into which he fits.

Sure, sure, Instagram, pizzas, cardboard boxes, all very trivial – and yet a guy is able to make his living doing what he loves. We should have more of this capitalism and markets so more of us can do that, right?

Amazin’

A fat gene which makes an adult six times more likely to be obese has been found by scientists.

Around 1 in 6,500 adults, or around 10,000 people in the UK, are thought to have the faulty version of the BSM gene, also known as “Bassoon”.

Watch as 10 million claim to have the gene had by 10,000

Tsk

I actually quite like Dan Scardino – been interviewed by him twice and all that. But:

The most striking point made at this year’s forum came in a seemingly innocuous comment in the event’s opening speech. The director general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, Dr Qu Dongyu, questioned why, with more than 1,000 known varieties of banana, the world mostly depends on just one, a species called the Cavendish. That needs to change, he said, hinting that we are all part of the problem.

Cavendish is not a species, it’s a cultivar. And yes, this is important:

Most people don’t question why every banana they’ve ever eaten looks and tastes pretty much the same. Most of us will never try a blue java from Indonesia with its soft, unctuous texture and flavour of vanilla ice-cream, or the Chinese banana that is so aromatic it’s been given the name go san heong, meaning “you can smell it from the next mountain”. The demand for low-cost, high-yielding varieties has resulted in vast monocultures of just one type of globally traded banana, and this is true of many other crops as well. Homogeneity in the food system is a risky strategy, because it reduces our ability to adapt in a rapidly changing world.

Unlike wild bananas, which grow from seed, every single Cavendish is a clone, the offspring of a slice of the plant’s suckers growing below ground.

All of thosew 1,000 cultivars – not species – of banana are sterile in this same sense. The Blue Java also – for example – suffers from Panama Disease.

There are indeed the two ancestral, wild, bananas who propagate by seed. But they have, through varied cross breeding, produced those 1,000 types. And, you know, if you’re going to write a book about the problems of genetic diversity in our foodstuffs – Dan’s project – this is one of those things that you really need to get right at the beginning, no?

This is terribly simple

Some complain that pricey sourdough is elitist and pretentious. Others lambast cheap sliced white as unhealthy and unsustainable. How did our most basic foodstuff become a source of conflict and division?

It’s about class. This is England, of course it’s about class.

And the division here is interestiong too for what it tells us about class. The poshoes these days are the Guardian reading fannyistas who insist that anything not wildly expensive in the food line should be banned for the proles.

This is England, it\’s always about class after all.But who is being Lady Bountiful tells us who that top dog class – in their own estimation of course – is.

Still not worth it

Extra virgin olive oil, a staple in the Mediterranean diet, used to be commonly found for around €5 a litre (£4.26) but now can cost up to €20.

Greece has also reported theft of olives in the groves. Panagiotis Tsafaris, an olive producer in the southern Peloponnese peninsula, has been robbed twice, with thieves using sticks at night to rake off the olives.

In some cases, entire branches are sawed off and loaded on to trucks for processing elsewhere.

The labour that goes into harvesting olvies means that it’s just not worth it at all.

There are machines used in big groves. But picking and then processing (you don’t just bung them in an oil extractor) by hand takes a ludicrously long time.

Authorities have also been cracking down on criminal organisations fraudulently using cheap vegetable oils to dilute what is being marketed as extra virgin.

That does make money, yes.

OK, so we know Tim Lang is wrong

Whatever the reasons, the result is an “unprecedented rise in foodborne illness”.

Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University, said it was no surprise and there would be more cases “until the British public wakes up and says it is not acceptable”. He added they should ask: “Why should I play Russian roulette with food?”

He put the increase in cases down to a “weakening of state attention and regulatory focus on food hygiene and safety”. He added that the situation had been “worsened by Brexit and local authority cuts, and a fragmentation of the system of food safety governance”.

Given that we know he’s werong, always, that cannot be the explanation. Instead, what about the idea that by taking the preservative chemicals out of everything and instead eating naturally – with the bugs still in – everyone’s getting food poisoning?

No slippery slope, nope, none at all

But in the 70s these companies were still making the uneasy transition between denial and nihilistic acceptance. The idea that you could make cigarettes healthier, that you could acknowledge the warnings but claim they did not apply to your own product, became a central defence and marketing ploy. New “filter” cigarettes (themselves sometimes tainted with dangerous chemicals) flooded the market, falsely claiming to protect against the worst harms of smoking. Thousands switched to “low-tar” cigarettes in an effort to make a healthy choice.

“Considering all I’d heard, I decided to either quit or smoke True. I smoke True” ran one advert in 1976, featuring a sporty-looking girl at a tennis net – “The low-tar, low-nicotine cigarette”.

And this is where we are, I think, in 2024, with what used to be called junk food, and which is now beginning to be called ultra-processed food. UPF is food that has at some stage been ground into unrecognisable pulp and bathed in additives, a definition that is gaining acceptance among experts. But it is nothing too new. We are now, and have been for years, talking about the kind of food that encourages us to eat vast quantities of salt, sugar and fat in one barely chewed gulp. It is hamburgers, crisps, chocolate bars, ice-cream, fizzy drinks and pappy processed cereal.

As with cigarettes in the 70s, much of the evidence is in. Junk food is linked to cancer. Two landmark studies last year showed UPFs caused heart disease and strokes. It is also beyond question that these kinds of foods cause obesity, a condition linked to 30,000 deaths a year in England alone. One in five children are obese by the final year of primary school and levels of obesity are spiralling upwards. Unhealthy diets are, worldwide, now killing more people than tobacco.

The second two paragraphs are wholly, entirely, bollocks.

But they’re going to try to ban tasty food all the same.

Good luck

Not in the sense of actually succeeding – we really don’t need another Les Miserables.

Hundreds of tractors laid siege to Paris on Monday as farmers furious at French and European rules said they intended to “starve Parisians”.

Long lines of tractors blocked motorways at eight entry points to the city as one militant union promised to take control of the world’s biggest fresh food market.

“[Blockading Paris] will happen naturally. Parisians are going to be hungry. The goal is to starve Parisians. That’s it”, said Benoît Durand, a grain farmer.

But you’re going to need luck to achieve that. Sure, cities depend upon food supplies. But I tend to think there are more than 8 entry points. At least, more than 8 viable ones.

Sorry Matey, sod off

“We’re fed up and exasperated,” says Bretagne, 38. “I love my job – I farm organically because it’s what I believe in and it’s the right thing ethically and in terms of health. In nine years of farming, I’ve never been on a protest; I’d rather be with my animals. But things are getting so difficult – we need decent prices that reflect not just the quality of our produce but the love we put into this job and into the countryside. This is a passion, a vocation, but we don’t get the recognition for it.”

If the consumers don’t give a shit then you get to fuck off.

Be interesting to see them try

Shoppers can expect less meaty sausages, boxes with fewer teabags and smaller crisp packets at the supermarket in a fresh wave of “shrinkflation”.

Less meat in the average British sausage? That would be something of a miracle of technology, no?

Astonishing, just remarkable

The Countess of the estate where Downton Abbey is filmed has criticised the Government’s rewilding policies, saying people “cannot eat trees”.

Lady Carnarvon, the 8th Countess of Carnarvon and chatelaine of Highclere Castle, near Newbury in Berkshire, said it was wrong to blame farm animals for contributing towards climate change and the focus should be on other factors harming the environment.

Writing for The Telegraph, she said that while rewilding schemes play a part in the countryside, the focus should be on growing more food in the UK and becoming less reliant on imports.

Can’t understand it at all. Landowner says we should adopt policies which made land worth more.

Yes, yes, we can see the truth of this

Meat eaters more likely to buy plant-based foods not marketed as vegan
Changing labels is a low-cost way for promoting healthy and environmentally sustainable meals across social groups, study finds

I like mushrooms. I eat mushrooms. I even go and buy mushrooms and cook and eat them. The mushrooms I buy are not marked as vegan. So, there we have it, proof perfect of the contention. I know that the marking – or not as it were – is correct too. For if the mushrooms were in fact vegan then they’d tell me in one of those certainties of the universe.

It’s not odd at all

Ultra-processed foods are viewed as no more appealing than less processed foods, research has found.

A University of Bristol study compared the taste perception of different food types to test the theory that calories and level of processing are key factors influencing how much we like and desire food.

The study’s lead author, Prof Peter Rogers, said the results “challenge the assumption that ultra-processed foods are ‘hyperpalatable’, and it seems odd that this has not been directly tested before”.

The whole idea’s made up bollocks meant to launch a few TED talks, no more than that.

Ignorant damn fools

Historians of sugar, beginning with Sidney Mintz’s landmark 1980s study Sweetness and Power, have noticed that the way children and nations become addicted to sugar follows similar paths. Just as a little sugar in an infant’s diet trains the child to become dependent on it throughout life, as an emotional reward and physiological prop,

Human breast milk is notably sweet as compared to other mamallian milk. Lactose and others, see?

The human desire for sugar is not something created, it’s something assuaged.

You only have to watch an infant greedily sucking down a sweetened pap (water mixed with flour or breadcrumbs) and making faces at the unsweetened one, he added, to know that it was a natural taste.

Err, yes, lactose.

Twats.

So the definition is useless then

Some ultra-processed foods increase the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes – but others are good for you, new research into the demonised foodstuffs suggests.

A major new international study has found that regular consumption of meat products – such as sausages – and sugary drinks make it more likely that someone will get those diseases.

But bread and cereals actually reduce someone’s risk of them – because they contain fibre – despite also being ultra-processed foods (UPF), the same researchers also concluded, in findings published in The Lancet.

If some UPFs are good and some UPFs are bad then hte designation of UPF doesn’t mean much, does it?

Sure, we’ve all known it was toss all along but noice to have The Lancet proving it.