Eat out, drink up
Think global, buylocal
The already strong case for purchasing food from nearby suppliers gets a welcome boost from authors JOANNA BLYTHMAN and FELICITY LAWRENCE, says Barry Shelby.
SHOPPED: THE SHOCKING POWER OF BRITISH SUPERMARKETS (Fourth Estate 21299) 000
NOT ON THE LABEL: WHAT REALLY GOES INTO THE FOOD ON YOUR PLATE
(Fourth Estate £12.99) 0..
ike the metaphorical bus.
one and two arrive
“mum'mﬂm practically simultaneously. The
TIIE F000 OI YOUR PLATE
important books on the industrialisation and globalisation of food. Is the timing of their releases part ol’ a corporate
their well researched but deliciously seditious attacks on multinational control over the food we eat'.’ No. it’s probably just dumb luck — or the competition between publishers wanting to get their edition out lirst.
Shopper] is Lothian-based food writer Joanna Blythman's broadside on supermarkets. which now dominate the sales ol food in the UK. The supermarket ol‘l’ers a ‘dreary treadmill‘ l‘or ‘increasingly overweight yet undernourished consumers'. Blythman writes. She coined the expression ‘permanent global summer time~ -— drawing attention to the costly shipping of food across the world so that we can buy any crop at practically any time. regardless ol the local season. Blythman also spent time working behind the till to see how workers in the machine l’eel.
In Not on l/H’ Label. journalist l‘elicity Lawrence looks at many of the same issues through a similar prism. She visits the miles of poly tunnels in Spain where chemicals ate ladled on to crops such as lettuce so that we can eat salad all year round. ln Southeast Asia. she visits farmers who have taken enormous risks in order to raise tiger prawns for export. While ruining coastal lands (because of salination and pesticides). many of the farms have failed.
()l‘ the two. Lawrence has the slight upper hand. Blythman occasionally allows rhetoric to get the better ol' her. l-‘or example. pre-packaged sandwiches are not only bad because the bread has been refrigerated and the lillings are lilavourless. but they ‘attack sensitive teeth with their extreme coldness‘. She argues: ‘lt is no coincidence that the country most attached to supermarket shopping has the worst eating
NT on me LABEL
‘I 14 THE LIST 2’ l/‘iti,’ '11 iii: I/‘t’ill‘.
you wait a long time for
same applies to this pair of
conspiracy to dilute the impact of
habits in liuropef Maybe. but when were eating habits here healthy?
Lawrence is less polemic and ultimately more convincing: ‘l‘m [not] suggesting that we should never eat imported or out-ol-season food. only that if we understood the impact our choices made . . . we might make dil’l‘erent choices.‘ I think she's pulling her punches: we would delinitely make different choices.
How so'.’ (‘onsider that just the packaging and el‘l’ects ol' long—distance transport drastically cut the nutritional value of so-called fresh food. ‘The more food miles fruit and vegetables have clocked up. the more their vitamin content is reducedf she reports.
The message from both books is clear. Think globally and buy locally. Support small shops and also encourage their managers to buy from nearby suppliers. Perhaps this means no more apples in April or spring lamb in August. (iet used to it. Lest you worry that this destroys developing world economies. globalised trade has been a mixed blessing at best for farmers in the third world. They receive a minuscule percentage of the retail price. and devoting huge acres of arable land to crops for export has helped make their nations net importers of food. That‘s madness and it needs to stop.
I For an indispensable guide to local food shops and suppliers buy the next issue of The List which includes our annual Deli .2 Good Food Directory to Scotland.
We're so Apples SeP-May used to Asparagus Apralun finding all Carrots Jun-Oct the fruit and Cauliflower Year round veg we need Cherries July
year round Garlic Jul—Nov
in the Leeks Jul-Mar supermarket Mushrooms Year round 8 that "'3 Onions Jul—Oct easy ‘0 Peppers Jun-Oct forget the Potatoes May-Nov natural order Spinach May_Nov 0f ih'ngs‘ Strawberries Jun-Jul gu'de' Tomatoes Jun—Oct
News to nibble on . . .
OUR ANNUAL Eating & Drinking Guide, published last month, looks to be the most successful yet. Copies (25.95) are widely available at bookshops and news agents. Although extensive efforts go into ensuring the accuracy of all information in the guide, a few errors appear to have been planted by the editorial gremlins in our 11th edition:
I Marque Central (page 18): In Our review of this West End Edinburgh restaurant. we implied that the original Marque on Causewayside (0131 466 6660) had closed. But reader Wendy Sutcliffe assures us that the Southside restaurant continues to trade for the time being.
I FoodGlorIousFood (page 82): While we correctly gave the outlets of this bustling lunch-time stop an orange box denoting its place on our Hit List. we neglected to include FoodGloriousFood in the accompanying panel where we intended to praise them for their tasty soups, funky wraps and splendid daily roast.
We apologise for any misunderstandings and will correct the entries in our online version of the guide at www.|ist.CO.uk.