This month's Olive magazine has an article entitled "The Food Commandments" ~ interesting! Interesting for more than one reason. Commandment ~ something that must be obeyed; a command or edict. Should there be rules that must be obeyed in food? Shouldn't food be about likes/dislikes more than rules? Anyway let's put my need to ignore the rules to one side and look at what Olive suggests as the new commandments. Thou shall not drink fancy bottled water
I'm not sure about this one ... at home we don't drink "fancy bottled water" ~ because let's face it there'd be no money for Navarra if we were drinking San Pellogrino every day. But I do buy bottled mineral water as it saves me filtering it ... the water here is so hard, it's enough to make me shudder. The water doesn't taste like this in Swansea. But back to the point I generally agree with this and if I am eating a meal out I shall not be drinking fancy bottled water I shall be asking for a glass of soda or tap water.
Thou shall not bow down to big brands but shop for price
This one's a bit harder - there are some things that have to be a certain brand ... ketchup and baked beans by Mr Heinz, rich tea biscuits by Mr Mcvitie, instant coffee by Mr Nescafe but that's about it. I am happy to schlep off to Lidl for the rest of my shopping - their Bavarian ham is to die for.
Thou shalt be more wary of thy carbon footprint
By this they meant in terms of not flying or driving when you go on foodie breaks. "Foodie breaks" - I wish! I get to go to France on holiday and the only reason I can afford that is that I get to stay with my lovely parents - in exchange for doing all the cooking whilst I am there - and when we eat out we go Dutch. But I do use the boat, not the plane. However having said all that I am going to Rosas in June and I have no doubt it will be quite foody.
Thou shalt remember that eating in is the new eating out
I love eating out BUT I also love eating in. I think that there is notheing nicer than feeding family/loved ones/friends and seeing them get pleasure out of the food that you are giving them. We even (with a little help) catered our own wedding.
Thou shalt shun food waste and remember "leftovers are cool"
I have always thought this and I am officially know in school as the leftover girl. My lunches are always either leftovers or homemade soup.
Thou shalt embrace shoulder of lamb as the new fillet steak
This I think is all about using the cheaper cuts of meat, taking a little more time with them, treating them gently and enjoying the sense of achievement that "real" cooking gives you. Not that I don't like fillet steak and chips BUT with fillet it's all about the texture and let's face it you're not going to get the same flavour as you would with say pot roasted brisket. I love shoulder of lamb - my mum would squeal about the fattiness of it but it's brilliant for cawl - see March 1st post for Auntie Marg's recipe - actually it's better with shoulder of mutton but that's really hard to get these days!
Thou shalt honour home-grown and homemade above all else
I suppose this is half true for me ... homemade yes, definitely. I'd much rather make everything myself than buy something ready prepared from the local supermarket. I have a teaching assistant in school who buys everything ready prepared ready to be zapped in the microwave. EVERYTHING! Lasagne, pizza, fish pie, toad-in-the-hole, she even buys burgers already in the bun to zap!! NO I say NO! Why, when it's so easy to chuck a couple of handfuls of minced beef/pork/lamb in a bowl, mix in an egg yolk, some breadcrumbs and whatever herbs and spices you fancy, mix and grill. And then you know what you're eating. It's nutritious and healthy and not crap for you.
Unfortunately home-grown is not as easy. I do grow herbs and this year I am going to try tomatoes on the balcony in grow bags BUT what would happen during the summer? It's all very well and good to ask a neighbour to water your courgettes if you're away for 10 days BUT when you're away for 6 weeks, it's a bit of a cheek. So no, not home-grown I'm afraid. However when I am away for the 6 weeks lots of the veg there is home-grown ... all the usuals ~ onions, courgettes, beans, tomatoes, figs and cherries. Farmer Don is on the case.
Thou shalt support the local
Yes, oh yes. Local producers are the bees knees. I go to the farm shops in Rainham and at Broadditch Farm - love their Prince Charmings @ squash time. I pick Kentish strawberries in the summer and I'm anyones for a farmer's market. I find localfoodadvisor.com invaluable.
Thou shalt go just a little bit veggie
That's not so difficult for me - I was a vegetarian for about 6 yrs in my late teens and early twenties until a late night pub crawl and a visit to Steak by Night that brought me back to my senses. So I like vegetarian food - well until you mention tofu that is but I digress. Vegetables are quite often the star of the show when I eat, be it in a curry, roasted with balsamic vinegar or just a damn good salad.
My husband however is a whole other ball game! When we first lived together Simon counted tomatoes/onions on a pizza as vegetables. He would eat carrots, peas, sweetcorn and pizza topping and that was about it. We've progressed in the last 10 years. He'll manage parsnips and beetroot now, green beans and occasionally a Brussels sprout BUT that's about it. He hates squash (??), wont touch courgettes (??) and won't even try asparagus or sprouting broccoli (???). And then there's the lentils/beans/pulses part of vegetarianism - lentils probably, the rest of it - only if it's in chili CON carne.
Thou shalt wise up to food jargon
Organic? Free-range? Do we believe what's on the label? What in fact is the difference between a "free-range egg" and "an egg from birds that have been allowed to range freely"? And which should I be buying? Check the Internet I say. So, for the main part, I like these new food commandments but I think that I'd like to add one of my own ... Thou shalt love and enjoy the food you eat! What do you think?