What’s gone wrong with the way we eat?

I love to cook (most of the time), I like to try new recipes and taste different things, and while we have had a bit of a lull in the garden this year, we like to grow some of our own food (I’m already drawing up lists of seeds ). I don’t think we are food snobs in this house, and while we don’t have to buy the cheapest (and often worst produced) food on the market, we are cost conscious and try not to eat too much heavily processed food. I freely admit that sometimes we get takeaway and sometimes I bring our daughter to McDonalds (bite me), but overall we try to be aware of what we are eating.

I’ve just started reading Joanna Blythman’s book Swallow This and to say its been an eye opener would be the understatement of the century. If you haven’t read it yet and you care about what you eat, then I’d highly recommend it. It may well put you off some of the food products you might buy on a regular basis, but for all the right reasons. It is most definitely making me reevaluate what I buy and how and where I shop.

food eating cooking
Swallow This

This will be a long process I think but one that is well worth it. Along with this, I’ve also been catching up on episodes of Philip Boucher-Hayes’ series What Are You Eating? that was originally broadcast in spring 2016 and has been rerun on RTÉ One lately. I watched one this morning and all I will say is I will NEVER eat a ‘chicken fillet’ roll again. Watch it and you’ll see why. Between Boucher-Hayes’ series and Blythman’s book, I was thinking about food and the huge industrialisation of food production for a large chunk of the morning. In particular I was wondering how the shift from largely consuming home-cooked meals to substantial reliance on quite heavily processed food came about. Then I popped into a supermarket to pick up a few things and while idly browsing in the chilled section I saw this.

Would you eat this?
Would you eat this?

Now I’ve eaten some things in my time (especially during the broke student years) the mere thought of which makes me queasy now. But this just looks appalling to me. To be quite blunt I have changed nappies that looked like that. How have we gotten to a situation where this is unremarkable? How have we become so divorced from the basics of cooking (and eating) and food production that our shops are increasingly stocked with this kind of thing? And please before anyone gets on their high horse to complain about me not understanding food poverty and not understanding how hard it can be to put food on the table and being a food snob, just ask yourself two things: 1. Would I feed this to a child? 2. What else could I buy for €5 to make a meal from? I didn’t buy this – maybe I should have done to try it out – but I did have a good look at it and I found it hard to see much chicken in there. I would also wonder as how to filling it is, it looks to have a LOT of sauce which won’t go far to fill an empty tummy at the of the day. And don’t get me started on the marketing tagline “Handmade especially for you”. Handmade? REALLY? If I’d been working in a kitchen and handmade this to serve to someone I’d be ashamed of it.

7 thoughts on “What’s gone wrong with the way we eat?

  1. They look vile! We do eat some processed foods but on the whole I think I’m doing a good job of slowly edging them off my grocery list. Chicken curry is so easy to make and so delicious.

    1. Exactly! Like for €5 you could get a bit of chicken, some veg, packet of rice, and if necessary a jar of curry sauce or paste and there you go. Its worrying that so many people no longer seem to know how to cook

  2. I’ve never made a curry (from the mildest to the hottest) that ever looked like that!! It looks more like what happens ‘post-tandoori’. I agree with the sentiments regarding easy options..There’s nothing easy about paying hard earned cash for substandard ‘homemade’, ‘handmade’ food. If anyone wants to drop by mine with €5 they can have some of my organic free range chicken curry, complete with vegetables and basmati rice and I’ll even throw in a bit of naan bread!! 😉

  3. Can I ask where you’re all getting the cheap chicken? We’d be the same as you guys – cook everything from scratch except for the occasional blow out – but I can’t get the chicken for less than a fiver nevermind the rest of the ingredients. And definitely not organic!

    Completely agree with the sentiment of the post though!

    1. I get one large chicken breast in our local butcher’s for €2.50, that gives enough meat to make a curry for the two of us. A kilo bag of rice for €1.49, a couple of carrots, some mushrooms, an onion, handful of peas, handful of dried fruit (I know the purists don’t like it) and if I’m using a jar of curry paste it works out at about 75c for the amount I use. Carrots and onions most years from our garden (granted not this year). Its probably a little over a fiver I grant you but still way better than that slop.

  4. I saw the same meals in the supermarket yesterday – a turkey dinner thing that was the most unappetising thing I’ve ever seen in a shop. From the retailer who is telling us all to get back to cooking no less 🙂

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