Food Education Trust

Lord Help Us!

June 2013

Summer arrived, as promised at the beginning of June. To look at the weather forecast and see beautiful golden globes certainly lifts the spirits and makes most of us feel a little more cheerful. There are some positives to the rain of course. The garden for one thing wouldn’t have it’s lush green vibrancy if it were not for the rain that falls so frequently.

Our weekly food menu has become a little lighter and we have been able to indulge in the pleasure of some al fresco dining. Radishes, asparagus and salad leaves are coming from the garden and I am looking forward to the huge amount of strawberries that, judging by the flowers on the plants, we are going to enjoy this year.

I am still writing some new recipes but know that I have to sell a few more copies of my second book before I can contemplate the expense of writing another one, tempting though it is. Nina Wadia, a fine ambassador for my charity, appeared on Loose Women last month which resulted in a deluge of Food Education Trust applications but sadly not an increase in sales. I am, as I write, in the middle of a photo shoot with Waitrose Kitchen, so fingers crossed the article in August may generate some more interest. Some words of advice to would be cookery writers, be prepared for some hard work in selling in such a competitive market. It is not for the faint of heart.

There are plenty of food issues to get one’s mind active this month. The government is encouraging us to change our negative views on GM foods but so far I have heard nothing that makes me any more keen to put GM food in my body. Owen Patterson, the Environment Secretary, cites the fact that there is no evidence of ill effects on the American population’s health and they have been consuming GM foods in the US for many years. This proves nothing because as far as I know there have been no studies carried out on people who have consumed GM foods. For one thing GM food has gone into the food chain generally in amongst the other food eaten by the Americans and so it would be impossible to carry out any studies. Also given that deaths from poor diet related diseases are increasing in the US I don’t see that choosing their diet as an example of how we should be eating in the UK is sensible for the government. The public are right to be sceptical about politicians making claims about what foods are good for us and what are bad given their past record in this area. I am thinking mad cow disease, the horse meat scandal and the now infamous Edwina Currie statement concerning eggs and salmonella.

The other food related issue that got media coverage this week was food labelling. Generally better food labelling is a good thing for the consumer I agree but I still hold the view that if you can’t tell whether a food item is good for you or not from it’s list of ingredients you shouldn’t really be eating it. There were plenty of people up in arms because Mars and Coca Cola are not going to join up to the initiative but if we really need a label to tell us that a Mars Bar is rather heavy on the fat and sugar scale then Lord help us!