Friday, June 08, 2007

Avoid Notting Hill and Save the Planet

Returning to Nige's A Shopper Writes... I must surprise those impatient with my belief in global warming by saying organic food leaves me unmoved. In quality terms, it is seldom worth the additional price - or never if bought from one of those absurd Notting Hill ponceterias patronised by neurotic people who really do think that food costs that much. In environmental terms, it is a useless or negative force. People obsessed with organic food tend to think environmentalism is about not getting cancer rather than saving the planet. (If, say, 90 per cent of us died of cancer tomorrow, that would save the planet. And we get cancer because we breathe oxygen and live longer, end of story.) Furthermore, of course, Nige is right, there's something unhealthy about the British-food relationship. In fact, the really environmentally friendly food to support is entirely synthetic. Meat made in the lab will soon be possible. This will remove the need for growing cattle, sheep and pigs, a fantastically inefficient and destructive way of producing food. Synthetic meat, I am assured, will be as good as you want it to be. It will be interesting to see if the neurotics still insist on the 'real' thing. Probably, fearing cancer, they will - after all they shop at Notting Hill when almost anything bought from Sainsbury's Taste the Difference range is half the price and twice as good.

13 comments:

  1. One of the first organic shops was at the junction of Holland pk, where a slice of steak required a wheelbarrow filled with gelt. This shop, placed in one of the most dismal spots, Where even on the brightest of days, a heavy duty brolly, coupled with a gymnasts ability to avoid the aphid shit raining from the limes. The only shop on that corner of any use was the pizza place and they delivered.
    Niges position on food is somewhat odd, as the unhealthy attitude to food is a product of history, which extends well beyond the ww2. When Henry of Navarre was advocating one chicken a week for all, large segments of the three kingdoms were being starved out. Your beloved Norfolk and point east, has villages where one could spit from one church tower to the other, but where are the bits in between. Ask Paxman, he knows where they went, and the fool has issues with his family taking workhouse food. But, he never asked why.
    Meat, is it too much to ask that on entering hospital antibiotics work. Or that there be an outside we go crazy all on our own. We dont need the extra push, from some science bod 'who knows best'.

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  2. A learned contribution, Vince, but I'm not sure I follow your concluding logic.

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  3. How can it be that the opening of the Whole Foods Market (aka Whole Pay Check) outlet in Kensington has escaped the attention of the blog? This depressing development - try this if you want depressing - is being greeted as an epoch-making event round here. Needless to say, I have already vowed to boycott the place. Apart from anything else (and that's a big anything), no outfit can operate on this scale and maintain these kind of standards. The whole thing will, I devoutly hope, go belly-up. May it be soon.

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  4. Synthetic meat?! Will it have had a soul? As any foodie knows, it is the soul of the animal which gives it its special flavour. Of course, you don't have to believe that, and I imagine not believing it helps if you have to rely on food built in a factory by white frocked scientists rather than honest, muddy farmers.

    Let's hope there is always a choice.

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  5. Oi, lighten up on Notting Hill or I'll dip into my trust fund to get my dealer's mate to beat you up

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  6. Steady on, Ade, I live a stone's throw form the place myself and I too have friends.

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  7. Sorry Bryan, maybe this preface might help.

    Certain food insanity has a outside source.

    Farmers did not all of a sudden decide to add bone meal to feed stuff, which gave us BSE, nor did they find reasons to inject penicillin for an animal with the sniffles. These inputs came from the MoA advisers. These interference with the cattle did not increase the national herd one whit. What moved the herd numbers was the use of N P K, on the grassland. And it was 'adviser' advise as to exactly how much fertiliser was applied to each and every field, not the farmer. That meant tons of the stuff, when the actively useful amount can be measured in stones. The remainder leaches away. Ditto, weedkiller and insecticide.
    Next time you are at one of those 'organic fairs' ask if there is any N P K in the veg. If they say No they are lying. As in the same way that you need Carbon hydrogen oxygen nitrogen sulphur and a few other bits and bobs. Each and every plant and the follow on meat, requires nitrogen phosphorus and potassium.
    Organic is not a benign zero sum activity full of bearded pipe playing chappies. The production of each and every organic field will reduce over time.[If its on that shelf its not in the ground.] While the taste has more to do with the trace elements, than anything 'organic'.

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  8. My friends are harder than your friends

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  9. ...and my friends have cats...

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  10. Though as someone who grew up in the country, though not on a farm, and whose old man grew vegetables though not organically, the utter blandness of the flavour of supermarket stuff in comparison is immense. I've witnesed with my own oracular vision city cousins of young age converted to an addiction for broccoli during stays to said pace in the country. Raw carrots were beautiful. TOBH the absence of flavour in bought vegetables is a bit depressing.

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  11. "Asked whether people would be repulsed by lab-grown meat.."

    So someone may be repulsed by meat grown in a lab but not repulsed by meat that is carved from the carcass of a dead animal? If you can stomach the latter, I don't see the problem with the former.

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  12. Susan B., fan of Marguerite de Navarre,June 09, 2007 10:00 pm

    I wish we did have lab-grown meat. I am a carnivore, but I do indeed feel guilty about the slaughter of animals, factory farming, blah blah. I don't eat veal and I know I shouldn't eat foie gras (jeez -- can't they grow fat livers in the lab, too?), though when in France it's really hard to turn down.

    Whole Foods is a big deal here. There's one near the newspaper where i work and so I often go there to buy dinner when I have a night shift. It is indeed WAY more expensive than the caf, but it's also way better food. Good salad bar, fresh fruits, etc.

    Vince, are you talking about Marguerite de Navarre's husband, Henri, or her son, Henri IV? And where did this saying about a chicken come from -- I've never heard that attributed to anyone before the American slogan of the Depression ("a chicken in every pot")?

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