NewsFood fit for a QueenFifty years

NewsFood fit for a QueenFifty years


News

Food fit for a Queen

Fifty years ago, faced with the need for a dish at once simple and luxurious that could be prepared in advance to feed guests at the Coronation, Constance Spry invented Coronation Chicken.

She folded chunks of cold poached chicken into a creamy mayonnaise flavoured with onion and curry paste, sweetened it with puréed apricot and added lemon juice for astringency. The result, deservedly, was regarded as a classic.

It is easy to forget, too, now that it more often fills sandwiches than furnishes feasts, that, in 1953, Coronation Chicken was a real treat. Curry paste was a relatively exotic recent addition to the nation''s larders; chicken, and the eggs in the mayonnaise, were still luxury items in an age of post-war rationing.

Today, with hormone-stuffed, pallid and water-injected supermarket chicken breasts one of the nation''s cheapest forms of protein, battery eggs and processed mayonnaise ubiquitous, and curry powder the basis of the nation''s most popular dishes, it would be a disservice to Constance Spry - and to Her Majesty - to suggest a repeat of the dish.

An alternative for 2003 would need, like the original, to be something exotic, expensive and seldom tasted by the ordinary person. It would need, at the same time, to have a simplicity, a lack of faddishness, that would allow it to enjoy the same long run of popularity as its predecessor.

In a Britain ravaged by foot and mouth, constrained by European health regulations, blighted by intensive methods of raising livestock, and addicted to convenience food, it is time to reinvent the wheel.

Coronation 2003 deserves grass-fed Scotch beef, properly hung, marbled with fat and roasted blood-rare. It should be accompanied by Yorkshire pudding, Irish new potatoes, grated horseradish and the most delicious leeks Wales can supply. The rest is just gravy.

Source, The Daily Telegraph


Surprises Galore in Store at the York Festival of Food and Drink!
If you visit York this September between 12 and 21, you could be in for a big surprise! The York Festival of Food and Drink will once again grip the ancient City with a flurry of gastronomic activity bringing the very best of food, drink and cooking skills from around the region into focus.
Click here to read in full.


Food: What are we really eating?
Click here to read this and other related articles
Source, The Guardian


The needs of angry peasants and prosperous consumers are combining to bring the era of industrialised food to an end: ''Farewell to the Giants of Greed'':
Click here to read in full.
Source, The Guardian


Food has four seasons
Matthew Fort on why the policy of ''cheap'' food is a dangerous myth and how to break away from it
Click here to read in full.
Source, The Guardian

There is no need to eat dinky French beans from Zimbabwe in February, when you can have purple sprouting broccoli from just down the road at half the price. We have to change our shopping habits, our cooking habits, and maybe our social habits as well. We must expunge the mantra of "cheap food" from our minds, and substitute "good food" instead - buy by quality, not price; buy in season not according to marketing pressure. We have to break the habit of one-stop shopping once a week - shop locally and shop often, searching out local suppliers, stocking up at farmers'' markets, farm shops and specialist suppliers. And if you are working too hard, have it delivered.
Source, The Guardian


British Season
What is in season when...a guide to Britain''s seasonal food:
Click here to read in full


British beer goes down well in the US, the French like our cornflakes and the Spanish have a taste for our shellfish...
Click here to read in full
Source, Financial Times

Local Food; A snapshot of the sector
This report by the Government''s Working Group on Local Food looks at the current status of the local food sector, considers the benefits of local food, examines the range of definitions, and the policy implications for government.
Source, www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/local_food_report_mar03.pdf

Tesco to source extra produce
Supermarket chain Tesco yesterday announced it was sourcing an extra £15m of produce from British farmers. The company said that by introducing new methods it had helped farmers to extend their growing seasons. It meant the supermarket would this year buy an additional 19,000 tonnes of potatoes, 490 tonnes of strawberries and 150,000 kilos of cucumber from British farmers which it would otherwise have imported. Steve Murrells, fresh produce category director at Tesco, said: "Britain is well known for its poor weather and erratic climate but by working with suppliers we have developed new ways to beat it. "Extending the season not only benefits British farmers by increasing their yield but it is also good news for customers and the local economy.

"Previously our suppliers relied on seasonal workers but now they are able to employ people all year round." Northumberland NFU chairman and Alnwick farmer Stoker Frater said: "This can only be a good thing. We can only survive if people buy British and any increase in sales is excellent news. "We would like to see supermarkets sourcing as much as they possibly can from British farmers, because we can provide the housewife with traceability and the food is not travelling so far." The announcement comes a week after Asda launched a £1.3m campaign to put more British labelled produce on their shelves. This initiative follows pressure from industry leaders and politicians for clearer and more accurate country of origin labelling. Under the campaign, called Good Honest Value - Celebrating Home-grown Produce - Asda will label its produce with new logos featuring a big Union Jack and the word British in over 250 stores across the UK. Also, the country of origin of imported products will be clearly labelled, and the produce of the EU label ditched.
Source, Newcastle Journal - Anna Lognonne

DEFRA guidance for purchasers in central government departments
Defra has produced guidance for purchasers in central government departments and agencies on integrating sustainable development into food and catering contracts.
This can be read in full at www.defra.gov.uk/farm/sustain/procurement/index.htm


Survey reveals British are confused about their food
New research by research company Taylor Nelson Sofres for the NFU shows most Britons have lost touch with where their food comes from. Nearly 90% don''t know that beer is made from barley, a fifth don''t know yoghurt is made from milk and, shockingly, more than one in 10 people think we grow rice in the UK. The survey also revealed less than two in 10 people know that three quarters of the UK''s land surface is farmland, with two thirds never having met a farmer.
Source, www.cobritishfarming.org.uk/latest.html
Children ''being raised on ready meals''
British children are being brought up on a diet of convenience foods, according to a survey.
It found children are eating on average 107 ready meals each per year, with the figure rising to 133 for 11 to 16-year-olds.
Source, www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_772859.html?menu

Asda pledges support for British farmers
24/04/03 - Asda, the UK’s third largest food retail group, has unveiled a new programme designed to promote British food and drink products.

The new Buy British campaign was launched at Asda’s annual farming conference in Leeds, and will feature the tagline ‘Good, Honest Value - Celebrating Home-grown Produce’.
Asda said the campaign would boost sales of British meat, produce and dairy products throughout its chain of 259 stores, with the aim of increasing income for its farmer suppliers. The Buy British campaign is also designed to educate shoppers about the origins of their food.
Source, www.foodnavigator.com/news/news.asp?id=7505

Survey reveals British are confused about their food
New research by research company Taylor Nelson Sofres for the NFU shows most Britons have lost touch with where their food comes from. Nearly 90% don''t know that beer is made from barley, a fifth don''t know yoghurt is made from milk and, shockingly, more than one in 10 people think we grow rice in the UK. The survey also revealed less than two in 10 people know that three quarters of the UK''s land surface is farmland, with two thirds never having met a farmer.
Source,www.cobritishfarming.org.uk/latest.html

DEFRA guidance for purchasers in central government departments
Defra has produced guidance for purchasers in central government departments and agencies on integrating sustainable development into food and catering contracts which can be viewed here.
Source, www.defra.gov.uk/farm/sustain/procurement/index.htm

Tony Blair backs ‘Buy British’ for schools and hospitals
Prime Minister Tony Blair is backing plans to make schools, hospitals and local councils spend more on British food. Exact targets will not be announced for at least two months, but negotiations are already under way. Don Curry, who leads the implementation group said ''Work on setting targets for the amount of home-produced food used by local authorities in meals in schools, hospitals, and local government offices has already begun''. Mr Blair has also made available the Prime Minister''s Delivery Unit to help monitor the progress towards achieving the targets.
Source, Farmers Weekly.


New survey shows high demand for British food

According to a recent survey of 1000 Brits by market research company Mintel, half of consumers try to buy British when shopping for meat, rising to almost three-quarters of those aged 65 and over and 44 per cent of adults when shopping for fruit and vegetables, while almost a third look for British fish. According to the survey, albeit small, three in ten consumers would buy more British produce if it were available, again this rises to over 42 per cent in the 65 plus age group. Over a fifth complain that supermarkets do not carry enough British-grown fresh fruit and vegetables, with 13 per cent objecting to having to buy fruit and vegetables grown in other countries. The report also highlighted the increasing popularity of farmers markets in the UK with almost a quarter of British consumers (23 per cent) claiming to shop at farmer''s markets/farm stores to buy locally grown produce. Women are considerably more active than men in buying local produce with 27 per cent shopping at farmer''s markets compared to 19 per cent of males. Some 14 per cent of consumers claim that they would not know where to go to get locally grown produce.
Source, www.foodnavigator.com

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