Join the campaign for good honest season food

Friday 12 July 2013 

  • Could you become a food God in your own family?

  • The survey that says life is putting too much pressure on mum’s

  • Join the campaign for good honest seasonal food

I have vivid and fond memories of my mum standing in a kitchen tending steaming pots and pans.

At the time she seemed like some sort of magician, and alchemist of food, who could magic a tasty meat pie from the oven, or a steamed jam sponge from some old underwear almost at will. (It’s true she really did use the leg from a pair of clean ‘drawers’ to steam her puddings in!)

It didn’t seem unusual to me, or any of my friends who used to frequent our dinner table; anymore than it seemed odd that when I visited them their mums were doing the same.

Now though when our kids have friends around they stare at me and Lara as we busy ourselves over the stove with a strange look on their faces.

Mind you they seem to wolf down whatever we put in front of them in pretty short order – fresh tempura vegetables and sweet chilli dip was last nights fare and my daughter and two of her mates seemed to eat their own bodyweights before they let me away from the wok!

After they had gone I asked the apple of my eye (and major drainer of my wallet!) what they thought of their food.

“They just think its really great that my parents are chefs,” she said without looking up from her book, “it’s cool that you wrote a cookbook too – they always want you to cook stuff from it for them.”

I hadn’t thought of it like that, and we certainly don't think we are professionals, but I suppose Lara and I are somewhat in the minority because we tend to cook most meals from scratch.

That’s not to say I set myself up as a paragon of domestic goodness, I love a takeaway curry, am no stranger to a tin of baked beans... and you all know about my weakness for a KitKat!

But we have always cooked because we enjoy it.

I love tending my bit of garden and rushing back indoors with some fresh broccoli (which at the moment is cropping like it will never end!), or a courgette and setting to work to cook it as sympathetically as possible – retaining as much of the nutritional and healthy properties as I can.

This isn’t done to effect some sort of one-upmanship at the school gates and certainly never to build my own reputation – it’s because I really LOVE my food.

That’s why a news item I heard on the radio yesterday morning made me feel saddened and angry at the same time.

Let me tell you what it was all about, and why I want you to join me in my latest crusade.

The plight of a modern mum

Radio Five Live Breakfast was running a story about a new piece of research from Leeds University which suggested that a generation of mums are feeling guilty because they don’t cook their meals from scratch.

According to Maxine Woolhouse, who conducted the research. “Mums who don’t cook from scratch, either because they can’t for practical reasons or because they don’t want to, feel like they’re failing,” she said. “They are blamed for storing up future health problems.”

This concept really saddened me, but I was also incensed that the subtext of the story related back to the health argument.

Once again the same tired old quotes about our rising obesity levels, increased cardiovascular risk and levels of diabetes were trotted out – putting household diets squarely in their sights.
This narrow minded reporting HAS to stop.

The problem with the paucity of quality in our food is ONLY down to the manufacturers, retailers and global companies associated with the food chain – NOT the consumer.

By allowing these commercial low-life’s to dominate our lives is a failure of government not a stressed mother and father.

I have spent the last six years of my life being actively interested in food politics and dedicated the previous six months intensively to root out the secrets behind how we are being manipulated.

The full story, and much more, will be published in my new book ‘Everyday Superfoods’ which will be launched next Sunday – and will form part of my seasonal diet programme.

This is my ‘new campaign’ if you will. And it directly addresses the two issues at hand with this new survey.

Seasonal Diet Programme

The research will be presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual Psychology of Women conference; will heap the guilt on working mothers who already fret that they are not doing enough for their children.

These are a generation who may have been brought up with parents who cooked at home, but were denied proper tuition at school and surfed the marketing tidal wave for fast food and sugar loaded drinks.

The ‘McCokeKFC’ generation if you like.

Now they watch TV shows that demonstrate kitchen skills that would make all but the most professional chefs blush and feel out of touch with what is expected of them.

They lead increasingly busy lives as they rush around to juggle the need to earn money, raise their families and hold life and soul together.

Is it any wonder that they reach for a simple pack of pies, pizzas or oven fish for dinner?

But don’t expect that these are the thirty something generation alone, this blight is affecting everyone – or every age.

We are all expected to work longer, our savings are worth nothing even our pensions are exhibiting the Law of Diminishing Returns.

All of us are subject to the same issues and pressures, yet when we give in to the promotional pressure or time limited day and grab a quick burger shouldn’t we expect nutrition rather than the sweepings from a factory floor?

That isn’t an unreasonable request is it?

So, keep a look out over the next few days as I tell you more about how ‘Season to Taste’ and ‘Everyday Superfoods’ together will deliver both the knowledge to choose the best in fresh, seasonal foods and the simplicity of how to prepare them as a stunning meal.

Perhaps even more importantly these books have been written to help you address specific health concerns – even the indexes show you how to choose your meal to meet the need.

Join me in building a head of steam to address this growing menace to our and our children’s (and grandchildren’s!) lives – watch your inbox for more news and a really great offer.

Yours, as always







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