Have you ever shoplifted food because you couldn’t afford to buy it?
Not because you were drunk and it seemed a giggle, or because you stole sweets from the corner shop when you were eleven years old to impress your friends, or because you were trying to fund a smack habit or because you went through a phase of life where stealing seemed like good entertainment.
Have you ever found yourself in the situation where the only remaining feasible option to stave off hunger remaining open to you, is taking food without paying for it, from a business?
That is the question that Matthew Thomson put to a room of ~150 academics, charity and food workers, many of whom have, or will be, studying food poverty.
The answer was 4 or 5.
The discussion was on ‘lived experience’ and ‘experts by experience’, which are the catchy academic monikers given to…
Heretic. Who would dare say such a thing? Certainly not a ‘foodie’, that’s for sure.
Eating is the foundation of life on earth, across continents and through species, but cooking is the technique that homo-sapiens has adopted for it’s unique spin on this primeval process. No other living creature cooks what they eat, it’s unique to us, the humans.
If I had a pound for every time someone told me cooking skills will solve virtually all problems with the food world, I’d be an extremely wealthy man. It’s oft repeated, quoted rote in the face of any question about making the world healthy again. It is, of course, a marvellous skill, perhaps one that I take for granted, because I’ve done a lot of it.
From my young days spent licking cake mix off a spoon in my mum’s kitchen, through being occasionally dumped in a hotel kitchen to…
I’m back in the world of the living, after two days solid of listening to, and talking about some incredible work at the first UK conference on food and poverty. The over-riding theme was food banks, there were research projects on food banks, lived experiences of food banks, food bank observations, food bank quantitative data, food bank volunteers and food bank organisers, it was a veritable orgy of food bank evidence.
On the last day, in her summing up, Rachel Loopstra reminded the audience that food poverty extends beyond food banks, in fact, food banks represent a thin slice of food poverty, yet they receive the most attention. We’d do well to make sure our academic lenses are trained more keenly on food poverty as a whole, rather than this singular, albeit high profile, avenue of emergency food aid.
Perhaps it’s the tendency for humans to assign pigeon-holes…
Another great piece of news for the start of 2018 was having one of my articles published in the East London cultural magazine 'The E-List’.
This publication features articles about artists, musicians and cultural icons from this area of East London. The article was a provocative 'think' piece about the role of local food and industrialisation in modern diets, how we need to accept 'big food' to a certain extent if we are to avoid making puff pastry ever again. Avocados aren't native to the UK yet have become a staple and no-one wants to revert to living on turnips all winter.
Last week I also submitted a long form pitch to a very large circulation publication, I'm really trying to get my writing out in the world this year, so watch this space!
Last night I watched two wise, reasoned and educated people talk excitedly about food. Joanna Blythman and Polly Russell explored personal food history, modern industrialised food, poverty, home cooking and much more besides. An immutable fact of those who study food is the ability to talk with ceaseless enthusiasm, I’m sure we could have stayed all night as we dived into the rabbit hole of the food world’s ills.
The analogy of the rabbit hole from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is spectacularly apt for discussions about food. Food debates are characterised by fractious, diverse discourse about situations which gradually become ever more complicated as the surface dust is gently brushed off, revealing the complex, labyrinthine puzzle below.
At a basic level, solutions to food problems appear simple, because it’s very easy to see where an individual’s behaviour around food may be causing problems. Too much fried chicken, not enough…
2018 has started with a bang!
There's been a constant stream of great news about my work coming through, it's always a delight to receive positive feedback about the images and prose that I create.
One of those delightful nuggets of information was an e-mail stating that I had been shortlisted in the 'Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year' awards! The image below was placed in the 'Cream of the Crop' category which comprised beautiful images of specific foods, in this case, one of my exploding ice creams.
Receiving this commendation after such a short time of being 'pro' is a huge testament to the work I've put into my photography skills over the last few years. There were some well known names from the food photography world alongside me and it was amazing to be shortlisted amongst photographers that I've recently asked to assist!
Being nominated has…