Fucking Food Banks

Gavin WrenFood Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

fucking food banks
Yes, fucking food banks.

They’re a blight on society. They go against everything that an egalitarian, democratic society stands for.

I’m privileged, relatively speaking. I’m part of the white, middle class bubble of the food world who postures on Twitter and posts about the joys of cooking with ingredients that require a trip to Waitrose or speciality food stores. I have not, yet, required the services of a food bank, although my mum mistakenly thought that my student status and part time employment meant I qualified to use one, bless her.

Ironically, I do visit a food bank, because I help at one. This triggered a chain of learning which is leading me down a path of sheer incredulity at the way British society has constructed these outposts of basic human survival.

Lets start with some facts...come and read more...

McDonalds Adverts vs Reality

Gavin WrenFood Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

McDonalds medium fries UK advert
My local neighbourhood is plastered with McDonalds adverts. I pondered whether it's an attempt to overcome the proliferation of chicken shop takeaways offering £1 kids meals, which are abundant in this part of East London. These chicken joints make McDonalds look positively expensive and have the added bonus of resepctfully calling their customers 'bossman'.

This advertising is probably targeted near to the large drive-by McDonalds situated around the corner, in the hope that the sight of massive Big Mac on a bus shelter will cause people to enter a zombie-like state, marching tirelessly with rolled-back eyes until they reach the shiny touchscreen ordering altar of this global corporation, where their bloodlust for fast food can be sated.
McDonalds. The Truth.
Disliking McDonalds can be quite fashionable, especially in oh-so-virtuous middle class bubbles of foodie culture, but I'm not that person. As a…

Childhood Memories of Food – The YBFs 2017 Entry

Gavin WrenFood Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

The YBFs Entry 2017
Awards ceremonies, especially for bloggers, are often little more than a PR exercise for the organiser and main sponsor. Worse still are the public-vote events, a back slapping exercise amongst nominees and voters for those who work their social media the hardest during voting, getting vital coverage for that sponsor.

Because of this, I only enter competitions that are independently judged by people who I respect and require no publicity to garner votes, thereby avoiding the rather tiresome 'LOOK AT ME, VOTE FOR ME' nature of many blogger awards.
The YBFs
Earlier this year I entered the Young British Foodie 'Fresh Voices in Writing' competition, otherwise known as the YBFs. These awards are industry judged by well respected figures within the food world, so represent a great opportunity for recognition of high quality work. Sadly, my valiant effort fell short...come and read more...

Spelt Buns – Do I Need to Knead Spelt?

Gavin WrenBaking, Food Techniques, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

I've always wondered if I need to knead spelt dough, because it never seemed to make much difference. So I've done a side by side bake test to see if you really need to knead!
Throughout my blog, I've declared that there's no need to knead spelt dough.

This pearl of wisdom originated several years ago from a source that I've entirely forgotten, yet, as I create more spelt recipes for my blog, I've begun to question it.
It's all about the gluten
Roger Saul, in his Sharpham Park 'Spelt' book, says to knead spelt dough for 10 minutes in every recipe. I was surprised to read this, it seems excessive, however, I also realise that he grows the stuff and sells it in supermarkets, so I was interested to see what benefit this really has.

All varieties of wheat (including spelt) contain two proteins, gliaden and glutenin, which if combined with water and kneaded, create a complex protein known as gluten. Gluten is what gives dough it's elasticity and stretchability, resulting...come and read more...

Arrogance in the Food World

Gavin WrenFood Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

Arrogance in the food world
When it comes to food, we’re all equal.

Eating is a basic unifying experience within humanity. It stands alone, as a unique ritual which the global population, hopefully engages with on a daily basis. Every single living person’s existence depends upon hunting, gathering, buying, cooking or ordering to ensure a steady supply of energy, and these processes require interaction with the outside world.

Obtaining food can be fraught with danger, such as dodging herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the Serengeti, or boldly sailing across Columbia Bar, ‘the graveyeard of the pacific’. However, these experiences pale into insignificance when compared to the condescension of Rex Goldsmith, The Chelsea Fishmonger, when attempting to buy organic salmon on a Wednesday morning in south west London.

Quite how perilous SW3 might be pivots entirely on your understanding of aquaculture and wild-capture...come and read more...

Stop Fighting Obesity – The War on Weightloss is Useless

Gavin WrenFood Education, Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

fighting obesity
The bathroom scales have petrified me for weeks. I feel fear in the depths of my stomach when I see them, because I’m worried that I’ve eaten too much food recently. Adamant that my slender figure was consigned to history, I felt doomed to life in the third circle of hell with the gluttons. If you need me before I die, I’ll be in a branch of Chicken Cottage.

What’s the big problem? The problem is being overweight. 10 years ago my jeans required nearly eight inches more fabric around the waist and I nudged my trusty bathroom scales to nearly thirty kilograms more than this morning’s reading. I’m proud of having fought hard to remove that excess weight and I’ll be damned if it’s going to creep back into my life.

Losing that mass uncovered neurosis around food, which endures today in paranoia and hypervigilance about my weight. It... come and read more...