What is Food?

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

Apples oranges bananas and pears
Duh, it’s obvious, innit, it’s the stuff you put in yer cake’ole. In a physical sense, yes, that is correct, food is the stuff we put in our mouths, masticate, then swallow. Our body extracts various nutrients and energy sources and I don’t need to tell you what happens after that. What does food mean? What if we considered food on a different level from the physical, nourishing and calorific one, what does food mean to the people of the world, beyond energy and nutrition? What joy or sadness does it bring? What political, professional or domestic issues does it create? How do the 7,400,000,000 people on this planet manage to get enough of that food ‘stuff’ into their gobs every single day of their lives, if they’re lucky? How is it possible that there’s enough food in the world to provide at least one meal a day to such…

Being Lactose Intolerant & Intolerant of Lactose Intolerance

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

Lactose intolerant Milk pouring into jug
Can you keep a secret? I’m going to break some news, admit something I’ve been ruminating over for a long time. I’m going to hold my hand up and say that I don’t like milk, that I am probably lactose intolerant. This isn’t based on scientific numbers and doctors reports, it is based on personal evidence of an aversion to milk, so all those who hate the ‘fad of wellness’ better saddle up your best trolls and get ready for a fight. But First, Some Contradictions. I have always been slightly begrudging of ‘intolerances’. I’ve always seen a full-blown allergy based on doctors examinations and trials as a big, undeniable fact and no-one’s going to argue that point, hopefully. Except those who believe that exposure to things can reduce allergic reactions, but that’s another story altogether. But an intolerance? That’s more of a personal opinion type-thing and we all know…

The Happy Egg Company – Life on the Farm

Gavin WrenFood Education, The World of Food

A flock of Happy Egg Company Chickens
I’ve always had an idyllic, romantic image of farms. A vision of warm, hazy summer days, vast open areas of lush fields and lots of animals hanging around to socialise with. It’s a storybook image of a farm, which belies the hard work and long hours that the UK’s farmers put in every single day, tending to their flock, fields or crop. So imagine my joy when I was invited to spend a day on a Happy Egg Company farm! Even my strong British stiff upper-lipped attempts at containing my excitement were short lived, because the happiness with which I anticipated this event was massive, I couldn’t wait to get down on the farm. When I got there, I saw 120 acres of lush green pasture and 14,000 chickens, all purring away happily. Yes, I know that chickens cluck, but when you’re faced with the residents of a mobile chicken…

Global Nutrition Report 2016 – It Affects You.

Gavin WrenFood Education, The World of Food

Global Nutrition Report 2016
I was recently invited to attend the UK launch of the Global Nutrition Report in London. The report is a huge group effort created by over 100 contributors from around the world, looking at how nutrition is experienced on a global level. My invitation was due to my imminent commencement of the Food Policy MSc course at City University London, a course which looks in detail at all aspects of the global food chain and our interaction with it. A New Perspective. Due to the way that Food is a cornerstone of civilisation, not to mention a diverse and complicated topic, it was hugely enlightening to hear the details of the report, because frankly, it’s headline findings are very easily conveyed in some simple, straightforward numbers. But first, let’s start with the word ‘malnutrition’. What does that mean to you? Shockingly underweight kids in Africa featured during video clips with…

How to Cook Onions and How Recipes Lie

Gavin WrenBasic Ingredients, Food Education, Food Techniques, The World of Food

How to cook onions and how recipes lie to us
Today I’m looking at how cooks and chefs around the world have lied to us about how to cook onions, misusing terms like sauté, caramelise, sweat and fry along with frankly ridiculous suggestions of cooking times. So if you really want to know your onions, read on, and I will expose the real truth about onions. Hold the Front Page! It’s time for a News of the World style exposé of the food world. Time to blow open the doors of convention and open your eyes to the delusion and deception that’s all around us in the circus ring of recipes. There’s a common portrayal out there in the culinary world, a veil of misconception that’s flown across people’s faces time and time again, a published mistruth, a conspiracy to mislead and delude the common or garden home cook. For many years there has been a delusion that’s paraded around,…

Authentic Italian Food and How to ‘Do It Right’

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

Authentic Italian Food and how to make sure there's passion in your cooking
An Italian Muse. Over the last few days my ongoing obsession with authentic Italian food has been stoked by working on an ultimate spelt pizza guide, a series of recipe tests that have furnished my table with some of the nicest pizzas I’ve ever had, which although sounding incredibly smug and arrogant, is true. Soon I will share the delights of these creations with you, so that you can partake in these discs of passionate glory. But there’s been one significant stumbling block along the way to getting these pieces written up, which is the apoplectic passion which my mind whisks itself into once I start talking about authentic Italian food. It practically numbs my ability to write a careful and considered blog post, instead wanting to decry huge swathes of Italian food as being heretic imitations of true Italian cuisine. As I write this, I’m 2000 words astray of…