Unpopular Opinion Cooking is Dull

Unpopular Opinion: Cooking is Dull

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

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…
Is it Time to Make a Withdrawl from Food Banks

Is it Time to Make a Withdrawl from Food Banks?

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

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…
Show Industrialised Food Love

Why We Need to Show Industrial Food Some Love

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

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…
chickens chocolate coffee arms race

The Chicken, Coffee and Chocolate Arms Race

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

Deciphering what food is acceptable to eat is incredibly confusing and frequently exposes the internal contradictions of the human condition.


Dr Tara Garnett recently highlighted my personal conflicts when talking about the effect of food on climate change. The evidence surrounding eating too much meat poured through the air as heads nodded sagely, while virtuous “eat less meat” campaigns formulated in the quasi-vegetarian minds around the room. Then came the shocker, her evidence also suggests we should drink less coffee and tea, and eat less chocolate.



Well screw that. Contemplating quitting coffee and chocolate gave me a glimpse into the world of an NRA member when asked to...
fucking food banks

Bloody Food Banks

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

Yes, bloody 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 medium fries UK advert

McDonalds Adverts vs Reality

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

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…