My Response to The Unhealthy Truth Behind ‘Wellness’ and ‘Clean Eating’

Gavin WrenFood Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

This piece is a response to Ruby Tandoh’s piece on Wellness, originally published on Vice.com I find such vitriolic swipes at ‘wellness’ quite interesting to read, because there certainly is something slightly repugnant about the virginal enthusiasm with which the wellness gurus espouse their puritanical regimes. But also I feel any anger directed at them is somewhat out of proportion to the actuality of the wellness ‘movement’, if I can call it one. Generally a movement has some kind of organisation or structure to it, a defining aim, which in this case wellness doesn’t, there’s no guiding definitions or rules other than boosting Instagram’s user statistics or Chia seed sales. Clean, or not to clean? The author’s derision of the word ‘clean’ as used by wellness bloggers in reference to the foods they recommend feels borderline sanctimonious, which is ironic because it makes the whole discussion seem like a sanctimonious…

Recipes for Beginners

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

Recipes for beginners
Recipes for Beginners. The world of recipes can be a daunting place where it’s easy to feel utterly imprisoned by the author’s written instructions, sensing that any deviation or misunderstanding could easily have catastrophic consequences on your dinner. If you’re new to cooking, cautious about it or a nervous cook it could be tempting to seek out the most simple recipes for beginners, to keep your channels of exploration locked into a tightly controlled path. But there is one important fact about making recipes which I’m going to tell you, and the sooner you learn it, the quicker you will progress as a cook. But it’s scary! As a beginner cook, the world of combining foodstuffs together and adding heat can all seem a bit daunting. Seeing all those fast moving utensils, viciously sharp knives and dangerously hot surfaces which might burn things is intimidating and the constant overwhelming spectre…

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…

Recipe Modification, Diversification and Bastardisation

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

Recipe modification, diversification and bastardisation
Respect the Recipe. There have been many occasions, both on this blog and in my real, physical existence, where I’ve managed to work myself into a contorted fit of rage over inappropriate recipe modification of certain traditional dishes. I have enormous respect for time honoured, traditional recipes, the amazing dishes and techniques which have been handed down through time for each generation to enjoy. Often based in simplicity, or invoking a fundamental technique of a certain culture’s cooking practice, these recipes are social icons, they have ubiquitous names and often represent entire avenues of cuisine. It took a while before I fully vocalised this point of view. At first I was merrily jumping on the food blogger bandwagon, happily latching on to any name that I thought were fit for purpose with the recipe I had just published. Little did I realise that I was simultaneously contributing to the decline…

‘The Main Ingredient’ and Culinary Prejudices

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

butternut squash black background
Forgive me father. It’s confessional corner again, time to lay bare yet another one of my peculiar little nuances regarding food. This time it’s a distinctly partial perspective of mine, a way of approaching food which has taken years to become apparent, and taken quite some time to ultimately dispel. It affected how I planned meals, how I chose recipes and how I did my shopping. This particularly peculiar perception worked to furnish me with a set of culinary blinkers, which I’m glad to say have been cast asunder, left to lie in tatters at the kerbside of my culinary journey through life. The Main Ingredient. I have spent vast tracts of my life labouring under a misconception. I worked under the peculiar idea that when I make a recipe, there lies an item within it, just one single ingredient, which is so overwhelmingly powerful, vital and precious that it…

Why Icarus Was Right And Your Teachers Were Wrong

Gavin WrenFood Opinion Pieces, The World of Food

Most people learn about the fate of Icarus at a young age. It serves as a powerfully graphic warning of the perils of excessive self-confidence, how one should avoid extreme risks because of their potentially grave conscequences. The crux of the story has even passed into our lexicon as a euphemism for over-reaching ambition or greed. I’ve often heard it said, in a slightly smug way, that someone has “flown too close to the sun” if their ventures have sadly failed, as if they should have heeded the story of Icarus and known better. The story of Icarus is the tale of Daedalus and his son, Icarus, who are exiled on Crete and unable to escape by means of sea or land. In a final bid to escape, Daedalus crafts imitation bird’s wings out of feathers fastened with thread and bees wax which he affixes to their arms, allowing them…