Nicole Pilcher looks at the latest stories to get tongues wagging in the world of food and drink…
U.S Gets a Taste of Nigella
Nigella Lawson looks set to crack the states through new American TV show The Taste. Viewers enjoyed her witty humour and gave her a warm reception on arrival at the studios, despite her decision not to let ABC airbrush her tummy for their billboards (the very thought of it!)
Honey, They Shrunk The Food!
Thanks to the recession, it seems the weight of packaged foods is diminishing while prices stay put. John West tuna has gone from 130g to 112g, Dairy Milk bars from 49g to 45g and Quality Street have slimmed down their tins, which once were a hefty 1kg but now weigh in at 820g. Apparently, manufacturers are also swapping quality for quantity without advertising their new ingredients to consumers. According to experts, we British care less about the nutritional content and value of food than our European counterparts, leaving manufacturers free to pull the wool over our eyes.
Of course, with the weekend came Burns night – the Scottish celebration of poet Robert Burns’ life – and so did many a splendid supper, as well as discussions about haggis and its versatility as an international ingredient. We were intrigued by its applications within Indian cuisine – samosas, bhajis and many other Indian specialities, by all accounts. Recipes for vegetarian haggis were popping up all over foodie forums, too!
As part of the Labour party’s call for responsible deals with food manufacturers, soft drink giants Ribena and Lucozade have agreed to reduce the sugar content of their calorific commodities by up to 10%. In a bid to improve the nation’s health, major supermarkets have also committed to removing artificial trans fats and many fast food outlets are now clearly displaying the calorie contents of their products.
This widely debated topic has had tongues wagging most furiously. With many experts suggesting that the horse DNA found in Tesco burgers was from injured or sick animals, talk has turned to why the supermarket thought it was acceptable to entertain any such idea in the first place. Again, the British public’s ‘lack of concern’ over quality and nutritional intake is being blamed.
Cruelty to Crustaceans
New research has shown that lobsters and crabs do, in fact, feel pain. Simple research into classical conditioning has shown that after being given a small electric shock, crabs were able to remember the unpleasant experience for next time, and sought other hiding places to avoid the pain. The usual method of cooking crustaceans in restaurants – ie. boiling them alive – is now in question. Slightly more humane methods (such as slicing their heads off) are now being championed. Hmmm.
A Fishy Fix
Two and a half years ago, mackerel was considered a sustainable source of seafood. Robust enough in number to become an increasingly popular feature of restaurant and chip shop menus, the super-nutritious fish looked set to become much more of a dietary staple for Brits. However, greedy over-fishing and a feud over mackerel quotas between Norway and the EU has left our supplies rather sparse.