Food

Cartoon: School lunches of the future

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/01/2020 - 11:50pm in

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Sophia Loren’s Minestrone (1972)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/01/2020 - 12:35am in

FYI, January is National Soup Month. I have wanted a copy of this book for quite some time. Essentially since I stumbled upon this picture about 9 years ago: So many questions: Where did this picture come from? Why is Sophia Loren holding big utensils to her face? Why does she look so damn sad?Continue reading Sophia Loren’s Minestrone (1972) →

Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery Volume 8: Pickled Mushrooms (1966)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 1:42am in

Tags 

Food, vegetables

So we’re at that point again where I’m going through my camera roll and my notes and rediscovering all of the recipes I’ve made over the last year but never got to posting. (Holly Ball 2019 will remain in the vault until the 2020 holiday season). I guess I’m doing a bit of spring cleaning.Continue reading Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery Volume 8: Pickled Mushrooms (1966) →

Saving Our Bacon

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/01/2020 - 5:48pm in

Tags 

farming, Food

Farmfree foods might be the only thing that gets us – and much of the rest of the living world – through this century.

By George
Monbiot, published in the Guardian 8th January 2020

It sounds
like a miracle, but no great technological leaps were required. In a commercial
lab on the outskirts of Helsinki, I watched scientists turning water into food.
Through a porthole in a metal tank, I could see a yellow froth churning. It’s a
primordial soup of bacteria, taken from the soil, using hydrogen extracted from
water as its energy source. When the froth was siphoned through a tangle of
pipes, and squirted onto heated rollers, it turned into a rich yellow flour.

This flour
is not yet licensed for sale. But the scientists, working for a company called Solar
Foods
, were
allowed to give me some. I asked them, filming our documentary Apocalypse Cow, to make me a pancake: I would be the first
person on Earth, beyond the lab staff, to eat such a thing. They set up a
frying pan in the lab, mixed the flour with oat milk, and I took my small step
for man. It tasted … just like a pancake.

But
pancakes are not the intended product. Such flours are likely soon to become
the feedstock for almost everything. In their raw state, they can replace the
fillers now used in thousands of food products. When the bacteria are modified,
they will create the specific proteins needed for cultured meat, milk and eggs.
Other tweaks will produce lauric acid – goodbye palm oil – and long-chain omega-3
fatty acids: hello cultured fish. The carbohydrates that remain when proteins
and fats have been extracted could replace everything from pasta flour to
potato crisps. The first commercial factory built by Solar Foods should be
running next year.

The
hydrogen pathway is around ten times as efficient as photosynthesis. But
because only part of a plant can be eaten, while the bacterial flour is
mangetout, you can multiply that efficiency several times. And because it will
be brewed in giant vats, the land efficiency, the company estimates, is roughly
20,000 times greater. Everyone on Earth could be handsomely fed, using a tiny
fraction of its surface. If, as the company intends, the water is electrolysed
with solar power, the best places to build these plants will be deserts.

We are on
the cusp of the biggest economic transformation, of any kind, for 200 years.
While arguments rage about plant- versus meat-based diets, new technologies
will soon make them irrelevant. Before long, most of our food will come neither
from animals nor plants, but from unicellular life. After 12,000 years of
feeding humankind, all farming except fruit and veg production is likely to be
replaced by ferming: brewing microbes through precision fermentation. I know
some people will be horrified by this prospect. I can see some drawbacks. But I
believe it comes in the nick of time.

Several impending
disasters are converging on our food supply, any of which could be
catastrophic. Climate breakdown threatens to cause what scientists call “multiple breadbasket failures”, through synchronous heatwaves and other impacts. The UN forecasts that by
2050 feeding the world will require a 20% expansion in global water use. But water use is already maxed out in many
places: aquifers are vanishing, rivers are failing to reach the sea. The
glaciers that supply half the population of Asia are rapidly retreating.
Inevitable global heating – due to greenhouse gases already released – is
likely to reduce dry season rainfall in critical areas, turning fertile plains into dustbowls.

A global soil crisis threatens the very basis of our subsistence,
as great tracts of arable land lose their fertility through erosion, compaction
and contamination. Phosphate supplies, crucial for agriculture, are dwindling fast. Insectageddon threatens catastrophic pollination failures.
It is hard to see how farming can feed us all even until 2050, let alone to the
end of the century and beyond.

Food
production is ripping the living world apart. Fishing and farming are, by a
long way, the greatest cause of extinction and loss of the diversity and
abundance of wildlife. Farming is a major cause of climate breakdown, the biggest cause of river pollution and a hefty source of air pollution. Across vast tracts of the world’s surface,
it has replaced complex wild ecosystems with simplified human food chains.
Industrial fishing is driving cascading ecological collapse in seas around the
world. Eating is now a moral minefield, as almost everything we put in our mouths
– from beef to avocados, cheese to chocolate, almonds to tortilla chips, salmon
to peanut butter – has an insupportable environmental cost. But just as hope
appeared to be evaporating, the new technologies I call “farmfree food” create
astonishing possibilities to save both people and planet. 

Farmfree
food will allow us to hand back vast areas of land and sea to nature,
permitting rewilding and carbon drawdown on a massive scale. It means an end to the
exploitation of animals, an end to most deforestation, a massive reduction in
the use of pesticides and fertiliser, the end of trawlers and longliners. It’s
our best hope of stopping the Great Extermination. And, if it’s done right, it means cheap and
abundant food for everyone.

Research
by the thinktank RethinkX suggests that proteins from precision fermentation
will be around ten times cheaper than animal protein by 2035. The result, it
says, will be the near-complete collapse of the livestock industry. The new
food economy will “replace an extravagantly inefficient system that requires
enormous quantities of inputs and produces huge amounts of waste with one that
is precise, targeted, and tractable.” Using tiny areas of land, with a
massively reduced requirement for water and nutrients, it “presents the
greatest opportunity for environmental restoration in human history.”

Not only
will food be cheaper, it will also be healthier. Because farmfree foods will be
built up from simple ingredients, rather than broken down from complex ones,
allergens, hard fats and other unhealthy components can be screened out. Meat
will still be meat, though it will be grown in factories on collagen scaffolds, rather than in the bodies of animals. Starch
will still be starch, fats will still be fats. But food is likely to be better,
cheaper and much less damaging to the living planet.

It might
seem odd for someone who has spent his life calling for political change to
enthuse about a technological shift. But nowhere on earth can I see sensible
farm policies developing. Governments provide an astonishing £560 billion a
year in farm subsidies, and almost all of them are perverse and destructive,
driving deforestation, pollution and the killing of wildlife. Research by the Food and Land Use Coalition found that only 1% of the money is used to
protect the living world. It failed to find “any examples of governments using
their fiscal instruments to directly support the expansion of supply of
healthier and more nutritious food.”

Nor is the
mainstream debate about farming taking us anywhere, except towards further
catastrophe. There’s a widespread belief that the problem is intensive farming,
and the answer is extensification (producing less food per hectare). It’s true
that intensive farming is highly damaging, but extensive farming is even worse. Many people are rightly concerned about
urban sprawl. But agricultural sprawl – which covers a much wider area – is a
far greater threat to the natural world. Every hectare of land used by farming
is a hectare not used for wildlife and complex living systems.

A paper in Nature suggests that, per kilo of food produced,
extensive farming causes greater greenhouse gas emissions, soil loss, water use
and nitrogen and phosphate pollution than intensive farming. If everyone ate
pasture-fed meat, we would need several new planets on which to produce it.

Farmfree
production promises a far more stable and reliable food supply, that can be
grown anywhere, even in countries without farmland. It could be crucial to
ending world hunger. But there is a hitch: a clash between consumer and
producer interests. Many millions of people, working in farming and food
processing, will eventually lose their jobs. Because the new processes are so
efficient, the employment they create won’t match the employment they destroy.

RethinkX
envisages an extremely rapid “death spiral” in the livestock industry. Only a few
components, such as the milk proteins casein and whey, need to be produced
through fermentation for profit margins across an entire sector to collapse.
Dairy farming in the United States, it claims, will be “all but bankrupt by
2030”. It believes that the US beef industry’s revenues will fall 90% by 2035.

While I doubt the collapse will be quite that fast, in one respect the thinktank underestimates the scale of the transformation. It fails to mention the extraordinary shift taking place in feedstock production, of the kind pioneered in Helsinki. This is likely to hit arable farming as hard as cultured milk and meat production will hit livestock farming. Solar Foods could reach cost parity with the world’s cheapest form of protein (soya from South America) within five years.

Instead of
pumping ever more subsidies into a dying industry, governments should be
investing in a crash programme to help farmers into other forms of employment,
while providing relief funds for those who will suddenly lose their
livelihoods.

Another
hazard is the potential concentration of the farmfree food industry. We should
strongly oppose the patenting of key technologies, to ensure the widest
possible distribution of ownership. If governments regulate this properly, they
could break the hegemony of the massive companies that now control global food commodities. If they don’t, they could reinforce it. In
this sector, as in all others, we need strong anti-trust laws. We must also
ensure that the new foods always have lower carbon footprints than the old
ones: farmfree producers should power their operations entirely from low-carbon
sources. This is a time of momentous choices, and we should make them together.

We can’t
afford to wait passively for technology to save us. Over the next few years, we
could lose almost everything, as magnificent habitats such as the rainforests
of Madagascar, West Papua and Brazil are felled to produce cattle, soya or palm
oil. By temporarily shifting towards a plant-based diet with the lowest
possible impacts (no avocados or out-of-season asparagus), we can help buy the
necessary time to save magnificent species and places, while the new
technologies mature. But farmfree food offers hope where hope was missing. We
will soon be able to feed the world without devouring it.

George Monbiot’s film Apocalypse Cow is free to view on Channel 4

Happy New Year! Sherry Wine Cheese Spread (1980)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/01/2020 - 7:34am in

Tags 

Food, restaurants

So back in 2019 (one week ago) I was invited to a New Year’s Eve party at the home of some of Mr. Sauce’s dear college friends. Me, being me, I always have to bring something to a party–and if it’s a dish from my collection of cookbooks, that’s even better. But what to choose?Continue reading Happy New Year! Sherry Wine Cheese Spread (1980) →

Tories Pushing Children into Poverty and Stripping Them of Their Rights

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 05/01/2020 - 1:03am in

Yesterday Mike commented on a piece in the Independent, which reported that, thanks to the Tories, Britain had been declared ‘inadequate’ in its protection of children’s right. Britain has now fallen from 11th to 156th place in the global rankings for children’s rights. It’s now in the bottom lowest ten performers after getting the lowest possible score in all six indicators in the Children’s Rights Environment, according to KidsRights Index 2017.

There are serious concerns about structural discrimination in the UK, particularly against Muslims following recent anti-terrorism measure, and against Gypsy and immigrant children.

I’ve already put up some stats on how the Tories’ vile austerity policy has pushed more families and children into ‘food poverty’ – meaning hunger, potential malnutrition and starvation. But the book also worries about the social impact hunger has on people. Families can no longer afford to families and friends around to share a meal, and this is raising concerns that this will also increase the social isolation of the families affected.

Rebecca O’Connell and Laura Hamilton write in their chapter on food poverty in Vickie Cooper’s and David Whyte’s The Violence of Austerity

However, evidence from the PSE UK suggests that 11 per cent of households could not afford to have friends or family around for a meal or drink at least once a month in 2012 compared to 6 per cent in 1999. Furthermore, the proportion who could not afford to have a friend’s child around for tea or snack once a fortnight doubled between 1999 and 2012, from 4 per cent to 8 per cent, representing 1,000,000 children. ~Given that social relationships between children and their peers are an integral aspect of their development and well-being, the consequences are likely to be highly damaging and include increasing social exclusion and societal fragmentation. (p.97)

If ethnic minority families are particularly affected, then this will increase their exclusion and alienation from mainstream society, and could lead to some becoming dangerously radicalised. And their could be a similar effect among poor Whites, who may believe that Black and Asian families are being far better treated because of their colour through positive discrimination policies. Increasing poverty and the removal of anti-discrimination legislation and safeguards is a recipe for increasing racial tension.

Joanna Mack in her chapter on maltreatment and child mortality in the above book also gives the stats on how Britain compares with some of the other European countries: it’s abysmal. She writes

The consequences of such reductions in income is that the UK, which has long had a poor record on child poverty compared to many other nations with similar levels of economic development, has slipped further behind. Eurostat, which gathers comprehensive data from across Europe, reports that in 2014 over 22 per cent of children in the UK lived in deprived households, taken as being unable to afford three or more of a range of household items, compared to 14 per cent in France, around 12 per cent in Germany and a mere 4 per cent in Norway and Sweden. In 2007, before the austerity years, the UK’s rate was 15 per cent well below the EU average – now it is above. (p.87).

She also reports that the increase in child poverty in the UK was of such concern to the UN that it called for the reintroduction of the targets for the reduction of child poverty, which the government had repealed in 2016, and for ‘the provision ‘for clear and accountable mechanisms for the eradication of child poverty’ and the revision of recent benefit reforms.’ (p. 85).

Mike was so angry about this catastrophic reduction in Britain’s status for respecting children’s rights that he urged his readers to tell people who voted Tory about it, and that thanks to their vote, Britain will continue to fail future generations. He also urged them to ask the following questions

And tell them that discrimination against children on racial or religious grounds has been incorporated into the structure of UK society under the Conservatives.

Ask them whether they consider themselves to be racists and, if not, why they support a racist administration.

And if they say they don’t, remind them that prime minister Boris Johnson is a known racist.

Point them to the anti-Semitism in his novel if they want proof beyond his Islamophobic comments and other recent outbursts.

UK plummets from 11th to 156th in global children’s rights rankings. The Tories are responsible

Britain is becoming more racist, and its children poorer, thanks to the Tories. And it’s all so that the 1 per cent, including Bozo, Rees-Mogg and the rest of them, can get richer.

Ambivalent Jack Pancake Mix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/01/2020 - 12:32am in

Tags 

Food

Hunger and Starvation in Tory Britain

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/01/2020 - 9:23pm in

The Tory governments that came in after David Cameron’s victory in the 2010 election have caused massive poverty up and down Britain. Thanks to austerity, welfare benefits have been cut, wages kept low and workers placed on exploitative contracts, like zero hours contracts, which deny them sick pay, paid holidays and other rights. An ever increasing number of people are unable to pay for food, with the disabled and unemployed forced to use food banks to keep body and soul together after being found fit for work, sanctioned, or simply because they have to wait weeks before their first benefits payment. Vickie Cooper’s and David Whyte’s The Violence of Austerity gives some statistics on rising ‘food poverty’, and they’re horrifying.

In the chapter ‘Hunger and Food Poverty’, Rebecca O’Connell and Laura Hamilton state

Emergency food provision has been used as an indicator of the scale of food poverty in the UK. As the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty noted in 2015, the Trussell Trust, the largest emergency food provider, ‘has seen the number of people referred for emergency food rise by 38 per cent in the last year’. Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty calculate that 20,247,042 meals were given to ‘people in food poverty’ in 2013/14.’ While these are shocking statistics, they are likely to underestimate the numbers in food poverty in Britain; not all people who are hungry go to food banks and not all food banks collect data in a systematic way. The Poverty and Social Exclusion UK (PSE UK) 2012 study found that the proportion of households unable to afford two adult meals a day in 2012 stood 3 per cent, ‘back to levels found thirty years earlier having to dropped to negligible levels in the intervening period.’ In addition, well over half a million children live in families who cannot afford to fee them properly, that is, provide at least one of the following three meals a day; fresh fruit and vegetables every day; or meat, fish or a vegetarian equivalent at least once a day. If many parents were not cutting back on their own food intake to protect their children, the number would be much higher… (pp.94-5).

Analysis by the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs shows that falling incomes and rising living costs mean that food is now over 20 per cent less affordable for the poorest 10 per cent of people in the UK compared to 2003. In 2012, when the proportion of the household budget spent on food peaked in the UK, those in the lowest income decile spent 22 per cent more on food than in 2007 and purchased 5.7 per cent less, buying significantly fewer portions of fruit and vegetables than previously. Further, the number of UK adults who have reported being unable to afford meat, fish or vegetarian equivalent every other day (a measure of adequate protein in the diet) has increased between 2004 and 2012, that is, in the context of economic austerity and rising food prices. The PSE UK study noted above found that the proportion of adults going without meat or equivalent every second day  because they could not afford it rose from 2 per cent in 1999 to 5 per cent in 2012. In addition, 3 per cent of children went without adequate protein and the same proportion did not eat fresh fruit or vegetables every day because their families could not afford it. Reduced affordability of food therefore generally leads to a reduction in nutrient quality of food consumed and, in a growing number of cases, to hunger and reliance on emergency food provision. (pp.95-6).

This is a crisis of enormous proportions, and it is going to get worse. Much worse. Boris will continue and expand the policies forcing people into such desperate poverty. But yesterday the wretched Tory press were telling the world that he would bring in a golden age of prosperity. Which he will, for the profiteers at the top of the corporate ladder and the hedge fund managers that contribute so handsomely to Tory coffers.

But to pay for that, the rest of the country will be forced into grinding poverty. While the newspapers lie to them that there’s not alternative and they’re richer than ever before.

Spangler’s Circus Peanut Salad (1976)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 31/12/2019 - 12:53am in

Tags 

1970s, Food

Greetings and salutations! It’s been a while since I’ve unmolded something for the blog. And I angered a lot of people with my Jell-O fail on Christmas Eve:   View this post on Instagram   Will it work? Does it matter? #tada #surprise #jello #jellomold #fail #merrychristmas #christmas #twinpeaks #damnfine #feastofthesevenfishes #xmasdinner A post sharedContinue reading Spangler’s Circus Peanut Salad (1976) →

The Right to Healthy Food: Poisoned with Pesticides

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 27/12/2019 - 3:00am in

Colin Todhunter Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has just written an open letter addressed to three senior officials in Britain: John Gardiner, Under Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the British government; Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England; and Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary at the Department of …

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