Loathe as I am to go on one of my rants about cheap food in Ireland; the commentary in media, both classical (radio/television/print) and social has me on my high horse. Cheap food in Ireland, at what price?
I love blogging, I love talking about food, I love cooking good food and yes I do it on a budget. That’s what this site is all about.
hate detest the following attitudes and these are my reasons why:
You buy cheap crap food what do you expect?
If I were to buy food with a label saying it contained beef, I’d expect it to contain beef. This food was mislabelled. Imagine if your organic chicken was actually a battery chicken? Despite both being similar products and perfectly edible, I’m pretty sure you’d be upset if you paid for one and discovered another.
We should have some sort of social initiative to teach people proper food skills.
Great idea. Would “we” like to start one? I certainly would, but being a
stuck stay at home mother to 2 small children, living on a tight budget, I might have the knowledge to organise things but time and money are in short supply, including childcare. In the meantime I’ll have to make do with sharing my know-how on the internet. What would you do? Where would you start? With children? See below….
Bring in Home Economics as a compulsory subject in schools for all pupils.
Between different programmes in schools and Bord Bia initiatives such as the brilliant FoodDudes there are a number of schemes to introduce children to good food. I would far rather see a more practical and hands on lifeskills learning in school to include growing your own food, cooking from scratch (properly), household management, childcare, study skills, and budgeting.
Regardless what about the children who are nearly finished school? What about the parents who are lacking skills right now?
It’s cheaper to cook good food from scratch than it is to buy convenience foods.
No it’s ruddy not.
It takes a considerable amount of time, effort and energy to cook from scratch. You also need to know what you’re doing. When faced with a meat pie in the local supermarket which cooks in 25 minutes and contains 505 calories, or making your own which takes approximately 2 hours (if you’re a decent home cook), costs more, requires several food skills, and you have very little time in the first place, what would you do?
Organising your life around decent food for your family when you’re working fulltime is hard work, just ask Bumbles of Rice. I struggle with it sometimes and I’m at home all the time, albeit busy with several other projects. Some days I spend 30% of my day just cooking food for the family, nevermind the extra time photographing and blogging.
I already spoke
a little a lot about this in my Wholesome Bites last Friday:
Let’s take the Horse/Mislabelled burgers and give them to those in need.
Faced with the choice would you eat them yourself? Instead let’s make them available at a discount to anybody who wants to buy them, rather than making them there just for charity.
If the consumer didn’t look for cheap food then we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.
I hope the person who makes this statement is feeling comfortable up in their ivory tower. Very few people set out to buy crap or cheap food. To quote a proverb “you cut your cloth”, and if that cloth is cut to the thread then you do what you can with what’s left. The demand for cut-price food is due to a combination/balancing act of:
- Grocery budgets being driven downwards by less and less spending money after essential bills are paid for.
- Lack of food knowledge and ability to cook from scratch.
- Time poverty.
Fellow food blogger & new to me, North South Food wrote an outstanding piece in the Observer Food Monthly yesterday on how difficult it is to feed yourself well on a budget.
The Frontline on RTÉ1 tonight will cover the cost of cheap food with a distinguished panel of experts; Darina Allen, Professor Patrick Wall, Minister Simon Coveney and Conor Pope. I will record it and watch it tomorrow but I suspect they may not spend a lot of time on the real reason for the demand for cheap food in Ireland. If they do I will happily amend this blog post to reflect the coverage.
In the meantime I’m off to watch the special edition Great British Bake Off Series as I have a minor addiction to all things baked and frankly I need cheering up. Honestly the media (social and traditional) coverage of cheap food and the attitudes have me very depressed.
Were it not for North South Food’s fantastic article yesterday, and some very much appreciated support from the lovely Trish Deseine, my blogging mood would be in my boots.
These are not just “some people” who are eking out their food-lives on a budget, they are your friends, neighbours and quite possibly your family members. A little bit of empathy and thought would not go astray for many.
Cheap food in Ireland, at what price?