Today I promised myself, and Twitter, that I would publish a post. See, a ridiculous amount of time has passed since my last post and I need to get back in the swing of things. Because I do enjoy writing and I do enjoy this blog… and I am on a mission to have a #Happy2015.
So, I thought it would be quite fitting to write a post about happiness – something quite vague, a bit waffly and easy going – something to ease me gently back into this ‘ere blogging lark. And, a couple of days ago, I got an idea for the perfect post. @EatSocialShef had tweeted a few Sheffield foodies asking us what our food happy was. I must admit that I really struggled to answer the question – so many things make me food happy and I cannot condense them all down into a 140 character reply. But it did strike me that it would be an interesting topic for a blogpost… even if it’s one that will continue to evolve… and I will be adding to the list over the next few weeks.
PLATES (NOT SLATES)
The fact that this still an issue is beyond me. Sure, they may have been cool in 2003, but now slates are just chuffing annoying (and some would say they weren’t that cool in 2003 either). Nobody can deny that they’re horrible and impractical to eat from (surely???) and the sooner we stop seeing them in restaurants, the better. The same goes for wooden chopping boards (hygiene is more important than presentation in my book…), shopping trolleys (yes seriously) and jam jars (you think I want to drink my £9 cocktail out of an f-ing jam jar?). Controversially I don’t mind enamel…
A BIG WINE GLASS
Not because I want to fill it to the top and guzzle it down my neck, but because I really like smart glassware and I like long stems. I also like to swirl my wine and shove my nose into it (I’m generally playing rather than doing any serious wine tasting mind..) – both of which are impossible with one of those tiny wine glasses that always make me think of British Italian restaurants…
British Italian, Chinese and Indian restaurants make me want to lock myself away and cry for an eternity. It’s crap and there’s no need to fob us off with the fake stuff any more – just because we eat a lot of meat and potatoes doesn’t mean we can’t handle your cuisine too.
CRISPY THIN PIZZA AND AL DENTE PASTA
Because life is way too short (and my stomach is way too small) for doughy pizza. And pasta should be cooked to the point that it still has a few white flecks of raw pasta in it on biting. In my opinion anyway…
HIGH WELFARE MEAT – ESPECIALLY CHICKEN
If we are going to raise animals, slaughter them and eat them, the least we can do is ensure they’ve had a half decent life. Non free range chicken makes me particularly angry. Most of us demand free range eggs, but when it comes to the chick itself, we baulk at paying a few extra quid. A fine example of this is the bog standard supermarket chicken and salad sandwich which boasts that it has mayonnaise made with free range egg, but mentions nothing about the welfare of the poor dead chicken that’s in there. Our lack of concern for the chicken in our sandwiches means that cafes and restaurants don’t seem to bother to care either…
But it isn’t just chicken that I have issues with – a lot of the pork sold in supermarkets isn’t British. This means that the pigs have been raised in conditions that could be found illegal in the UK. And I’m not saying that British regulations demand high welfare, but conditions are better here than they are in the majority of Europe. Not that we seem to be particularly bothered when it comes to buying bacon… I went to one supermarket the other week and of the four wide shelves of bacon, only four products were actually British. The rest was Danish. Oh and watch out for the ham, sausages and pork pies that are made in the UK using EU pork – I bet half of them have British flags on the label too.
With stupidly confusing labels it can be incredibly difficult to eat high welfare all the time, and I ain’t no angel, but I do try! And why do I try? Because I feel physically sick at the thought of eating a non-free range chicken or an EU pig.
So to keep me food happy, I generally don’t eat chicken* when I go out and I only eat pork, lamb and beef that bears the red tractor stamp with the British flag on it**. Better still I buy the local and high welfare meat I work with at Mr Pickles’.
* Having said that the Milestone group (which includes Craft & Dough, Fancie, Wig & Pen as well as Milestone), Losehill House Hotel and Urban Quarter have all confirmed that they only serve free range chicken. There will be others – please let me know if you know of any!
** I think the majority of places I eat at use British pork, beef and lamb in their kitchen.
Now then, what makes you food happy?