Toby wrote:What surprises me is that many ethnic minorities come to Britain and other countries and they don't have the catastrophic problems with food that we do. I've just finished James Fergusson's book "Al-Britannia", in which he travels across Britain to visit muslim communities. He provides a number of examples where Muslim charity in the community often comes in the form of free food given out at Mosques and community centres, and in the majority of cases it is not other muslims taking advantage of this, it is poor white people.
I don't want to make too broad an assertion for all ethnic minorities, but I'm sure that on the whole, ethnic communities bound by religious observance usually have tighter family structures (and yes, I'm sure there are problems associated with that as well) and as such are more likely to have food "knowledge" and "culture" pass through the generations more freely. I know you'll probably all scoff at Anthony Daniels (aka Theodore Dalyrymple - notorious right-wing commentator) but in his time as a prison doctor he has noted that he met far too many people who had never sat down at a table to eat in their lives, that convenience food (ie that could be cooked in a microwave) was destroying for children the discipline of eating at set times and the accumulation of behaviour through manners, led to the loss of the kitchen as the central node of family life as someone prepared food etc etc. In virtually all cases these people were white.
I'm fully aware that many people do not have access to these things all the time. Time is a significant factor. Amongst our circle of friends with children of the same age, we are the only ones that eat pretty much every day around the table together. Many have jobs that mean that they don't get home in time or whatever to see their children, or that they decide to eat separately to their children, who are fed earlier and put to bed. Some people just can't be arsed with cooking, especially when their children are fussy or whatever, and you have to end up making separate meals for them just so that you can avoid the battleground that it can be with little ones. All these behaviours are understandable.
We live complex lives, but are also assaulted day and night by people trying to sell us things that might make our lives a little easier, convenient or whatever. At the same time though, food is, whatever you think of it, something essential and we owe it to ourselves and to future generations to celebrate it and pass down that invaluable knowledge.
Dalrymple made the right observations, but came to the wrong conclusions; a process that people on the (far) right often are susceptible to.
He suffers from this awful faux
nostalgia, and has this 'Mum knew what's best for me (and all of you, by extension)' obsession.
IMHO it's absolutely no coincidence that his pen name is so Dickensian.