The year in food


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Matthew Fort
Saturday December 31, 2005
The Guardian
Is any part of our lives safe from food attack these days? However little people may cook, food and drink have entered popular consciousness and are central to our present obsessions: there's food as health, food as politics, food as celebrity and food as business.
Unusually, food scandals have had a thin time of it this past year. Only the Sudan 1 business in February, when the toxic dye found its way into some processed food products, Worcestershire sauce among them, really caught the eye. There was more fun to be had elsewhere: the foie gras hoo-ha early in the year, when a debate among US chefs about the morality of the delicacy swiftly degenerated into name-calling; the March assault with a stick of rhubarb in North Yorkshire that led to an Asbo; the Gloucestershire health and safety officers who in April stopped the distribution of free napkins to the elderly in case they ate them; and the debut in Sainsbury's of the stoneless avocado. And who could forget Jacques Chirac's charmingly undiplomatic aside about the British: "You can't trust people who cook as badly as that." Ah, yes, people such as those who cook at the Fat Duck, which in April was declared the best restaurant in the world. Two other British restaurants made the Top 10 - rather more than French ones, then.
Although more people are now entertaining at home than ever, we're spending less time preparing food - 13 minutes a day, compared with 60 in the 1980s. That gives us the freedom to spend more time in restaurants. And with 133 restaurants opening in London alone in 2005, our taste for eating out shows no sign of abating. Naturally, not all restaurants captured that taste, or at least not enough to satisfy the accountant's rule: Isola, East@West, Thyme, Osia and Putney Bridge all passed into the vault of restaurant history this year.
And what would we have to talk about if it weren't for the activities of our celebrity chefs, Messrs Oliver and Ramsay pre-eminent among them? Gordon Ramsay, especially, has been ubiquitous: there was hardly a media opportunity that was not enlivened by his charismatic charm and command of the language of Shakespeare.
Jamie Oliver's TV series about school food, meanwhile, generated more interest than decades of thundering from food worthies. But just in case anyone thinks the war is won, bear in mind that the introduction of Oliver-inspired menu planning resulted in an initial 20% decline in the take-up of school meals, with some parents complaining that their children were coming home hungry. Let them, I say: eating less rubbish for a few days won't harm them.
Mind you, it's not surprising kids have confused notions about food. A Mintel report found that 33% of parents take little or no interest in their children's eating habits, and 50% don't seem to worry about their diet. Children, though, are clued up: 33% said they often try to lose weight, and a heart-stopping 30% sometimes feel guilty about eating.
But if adults felt guilty, you'd not know it: last year, we spent £12.3bn on snacks while on the move, an average of £204 a person, making us the snack champions of Europe. Six out of 10 Britons do not eat the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, with 28% thinking five servings excessive.
The big debate as far as drink is concerned is how much time we should devote to it. As usual, we are out of step with the rest of Europe: while booze consumption in France fell by 6% between 1999 and 2004 and in Germany by 8%, in Britain it increased by 5%. So, yes, we are a nation of pissheads - as we always have been; it doesn't matter if pubs open for four hours a day or 24.
But all is not lost - porridge is reclaiming its place on our breakfast tables, although it is in the form of instant porridge, or porridge presto. Better still, pie sales soared by 26% in 2005. Forget about letting them eat cake - or fruit and veg, come to that. It's pies we want.

abate- osłabiać, słabnąć, zmniejszać
assault- zamach
bear in mind- pamiętać, nie zapominać, mieć w pamięci
booze- alkohol
capture- złapać, uchwycić
catch the eye- przyciągać uwagę
clued up- dobrze poinformowany
consciousness- świadomość
excessive- nadmierny
foie gras- pasztet z gęsich wątróbek
have a thin time- przechodzic trudny okres
hoo-ha- zamieszanie, awantura
notion- pojęcie
pisshead- pijak, pijaczyna
pre-eminent- wybitny
reclaim- odzyskiwać
rhubarb- rabarbar
soar- wzrastać
stoneless- bezpestkowy
swiftly- prędko
thunder- grzmieć, rzucać gromy; bić brawo
ubiquitous- wszechobecny


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