In the boom years, food became Flash Paddy s greatest status symbol. We loved to eat out, yet at the same time, the majority of us continued to throw a pre-cooked chicken and bagged salad into the trolley at the supermarket. Why? Why did food and where it came from matter so little?When did the nation that was married to the land lose its inner culchie?In our recent past fIn the boom years, food became Flash Paddy s greatest status symbol. We loved to eat out, yet at the same time, the majority of us continued to throw a pre-cooked chicken and bagged salad into the trolley at the supermarket. Why? Why did food and where it came from matter so little?When did the nation that was married to the land lose its inner culchie?In our recent past food and eating were one of the ways in which we redefined ourselves. The spud went out the window. In came prosciutto and sushi. Irish cooking and Irish chefs flourished but the land it was produced on became something we didn t want to know about wellies were for music festivals. Our connection with countryside and growing food disintegrated. We failed to relate what was on our plate to how we lived.This is the first book in Ireland to talk about where food really comes from, who decides what we buy and why what we eat says so much about us. It encompasses everything from take away pizza to Irish farmhouse cheese and everything in between: the land, the farmers, producers, suppliers and supermarkets. The authors argue that in our rush to become urban, cosmopolitan and economically progressive, we have forgotten about what we are really good at. Food and farming have been good servants to Ireland they could be something that make us truly great. Basket Case examines the seismic shifts taking place in this country and asks if we ve lost touch with one of the few things we did better than everybody else.Can food, farming and finding our inner culchie save Flash Paddy from himself?"...
|Title||:||Basket Case: What's Happening To Ireland's Food?|
|Number of Pages||:||273 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Basket Case: What's Happening To Ireland's Food? Reviews
I've read some horror and thrillers in my time that gave me restless nights, nothing like this.Like AnnaOok on Librarything I had issues with some of the sweeping generalities of this book and it mostly gets the stars for making me think about the issues at hand.My father was a teacher and the son of a farmer. Around us was the family farm and I once (when my uncle was very ill) had to fill out the complex forms required of farmers for one of the payments he was entitled to. I also grew up with a lot of homegrown food, parents who usually shopped in smaller shops and still mostly do. I also live in Dublin, have no car, have a Lidl and Eurospar close, have to deal with Gluten-Free issues and that's been an eyeopener.When you live gluten-free you learn how to read labels, obsessively. Unless it has a magic Gluten-Free label on front you can't trust it to be safe and sometimes the laundry list of ingredients have made me put things back. This made me think more about my choices and for that it gets 4 stars. I lost sleep last night about some of the issues it raised.I was annoyed at the generalisations, apparently everyone can easily get to farmer's markets, there's no mentions of CSAs or food deliveries. No real solutions offered, only questions. No real how to deal with a dwindling budget, a situation where you're spending the bulk of your income on a mortgage on a property that has lost value. Where you never really spent huge amounts on the trivial stuff he talks about, but still find yourself trying to balance the books in your favour.Food labelling in Ireland is a mess, farming is a mess and it all needs fixing, this book asks a lot of questions, gives very few answers and lost me some sleep thinking about it.
While there is no date inside the cover, the statistics quoted are mainly from 2008 and the latest is February 2009, towards the end of the book. The last couple of chapters contain a useful illuminatory story about mushroom farming in Ireland, which the RTE team looked into on behalf of all of us. Among other things they found that underpaid workers were being ordered to dose mushrooms with chemicals to stop them from getting spots. These chemicals were bad for the workers' skin and respiratory systems. However, soon after this was exposed, the farm closed down and other farms were not being tested. The team learned that eleven mushrooms out of the whole country's crop are tested annually, those selected by wholesalers. A pork feedstuff contamination is mentioned but Chernobyl, which meant that an entire year of Irish lamb could not be used, is not mentioned. BSE is mentioned and foot and mouth, but clearly this was written before the horsemeat DNA turned up in every kind of meat product. While this is the kind of chapter that we expect to see in a book of this nature, there really is no more to be found. The authors have decided to fill up the entire first two-thirds of the book with satirical or nostalgic ramblings about the old days, when city never met country. The pretext is that food used to be made differently then, as it did, but a few paragraphs or at most a chapter would have sufficed to explain the cultural paradigms. The truths not mentioned in this book are that the best meat always got exported, the second best went to catering trade, and the rest was for housewives. The only fruits to be found in shops during 1970s were apples, oranges and bananas. Potatoes came in plastic bags; they were covered in muck, had to be peeled, and sometimes were more muck and stones than spuds. Unless you bought imports, which were clean. Irish cheese came as Galtee or Calvita, both of which were like eating plastic. I loved cauliflower but hated cheese. I refused to eat Blue Band margarine on the basis that I knew what was in butter but Blue Band had no ingredients listing so might be made of axle grease. (Turned out to be hydrogenated fat at the very least.) Nor are we told that when the EU ordered that nobody was to lift more than 20 kilos, the 25 kilo bags of potatoes changed overnight to 20 kilo bags but the price did not drop. On the road to where we are now, the authors continually tell us that everyone went mad spending, everyone used all the cheap credit they could get, everyone bought instant food and processed meals, everyone bought designer handbags, everyone watched celebrity chef programmes daily, nobody cared how their eggs were produced.Actually they couldn't be more wrong. If the only people you ever meet are arty media people, you think the world is like that. You see farmers having to borrow to meet EU requirements and colleagues changing cars and eating out, and you think the world is living it up in the Celtic Tiger. No, we weren't. Some of us bought a chicken to cook once a year, for Christmas, and drank wine that day only. I could not afford free range eggs and would not buy battery ones, so I did not eat eggs. I read books rather than pay for cable TV. My food budget was a pound a day because the rent was high, I was saving for a mortgage, and the van loan had to be repaid; after which loan ended, I drove that van for a decade until it would not pass another road safety test. I later warned others that house prices bore no relation to reality anymore, and that high-end jobs were being sent to India and East Europe, that the economy had been visibly in a state of collapse worldwide since September twelfth 2001, which was universally used as 'a good day to bury bad news' by major firms all around the world. If nobody listened, including pollsters, that was up to them.You see how far this is from finding out what is in your food. Supermarkets expanding on the edges of towns are blamed for a loss of shops and jobs; the status of women is mentioned briefly as being low (farm daughters treated as labour, a wife unable to open a bank account alone) but no credit is given to the actual cause of the change of the status of women. Once women no longer had to marry young, but could know they were not going to have a child a year, could continue working in a civil service job when they married, they were no longer chained to a kitchen from the age of seventeen. Of course food was going to change. They didn't have to buy the cheapest food to feed nine people and slave at making their own bread. They had energy. They had other things to do, like work, college, driving children to classes, leading a life. I recommend reading 'The Days Of The Servant Boy' by Liam O'Donnell to cover farm life when farmers grew their food using the manure from their cows. Read 'Salt Sugar Fat' by Michael Moss to cover modern processed foods. And just the last couple of chapters of 'Basket Case'. We deserve a better look at Ireland's food.
I am really enjoying this book. I love that it is informative and factual but I also love the tongue in cheek comments and sarcasm . It is a refreshing and honest approach.