Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Austerity Foodie Revolution (unedited): South Shropshire Journal 12/413

We know what happened when Lehman Brothers went kaput in 2008: They all went tumbling down and took the rest of them too. MPs, coppers, journos, the lot. All in a oner. Five years later you can’t pay a cheque in over the counter without cocking a snook at the teller behind the Plexiglas. Who can you trust?

They owe us big time those bunch of bankers, but on the plus side we got the Austerity Foodie Revolution (AFR). The AFR digs for victory, makes do and mends, keeps calm and carries on, just like Granny and Gramps had to in the war. But they actually had to because their house had been smashed to bits by the Luftwaffe and they were properly, old-fashioned skint and scared. If they didn’t turn their dahlias over to mangolds the war-ag would’ve had them in front of the firing squad, and their daughters handed over to Yank airmen.

For us however, the AFR means that we can go back to a time when Englishers wore smocks and big hats and didn’t have a care in the world (apart from bad teeth, high infant mortality rates, and the death penalty for apple scrumpin’). The 2013 AFR is biodynamic pigs in your garden to save money on lard, growing potatoes in old tyres (Sustainability? Check!) and buying eggs from the bloke who actually laid them at the farmers’ market.

The AFR makes people more aware of how they spend their money, what they spend it on, and who the profit goes to. This is tremendously commendable, but the poor kids are still eating rubbish.

Marie Antoinette had Le Petit Hameau - a mock-up farmstead - built in the grounds of the palace of La Versailles. There she could play the shepherdess and hang out with agricultural types whilst the proles starved on the other side of the palace fence. SUCH FUN!

I’m just saying.

So, the Austerity Foodie Revolutionists would love to tell you that this isn’t a class thing, and they may be right. Fred down the road grows his own tomatoes, and Iris next door takes a half pound of tripe from the butcher every week – and they’re as working class as Cheryl Cole. But there’s a skipped generation. Could it be that the here-and-now children who don’t care about what they eat have parents who don’t care about what they eat? How is it that the old-fashioned ways of growing, rearing, and buying food have become whimsy for the moneyed and utterly uninteresting for those without?

A lot of the fluffy stuff sought by the AFR is unattainable, and in global terms unsustainable. But much of it isn’t. Food for thought? After all, that’s why I’m here.

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