In It’s News To Me I share some food news stories and podcasts that I find interesting. Hope you do too.
Like most of you, I suspect, I’m caught up in the rounds of Christmas preparation and celebration, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for contemplation. However, I’ve been saving up a few links to interesting articles and podcasts that I’ve found around the place for my It’s News To Me collection and I intend to spend some very quiet time over the holiday break lying around, absorbing information while resting. I’m a woman – we multitask. If the thought of cricket is just too much for you to bear, you might like to listen to or read some of the following.
You’ve probably all heard my views on fad diets. With the exception of vegetarianism and specific diagnosed dietary restrictions, as far as I’m concerned any diet which excludes entire food groups is dubious and of questionable value. And some people just take these things waaay too far – like this crazy old coot who decided that a diet limited to just coconut was a great way to go. True story.
There are some things that we all simply take for granted in our kitchens – like salt and pepper. However, in medieval times, fortunes rose and fell on the spice trade and much of the wealth and beauty of Venice was built on the trade of pepper. At one stage it was worth a week’s wages and having plenty of it was an attribute of wealth and rank.
I’m no science geek, but I am constantly amazed at what science can do and show us. British researchers working near the site of Stonehenge have been studying pottery fragments and recovered bone scraps and, from these, have been able to work out what was eaten and how it was cooked at the site 4,500 years ago. Amazing.
Some medical conditions and chemotherapy can interfere with our perception of the taste of food, negatively impacting on our appetites and quality of life – seriously the last thing you need when you are ill. I’d never heard of it before, but neurogastronomy is a growing field which aims to address and better understand how people experience flavour in order to assist those whose enjoyment is compromised.
Livelihoods hinge on the words of some (too?) powerful food critics. And do they ever really get an authentic experience when …”Anyone who tells you they’re never recognized after doing this job for two or three years is lying.”? This one has reduced chefs to tears.
One of my favourite sources for great food-related podcasts is the BBC World Service program The Food Chain. They have been featuring stories relating to the difficulties around food during the current Syrian refugee crisis and this story looks at the challenges of finding the next meal for refugees on the road. The next time one of my kids complains that there’s nothing around here to eat I’ll slap them.
Another favourite source of food news for me is the Gastropod podcasts, which I subscribe to. The Bitter Truth, about bitterness, how important it is and how it is being manipulated out of our diet particularly appealed – especially as the author of “Bitter” Jennifer McLagan will be here in Adelaide in March for one of my favourite times of the year, Adelaide Writers Week.
And finally – last month I was very flattered to be interviewed by Food Blog Radio, a US site that creates podcast interviews of food blogs from all around the world. Have a listen to my interview here where I chat about my take on food and travel blogging with the delightful Sarah and Gary.