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Friday, April 6

Our Food: A New BBC 2 Series

Our Food is a nw 4-part BBC series celebrating food in Great Britain, and the people responsible for its production. Sadly, while I am wildly interested in this topic, the series is not available in the U.S.

Alex Langlands, one of the presenters of Our Food writes in BBCs blog:
before the Industrial Revolution the overwhelming majority of people in this country worked in a rural setting where their lives were intimately bound up with the production of one thing - food. So as an archaeologist you're never far from studying that which we have eaten and its centrality to our island's history.
Alex with turnips

About sheepfarming in Wales, he writes:
Carving out a living in this harsh environment is all about working with the conditions - not against them - and the idea that sheep can be 'hefted' to the hills fascinates me.
A 'hefted' flock is a flock that knows their patch of the hillside and knows where to be and when. So much so that when the farmer comes to round them up all he needs is a dog and a whistle and the ancient knowledge passed down from generation to generation of sheep kicks in.
Lucy Worsley with fresh oysters
Another presenter, Lucy Worsley, writes about the second episode of the series in The Telegraph:
I learnt that in 16th-century England, only the high in status and deep of pocket ate roast meat. It was vastly expensive: you needed a deer park, a lot of fuel, and lots of servants to turn the spit over the fire. But the pleasure of a soft melting mouthful of roast meat was so powerful that it still survives in our language today: we talk about a “Sunday roast” even when referring to meat that technically has been baked in an oven.

Those lower down the Tudor chain ate an awful lot of pottage, the kind of perpetual soup cooked over the fire in an iron pot (hence its name). Pottage could be kept bubbling away for day after day, topped up with whatever vegetables or peas could be scavenged. That’s why the song goes, “Pease pudding hot, pease pudding cold, pease pudding in the pot [sometimes literally] nine days old.”

The advantage of cooking food into sludge is that it makes it microbiologically safe, and the low cooking temperature optimises fuel consumption. Like driving your car at 60 miles an hour on the motorway, cooking your peasant’s pottage at “a slow burp” is very efficient.
Viewers in the UK will be able to catch Our Food on iPlayer until Wednesday, 2 May. Lucky viewers.


Nonna said...

From what I have heard, food in Great Britain is not that great. Everyone I have known who visited there didn't like any of it...but the series looks interesting,thanks !

TONY said...

Ah Nonna, so you are not tempted by fish and chips, cottage pie, shepherds pie,steak and kidney pie, bangers and mash, cheese on toast, a traditional English Sunday dinner such as roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, brazed carrots, shredded cabbage and covered in a nice beef stock gravy, black puddings, white puddings, liver and onions, toasted crumpets, toasted muffins, then???. You could finish off the above with apple pie and custard, jelly and ice cream.

I suppose you could always go and eat at McDonalds, Burger King or KFC instead. We are multitcultural here you know, so you could choose your favourite food from anywhere in the world.

Nonna, enjoy your dinner today!!!!

All the best,

Vic said...

I love Bubble and Squeak, bangers and mash, fish and chips, and Shepherd's Pie. And there's nothing like a nice ale to wash down a nice artery clogging Scotch Egg.

TONY said...

I can empathise with Nonna in a way. We all suffer from believing in cliches. The reputation for the poor cookery skills of the English came from the French. They didn't like the fact that our food was just as good as theirs.

I hear Nonna that two of our Michelin starred chefs are showing you Yanks how to cook these days, Gordon Ramsay and Heston Bloomenthal. Oh and Jamie Oliver is trying to help you all counter child obesity in your schools isn't he?

We all need help sometimes.

Nonna said...

Hahahahaha !

I knew my comment would get a rise from Tony ! Too tempting not to have a bit of fun. Yes, I do enjoy SOME British foods and the mulitculuralness of the foods cooked in the country. There is good food everywhere and bad food as well. My family roots are deep in England and I have a long line of French ancestors too. ( Maybe that snootiness is what's coming out ) Oh, no another cliche, this time knocking the French !!!

I guess just call me a picky, persnickedy eater of foods and narrow minded Yank !

Happy Easter my friends !

TONY said...

Nonna, have a wonderful Easter and enjoy your Easter Eggs.

We all have different perceptions of each other don't we.They are all wrong.Ha! ha!. The only way is to come over yourself and discover us!!!!!!. I think you would like it here. The food too!!!!!

We are quite multicultural in our food tastes here in my home. We are used to influences from all over the world. We English tend to be quite adventurous and creative with our food.