Charlotte Maberly’s talk about gastronomy was interesting, informative and at times shocking. Our obsession with cheap food that has a huge impact on the environment and little nutritional value was horrifically laid out in all its gruesome detail. Many of these simple yet pertinent facts are often overlooked or deliberately hidden by the food industry in the interests of profit. The two of us were particularly struck by the intensive farming techniques, wastage of the developed world’s resources and misleading information on packages – designed to sound like one thing but is in fact the exact opposite.
Charlotte delivered her information in a simple, non-judgemental way that resonated with the assembled company. We were left contemplating how we can make the food we consume not only better quality but also the focus of our cultural existence. Some other countries do not seem to have strayed as far down the economy over quality path as we have in this country. Others make food not only a source of energy but also something to nourish our very existence.
After all this talk of nourishment of body and spirit we set about putting it into practice. A wonderful collection of delicious food was laid on. None of the ingredients came from more than 30 miles from Chisholme House except the vanilla pod courtesy of Madagascar. Whilst all the food set the perfect example of how to prepare delicious seasonal dishes the conversation between the guests enhanced the eating experience. This proves that food should not be seen as just fuel for the body but as a way to enrich our existences.
We went away from the evening with more questions than answers and a renewed sense of passion about how and why we eat. The anger that comes from being misled by some within the food industry was offset by a great appreciation of how those with less food have learned to make more out of it, both in a basic taste sense and a more holistic and cultural sense. We as a nation could surely profit from these lessons and once again take pride in what we cook and not in how cheaply we’ve made something.
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By Tracey and Matthew from Hawick