Tag Archives: Food

Is organic orgasmic?

Okay, a quick declaration of interest here; I don’t have an axe to grind one way or the other. I grew up on home grown food. Vegetables from our garden (in season), home reared chickens traded for favours or work done and I must say thrived on it. Some of it was flavourful, rich and much nicer than mass market store bought, but the quality was uneven, and you occasionally had to mind not sinking your teeth into a juicy apple or pear and having to spit out half a mouthful of Codling Moth larvae. Or tuck into a nice fresh green salad to experience the minor horror of half a caterpillar gently writhing on your fork tines. Maybe having to cook the chicken until it was slightly dryer (Or adding butter under the skin to keep the flesh moist) than fashionable to ensure the many bacteria that flourish in domestic fowl do not end up giving you a bad case off the trotsky’s. So yes, I grew up on organic food and know the meaning of the old country saying. “Eat a peck of dirt before you die“? A ‘peck’ being a dry measure of two imperial gallons, or just over 8 litres. That’s a lot of shit to hide in a sandwich.

Yes, but is ‘Organic food’ better? That’s the million dollar question; and my answer is you get what you pay for. Top notch non pesticide tainted grub is very good indeed, but because less of it, proportionally speaking, is fit for market. Pound for pound it costs way more to produce. Which is why ‘organic’ food stores charge like a Rhinoceros with a bad migraine and a psychotic hatred of 4×4’s. Apart from hiking their prices skywards to cash in on the middle class guilt factor.

So when one report says Organic food is no better than more mass produced foodstuffs, buck for buck I’d have to agree. When another report claims that organic food is way better for you than the mass market stuff, I’d have to hang a big “Not so sure” sign on it. Average quality organic, I can tell you from first hand experience, is not better for you, apart from occasionally acting like a vaccination against all the ‘natural’ pests we are heir to. Specifically letting your body get used to toxic bacteria and material in the ‘organic’ foodstuff by exposing you to low level doses like happens with vaccines. It’s all about exercising the immune system. If the foodstuff concerned doesn’t have this slightly icky quality it is most probably no better for you than its mass market equivalent. I derive my proof from the adage; “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Organic food has no more vitamins or mineral content worth writing about, contains no more calories or anything significantly pound for pound, and although the expensive stuff sometimes tastes much nicer (Providing you prepare it right) with major emphasis on ‘sometimes’, you are still paying for a premium product which proportionally speaking takes way more resource in terms of land to grow per unit produced. I won’t say it’s bollocks, but for me, organic food has never lived up to the hype. Even though I grew up on home grown.

As for ‘organic wine’; from the samples I’ve tasted, I’ve rarely been anywhere near even mildly impressed. In fact, if I’m at a function where such beverages are offered, the car keys will magically spring into my pocket, and I will politely demur on the grounds that I do not, under any circumstances, drink and drive. Whether I’d agreed to be the designated driver or not.

Organic meat is a conundrum; but quite frankly you’ll get the same result if you feed, say pigs, windfall apples in a farrowing pen, or let them root for apples in someone’s orchard or after a potato crop has been raised. It’s the feed that gives the flavour, and ‘cardboard’ meat as found in many supermarkets is more down to the quality of feedstuff than whether antibiotics and chemicals were used to ensure the animals were healthy right up to the moment of slaughter. I grew up in the English countryside, and many boyhood hours were spent watching livestock and listening to the farmers who raised them. Amazing what you pick up if you learn to just listen.

I’ve had my doubts about this Organic malarkey for a long time, mainly on the grounds that the overblown claims of health benefits had a phony ring to them. I spent a couple of years in Marketing, so am quite aware of grandiose, even spurious claims are made over any product. So it is with organic foodstuffs.

To conclude; is organic food orgasmic? Well, I hate to say this, but not so’s you’d notice.

Anyone with me?

Took a break over to Canadian wine growing country in Kelowna earlier this week and had a rather grown up time sampling the local nectars.  Canadian wine is growing up fast, and Okanagan wines are improving rapidly.

However, this is not the point of my post.  Today’s little gripe is about the noise levels in bars and restaurants.  Unlike many, my life has its own soundtrack, which is muted and inclined towards pleasant conversation and listening.  To this end I’m running out of places I want to spend my money, specifically bars and restaurants.   Two nights ago I went into a fairly upmarket waterfront place and almost walked straight out again because the owner and staff seemed to want to work in a Disco.  The staff were great; attentive and pleasant.  The food was reasonable Canadian fare.  Not up to French standards, but that’s another story.

Call me an old fart if you like, but I like to be able to hear myself think when I go out for a meal.  I like not to have to strain in order to hear what my server is saying as they reel off the list of ‘specials’ in that delightfully practiced way of North American restaurants and diner staff.  I like not having to raise my voice to be heard over the ‘Thump-thump-thump’ of some dumb fuck headed rap number making the air pulse in my delicate shell likes.   I like conversation and good company over the artificial noise some people need to keep their brains from working.

Are there any restaurateurs out there who can justify deluging our ears with a torrent of crap on the false premise that it creates ‘ambiance’?  Just let me know the name of your establishment and I solemnly promise never to darken your doorstep or spend my money there.  Please communicate; I’m sure there are a lot of others who would like to do the same.

I would wear earplugs like HM the Queen at the Paralympics opening ceremony, but then I would be unable to hear what my dinner companions are saying, and that would be impolite.

A short interlude

Not really the time or inclination to blog recently. The awful reality is that an old family friend is, not to put too fine a point on it, dying. Cause; Mesothelioma (Cause, Asbestosis) probably contracted as a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy. So we’ve been spending quite a bit of our free time visiting, doing the shopping, running other errands for his wife (Who doesn’t drive) and reading to him, as he’s too weak to hold a book.

Nothing too strenuous, just a bit of Kipling, Frost, Robert Service. The more ribald the better. Although I have to tone the funny stuff down sometimes as the poor chap’s only got half a lung left, possibly less according to his Doctor. I don’t want him to die laughing because of something I said or did. Not that laughing is such a bad way to go, but I don’t think I could forgive myself if I was the cause. Besides, he and his wife helped us a lot when first we arrived in Canada, so we feel that we have a bit of a moral debt to discharge, and too little time remaining to do it in.

Considering the life the man has had; WW2 saw two of the ships he was on torpedoed and sunk; Distinguished Service Order; lost in the Arctic for ten days while surveying for Decca radar, travelled trans Canada any number of times with a Radar training unit. Yes, he is a ‘real’ person, and when he dies I will publish a link to his obituary if it’s available online. Although for our old family friend I think that’s pretty much certain, and if not I’ll bloody write it myself. Such people should not slip from memory so readily. They are too rare.

Watching someone die slowly is not exactly my favourite pursuit, so to lighten my glumness (and Mrs S’s), I’ve been scouring the Interweb for ‘cheer-us-up’ recipe’s. Stap me if I didn’t hit paydirt. Perfect chip batter in a simple, quick and easy recipe. See the youtube clip below. Just tried it out on Snapper and Pacific Cod fillets, and believe me, the result is light, tasty portions so easy even I can get it right every time. Much better than store bought, and rivalling most chip shop batter I’ve tasted. Try it for yourself.

Don’t forget, the water should be properly chilled and the mix thoroughly whisked for lightness. With only a handful of decent Chip shops on the Island, sometimes the DIY method is the only way.