What you eat…

The saying goes that ‘you are what you eat’ and if a recent report in The Guardian newspaper is  true, lots of people in the UK are fakes! What with vegetable fat being passed off as cheese, prawns being mostly water and cupcakes decorated with plastic glitter, it seems that what we put in our mouths is not all that it seems.

I have been cautious about processed foods for a while now – I like to know what ingredients constitute my food and so my inclination these days is to make things from scratch. We make our own bread, pizza bases, cakes, soups, pasta sauces and even (sometimes) pasta. We process lots of our own fresh foods into readily useable forms – frozen passata, bottled peaches and apples, jams, jellies, dried chillies and so on – and so I feel quite confident that I know what we are eating. However, we do buy some things that are ready-made: tomato ketchup, baked beans, chocolate… so there are  ingredients that I don’t have control over.

Settling down with a good book

Settling down with a good book

Having an interest in the food that we eat I was attracted to a book that Candy Blackman mentioned on her Cakes blog a few weeks ago: Harold McGee: Food & Cooking. An Encyclopaedia of Kitchen Science History and Culture. I don’t really need any more recipe books, but a source of reliable information about food and cooking seemed like a great idea. Despite being a massive tome, this book makes for surprisingly engaging reading, containing information on the history of everything from chocolate to saucepans, along with nutritional information, food chemistry and cooking tips. I am really enjoying dipping into it a little each day. Of course it doesn’t tell me about the plastic glitter that I might find on bought cupcakes, but for that I probably need a book on petrochemicals, not food!

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment


  1. Don’t you find a lot of ingredients in processed food a bit officious: why would I need anti-caking agent? I love cake, and don’t want anything anti-cake at all! Obviously I’m being facetious here, but why something as innocent as dried pasta needs three lots of e-numbers I can’t begin to guess. And like you, I eat mostly freshly prepared foods, including pizza and bread…

  2. Oh dear, we are getting really serious about all this! It is bread that really makes me mad – it really doesn’t need anything other than the basics!

    • Too true… flour, water, yeast and a little salt, oil and sugar… what else does it need?! Although I have to confess that I bought a bag of 5-seed mix from Shipton Mill the other day that is a lovely addition to a wholemeal loaf.
      I do really love the book – thank you for the recommendation.

  3. I remember hearing something once about margarine being only slightly different in composition than plastic. I could believe it too and went back to butter. I can understand sometimes the need to add a preservative to food but so many now contain sweetening like Aspartme which has a terrible reputation.and yet people have known about stevia for a long time. It’s the best sweetener a diabetic can use as it has no side effects.
    As with drugs, manufacturers have been trying to produce man made substitutes for natural drugs instead of using the traditional ingredients like willow bark for aspirin, deadly nightshade for divorce etc.Surely they can still make money producing the tablets in the right doses?
    If the tablet comes that extends our lives by 20 years, I’m turning it down unless it’s natural.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • I have just learned from my book that the development of margarine was funded by Napoleon! Who’d have thought.
      Personally, I like to stick to the simple things and butter is SO nice! As for aspartamine – yuk!
      By the way, David, I saw the sun today… even here in west Wales 🙂

  4. Linda Winn

     /  February 10, 2014

    And its not even just the processed food that we need to check out. This book has been reviewed by both the left and right leaning papers and magazines because it gives such a balanced and thoroughly researched update on the current trends in the food industry: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jan/29/farmageddon-cost-cheap-meat-lymbery-review

  5. HaHa anti cake! We like “real” food here too!


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: