Blog 7 May 2015 – Crunch Time For Foodies II

Happy
Election Day!

The Taster Magazine Daily Update: Crunch Time For Foodies II

So. What would we get on our dinner plates under each of the five national parties? Here’s the best-case scenario we’ve extrapolated after a sketchy and incomplete run through the manifestos (we deny everything). No bias any way on our side; all we care about is food. In alphabetical order:

CONSERVATIVE
Everything clearly marked with a ‘Great British Food Unit’ label. Possibly pricier than in the past, since supermarkets would come under pressure to give a fairer deal to small suppliers and might pass those costs on to customers.

Sunday Lunch under the Tories depends on how the EU referendum goes, so we have two versions. In the event of withdrawal from the EU, there would be (unlike UKIP) no particular emphasis on trading with the Commonwealth.
EU SUNDAY LUNCH: Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. Baked Camembert tart with Fleurie; Gressingham Duck à l’orange, carrots & petits pois with Rioja; zabaglione. Caffe latte
NON-EU SUNDAY LUNCH: Real caviar & Scottish smoked salmon on blinis with a vodka shot. Then, English asparagus & Cheddar tart with Glyndwr Welsh white wine; wagyu beef & Yorkshire pudding with a Chilean red; Sweet Eve strawberries & cream; Stilton with Fenland celery. Port (from Goa, not Portugal).
(Policies: creation of  ‘Great British Food Unit’ to help trademark and promote British foods at home and abroad; country-of-origin labelling in Europe; new Groceries Code Adjudicator to regulate supermarkets’ relations with suppliers)

GREEN
Not as many lentils/freekeh/quinoa as you might expect; rather, a lot more, and a lot cheaper, local organic veg. Wine or beer would be pricier (unless organic). What little meat you consume would, on the up side, be free-range and free of antibiotics. Honey for tea. A lot of pressure not to waste anything.
SUNDAY LUNCH (all veg are organic): Seasonal vegetable samosas; coconut fish curry with a local craft lager; grilled British-made halloumi; homemade walnut & honey baklava; green tea.
(Policies: reduced meat & dairy products; subsidies for organic farms; new farm animal welfare rules; increased taxes on alcohol & unhealthy food; protection for pollinators; emphasis on non-waste and recycling. Also against excessive food air miles; hence not so many lentils or other exotic grains)

LABOUR
Hopefully, you won’t be eating at a food bank. Quite possibly GM and pesticide-reliant veg, but only if clearly shown to do no harm. A goodbye to cheap-as-chips Value Cider, Lager etc
SUNDAY LUNCH: Apéritif of English perry. Curried sweetcorn soup; a small roast pork but with lashings of Armagh Bramley apple sauce, roast potatoes, kale & carrots with a good-quality Cornish cider; apple pie served with Cheshire cheese; more cider. (Basically a scene from the Darling Buds of May)
(Policies: Sunday Lunch under Labour is the trickiest one in this list. Their main policy is to increase food security; the Farmers’ Union recently claimed the UK is in a downward spiral of non-self-sufficiency, unable to meet 40% of its own food needs. So presumably the emphasis would be on British rather than EU foods, and staple grains and vegetables rather than meat or dairy products, which take more energy to produce. Potentially a lot of flour and, as the most efficient converter of food to meat, pigs. They also aim to end reliance on food banks and consider issues such as GM crops and pesticides dispassionately, ie according to scientific evidence)

LIB DEM
If you’re a primary school child, it’s free school lunches all the way. Alcoholic drinks would probably be pricier, especially those that were previously very cheap. As with Labour, although the LibDems are pro-EU, their emphasis is to promote local food economies more than EU-imported foods
SUNDAY LUNCH: Apéritif of local craft beer or cider (wine likely to be pricey). Olives and sundried-tomato tartlets from the Farmers’ Market, plus local vegbox salad; roast chicken with potatoes and greens from a nearby allotment collective; apricot pavlova drizzled with British wildflower honey; Wensleydale cheese with slices of local apples.
(Policies: introduce a National Food Strategy for “healthy, sustainable and affordable food”; encourage local food economies and “field to fork” schemes; protect pollinators; introduce minimum prices for alcoholic drinks per unit)

UKIP
Possibly a lot more wild-caught, sustainable British fish. Clearer food labelling and nothing halal; many more exotic foods imported from the non-EU world and particularly the Commonwealth. MPs would be given a free vote on whether to give GM crops the go-ahead.
SUNDAY LUNCH: Cornish sardines on toast with a sparkling Kentish wine; North Sea prawn tikka massala with Australian Shiraz OR New Zealand lamb & Jersey Royal potatoes with a South African rosé; Yorkshire rhubarb & banana custard; Ghanaian coffee and a few squares of chocolate from Grenada.

(Policies: Protect UK fish stocks and sustainability (including a ban on pair-trawling); clearer food labelling including slaughter methods – and a ban on the non-stun slaughter of farm animals; remove trade barriers with non-EU countries; a free vote in Parliament on GM foods)

Hope This Helps. May you feel good about your choice, whatever it is, as you leave the polling station.

Yours,

The Taster

Click on COOK for seasonal cooking ideas, or on our CALENDAR for foodie events in May.

Blog 6 May 2015 – Crunch Time For Foodies

Crunch Time For Foodies

The Taster Magazine Daily Update: Crunch Time For Foodies

Crunch time is approaching, and we’re not talking about chowing down on a stick of celery. Rather than attempt a conclusion, The Taster offers this purely foodie overview of the five national parties’ plans for the future. In alphabetical order:

CONSERVATIVE
♦ Reduce childhood obesity.
All three major parties have set out varying plans for this: the Tories’ strategy is to promote clear food information; also aimed at alleviating the burden of obesity-related disease on the NHS
♦ Champion British farmers and food producers aiming to export. This to include creating a ‘Great British Food Unit’ to help trademark and promote British foods at home and abroad, and pushing for country-of-origin labelling in Europe. Part of a 25-year plan to work with farmers and producers to “grow more, buy more and sell more British food”
♦ Champion their new Groceries Code Adjudicator. This to help farmers receive a fair deal from supermarkets

GREEN
♦ Increase taxes on alcohol and unhealthy food to support the NHS
♦ Reduce the consumption of meat, dairy and other animal products. Promote alternative diets; and use subsidies & taxes to support pasture- and land-based farming
♦ Subsidise organic farming
♦ Ensure public monies are spent only on humane & sustainable meat, milk and eggs Ie review the Government Buying Standards
♦ Ban waste food being sent to landfill. Recycle it instead; ultimately the Greens are aiming for a zero-waste culture
♦ Ban antibiotics in meat agriculture
♦ Promote farm animal welfare Oppose factory farming, ban hen and rabbit cages, ensure dairy cows have access to pasture. Improve welfare on fish farms. Like UKIP (strange bedfellows you find sometimes!), end the export of live animals for slaughter, introduce CCTV in slaughterhouses to ensure best practice, and limit the transport of live animals at home
♦ Improve food labelling and traceability
♦ Protect pollinators. Protecting honeybees and others (not a minor concern, in The Taster’s opinion. Is there honey still for tea? IS THERE?)

LABOUR
♦ Reduce childhood obesity. 
Labour’s plan is to limit the amount of sugar, salt and fat in foods marketed to children

♦ Cut food bank use. Over five years (from 2009 to 2014, according to the Trussell Trust) the number of people using food banks increased from 41K to 913K.
♦ End the ‘chaos’ of the current approach to food policy. Tie more government departments together and increase DEFRA’s presence.
♦ Aim to increase food security. Insist that issues such as GM and pesticide use must be viewed dispassionately and according to evidence-based science. (This might involve, for example, opposing claims that GM foods are indigestible, but accepting evidence that they impact upon the environment. *The Farmers’ Union recently claimed the UK is in a downward spiral of non-self-sufficiency, unable to meet 40% of its own food needs.)
♦ Take action on high-strength, low-cost alcohol

LIB DEM
♦ Reduce childhood obesity. Ban junk food advertising on TV after the 9pm watershed. According to  Marketing Weekly, this is the policy that alarmed food marketers the most, out of the three main parties’
♦ Introduce a National Food Strategy. To promote healthy, sustainable and affordable food across the nation
♦ Extend free school lunches to all primary school children
♦ Introduce minimum prices for alcoholic drinks according to how many units they contain

UKIP
♦ Increase food bank services. Provide 800 staff to help and advise food bank users on additional problems such as debt, addiction, family breakdown or health problems
♦ Give a free vote in Parliament on GM foods
♦ Push for clearer food labelling. To include information on country-of-origin, slaughter methods and further information on food labels
♦ Improve farm animal welfare before slaughter. Ban the export and at-home transport of live animals for slaughter, ban non-stun methods of slaughter and introduce CCTV in slaughterhouses to ensure best practice
♦ Support farms. Introduce a Single Farm Payment (presumably to support farmers in the event of withdrawal from the EU) and, in the wake of recent scandals about supermarket squeezes on small dairy suppliers, enable the Competition Commission to ensure dairy farmers get a fair price for milk
♦ Support fisheries and protect fish stocks. Introduce a 12-mile limit for UK fishermen only and a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone under UK control; reverse EU drift-net bans in British waters; require foreign trawlers to apply for fishing permits in British waters only when fish stocks have returned to sustainable levels. Also, ban pair trawling (a controversial form of fishing that kills dolphins as well as fish)
♦ Remove trade barriers to provide sustainable livelihoods for the world’s poorest people — The Taster isn’t quite sure how this would affect Fairtrade and similar schemes, but would presumably benefit many small producers (and UK buyers) of chocolate, bananas, sugar, coffee, tea etc

That’s it for today. Just heard a great quote on the radio: “Are we all secretly hoping the polls have got it all wrong? Because they all look too certain?”

The Taster doesn’t know. He just says: Good luck, everyone.

Yours exhaustedly,

The Taster

Click on COOK for seasonal cooking ideas, or on our CALENDAR for foodie events in May.