Monday, 2 May 2011

Intro / What this is all about

After a few years of dabbling with the idea, a friend's leap of faith into the world of blogging (with a blog about blogging) has convinced me to have a go. I certainly already know what topic I want to focus on: food.

Food has such an important place in our lives, it's much more than just sustenance. Sadly a lot of people approach their meals with a complete lack of love or excitement. Even people who enjoy good food will still reach for a convenient pre-packaged meal or stick with an unimaginative repetition of four or five extremely basic dishes. 

If Thumper here had put in a bit more effort
he could have been dining on carrots and lettuce,
instead of wilted lawn clippings.
For some, like my Dad, this is because they can't cook, feel that there isn't enough time to cook or don't have any interest in learning how.
I suspect a lot of this reluctance is down to lack of confidence (and therefore inspiration) in the kitchen. This is understandable if previous experiences of cooking have ended in disaster; I have a vivid childhood memory of my father racing out of the back door with a flaming grill-pan of blackened croissants.

Everyone should be capable of creating their own meals from fresh ingredients though, for the benefit of their health, their happiness and their independence. It's an awful thought that there are thousands of people, just like my Dad, who rely on pre-prepared convenience foods to fill in the gaps when a restaurant isn't an option and their spouse, friend or other family member isn't available to cook for them. People who love good food but, due to lack of knowledge and confidence, pour their money into the pockets of clever companies whose own stakeholders wouldn't touch the products they sell.

Oscar proves that anyone can eat a varied diet, so long as
they're quick enough to steal off the barbecue.

Even sadder for me are those who have never been taught to enjoy good food at all, where food is just fuel and often not even very good fuel. It makes me so cross whenever I see adverts for Iceland, I mean have you ever been in there? It's grim. Even in 2010 they were still selling battery eggs, and those horrible beige, fat-encrusted, frozen uni-foods for parties... Ugh, what awful misfortune befell Jason Donovan that he would agree to be the face of it?

I coined the word "hedonethical" because it was the only way I could think of to express how I try to approach food and life in general. Our individual existence is very short so it makes sense to maximise the good things that we experience, the happiness which we give to others, and minimise the suffering we cause.

I make no apologies for my, occasionally militant, approach to good food; be that its source, its treatment in the kitchen or why using artificial substitutes for ingredients ought to be viewed with suspicion.
Daisy is watching you. She says don't
buy milk products from dairy cows
with hoof ulcers and untreated mastitis.

I believe that happiness in life, individually and aggregately, is intrinsically linked to what we eat and where our food comes from. By eating exciting home cooked, seasonal, mainly organic food we can help not only ourselves and the people we cook for, but also those lovely farmers who care about their animals and produce, plus the environment benefits too. Win win win win.

I'm not going to lie, eating with these tenets in mind could burn an endless supply of cash. It doesn't have to, but it can; I'm frequently guilty of letting Pie Excitement override financial sense. Being frugal is hard when you can't walk past an interesting looking ingredient. I would certainly choose Borough Market over Oxford Street any day, and I spend much more on food than I ever would on clothes. That's my choice though, anyone could eat well extremely cheaply and still follow the same principles.

It's not always a breeze to stick to the ideal of hedonethical eating; careful shopping and inventive home cooking isn't going to be anyone's top priority every day, especially if you have a busy or tiring lifestyle. That's why this blog is intended to be a warts and all collection of suggestions and food experiences.

It's a tricky balancing act, living as we do in a rich society that is steeped in consumerism, but it is worthwhile to get excited about cooking and sourcing good produce, just as it makes sense to aim for a happy life, to try to make others happy and avoid causing suffering, which includes proactively reducing suffering, wherever possible.

I hope I can spread a little bit of pie excitement, I'd like to encourage at least one person to try cooking something that they have never tried before, with better ingredients than they would usually purchase. That's it for now!

Abel & Cole
Borough Market


  1. A very healthy attitude to food - I like! One of the things in particular which I enjoy doing is using ingredients that people may well enjoy, but not as they'd expect - great fun!

  2. Thank you for posting my first comment!
    When you say you like using ingredients in unexpected ways, are we talking beetroot cake or prawn ice cream? Are you a Hugh or a Heston?