In the news, 9th July 2010
Tetley tea cartoons brought back to life to revive brand.
After Mars brought back the iconic 'Red Car vs Blue Car' advert for their Milky Way brand causing me to experience worrying levels of excitement, Tetley are bringing back their equally iconic "tea folk" animated characters for a new ad campaign and I am left wondering if my heart can another bout of nostalgia-fuelled euphoria.
Throughout my childhood Tetley and PG Tips were kings of the tea world and a lot of this was down to the strength of their advertising which shared the winning formula of regular appearances in ad breaks and beautifully composed pieces with memorable wording, imagery, characters and music. However, whilst PG Tips are going as strong as ever with a solid ad presence, Tetley has gradually faded from the public's consciousness. In fact, casting my mind back over recent years, I cannot remember a single Tetley ad and others I have now spoken to about this say the same thing. Apparently, there have been Tetley ads concentrating on the health benefits of tea but therein lies the problem...whilst health benefits might make your veiwers come away feeling a bit better about drinking their daily cuppa, nothing is said about your brand, no reason why the viewer should drink your tea over others is given (presumably, viewers could get the same benefits from carrying on drinking the likes of PG Tips) and so it goes on. At the very best, your viewers will be left with the thought "oh, that's interesting" but that's it...no strong visual or verbal footprint unique to your brand is left in the viewer's mind. Contrast this with PG Tips who have created a puppet character called "Monkey" which, like him or loathe him, has a strong, distinct visual image that is immediately identifiable whether it be on-screen or in the shops. Moreover, by pairing up "Monkey" with the comedian Johnny Vegas in fun, light-hearted ads that the viewers can relate to, viewers are much better engaged.
In any case, the Tetley brand certainly needs to be given a push to get it back in to the forefront of our minds. And MCBD, the ad agency Tetley have recently chosen to handle their UK account, is kicking things off in style with a revival of the retro (but timeless) Tetley "tea folk" animated characters. I guess the hope would be (and I would go along with this) that these ads will bring memories flooding back for so many of us and, in so doing, reconnect a whole generation with the brand. At least I know for me, just watching the above ad this morning was like a bolt of brand lightning from the past as I remembered why I loved Tetley so much when I was younger.
It has been reported that a teaser will be appearing shortly followed by a "nostalgic, emotional, tearjerker of a TV ad". So, I guess we wait with baited breath and, in the meantime, sitting with a cuppa in hand on a glorious summer's day I feel it only appropriate to say, "That's better. That's Tetley".
In the news, 7th July 2010
Pancake-loving Americans get their syrup!
Since my last news entry, in what seems to be a continuing trend to sell off our iconic food brands, Tate & Lyle, manufacturers of our iconic Golden Syrup, has gone the way of Cadbury and sold its syrup to an American company called the American Sugar Refining (ASR) for £211 million.
As quoted in the Guardian news article on the matter (see here), "Chief executive Javed Ahmed said sugar refining had 'a long and proud history' in the firm, but the company was now focusing on higher-margin products such as sweeteners, starch and ethanol."
Thankfully in the same article, an ASR spokesman is reported as saying that they respect the history of the brands and, furthermore, won't be cutting any jobs.
I guess it is another wait and see job.
A ban on selling eggs by the dozen??
I checked and no its not 1st April...when I first read that MEPs had voted to ban the selling of eggs by the dozen in the UK and force selling by weight, I was contemplating booking myself on a plane to Brussels and telling those Euro-zone dictators that here in Britain we will do whatever we damn well please...as you can probably tell, I was just a tad annoyed! However, my temper was diminished when it was reported that MEPs hadn't voted on this action and no such laws would be coming in to force under the amendments to EU food labelling.
Oh well, as we do so well in this country, at least it gave us all something to rant about for a few days!
"I'm Lovin' It!"
To tie in with their sponsorship of the 2012 Olympics, McDonalds has launched a series of adverts celebrating British ingredients and their latest offering entitled 'Weather' by Leo Burnett has recently been released. The ad looks focuses on, as you might have guessed, that most British of preoccupations...the weather. It makes the point that, whilst we may rant on about weather's unpredictability, there is "method in the madness" as it helps our produce grow and, quite rightly, gives us something to talk about.
You'll notice that up until the very end, there are no visual or verbal clues that it is a McDonalds' ad. This is interesting because by not clueing in the viewer to the McDonalds connection immediately it intrigues the viewer as they ask themselves "what is this about?" and, those who normally switch off to fast food ads, will watch it more engaged.
Moreover, McDonalds has focused on very pleasant footage featuring beautiful Cumbrian countryside and farms. This establishes in the viewer ideas of health, the great out doors and wholesome, natural produce that, near the end, the ad tries to translate to the McDonald's brand as footage of chickens, potatoes and cows are related to different items from their food range.
Other things, like picturing people in a variety of situations gives each viewer something they can relate to. Moreover, the ad works on the idea that by eating at McDonalds you are helping to support all this wonderful British produce thereby superimposing a sense of responsibility on us.
Anyway, here's the ad...enjoy.
In the news, 24th June 2010
The Gold goes to Pie!
Reading the Guardian online food column today, I noticed a reference to a very important event, the British Pie Awards, that I am sorry to say had gone by completely unnoticed by me. These things should get more coverage...I say to the national newspapers, get rid of all those celebs from the front pages (or perhaps all of the pages whilst you're at it!) and make way for the important things, the things that matter to true Brits...pies! Naturally, here at TGBD I am very much in support of these awards and urge you all to check out the website here.
Now, what to have with my Ploughmans...
In the news, June 2010
Happy Meal toys targeted as US consumer group threatens to sue.
According to a Daily Mail article, " a powerful American consumer group is threatening a lawsuit and has given the chain 30 days to drop the 'creepy and predatory' ploy it says undermines the efforts of parents to encourage a healthy diet." The ploy they are referring to is, of course, those plastic toys you get with your Happy Meals.
The article goes on to report, "The Centre for Science in the Public Interest says using the items to promote its Happy Meals is 'unfair, deceptive and illegal' under American state laws...McDonald's is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children,' said the CSPI litigation director Stephen Gardner."
TGBD Response: Oh how I get so tired of all of this, people with too much time on their hands trying to protect us or our children from all these 'dangers'...here's a thought, may be as grown-ups we have the right and responsibility to make our own decisions and bring up our children in a befitting manner.
The likes of McDonalds are popular easy targets to blame for our health problems when in fact we should be looking at overall lifestyles and not any one food. Growing up, I had sweets, chocolates, doughnuts, Happy Meals (admittedly toys had a lot to do with my purchase) etc. I am not overweight, I exercise regularly and I still look forward to and enjoy all these things immensely. But who was there to make sure I didn't eat too much of this stuff at any one time or too regularly when I was a child and, in doing so, instilled a healthy approach towards food that has stayed with me for life? My parents. And, of course, this should always be the case. So I say to CSPI, get off McDonalds back and focus your attention on the more important - albeit harder to deal with - issues surrounding health.
In the news, 29th Jan 2010
Kellogg's forced to reduce salt levels
According to an AOL News article today, after sustained pressure from health watchdogs, Kellogg's have made a commitment to reduce salt levels in their cereals beginning with a 30% reduction in their two best sellers, namely Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies, and then moving on to the likes of Frosties and Coco Pops. The article states that the company estimates that such a reduction will remove 300 tonnes of salt per year from the British diet.
The article ends with Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health, who is reported as telling the Daily Mail: "We are thrilled that Kellogg's have finally acknowledged that people don't want salty breakfast cereals.
TGBD Response: Now anyone that knows me will know of my SCA or Serious Cereal Addiction as I like to call it. The endless varieties and colourful packaging, the convenience of it and the taste and texture sensations you get when ice-cold milk is poured over the top all make for an irresistible product. Needless to say, Kellogg's plays a major role in my SCA and the thought that I might be enjoying it in the future with less salt in is not a bad thing. In fact I am all for manufacturers upping their game especially when certain things are shown to be unnecessary e.g. Nestle's move to use natural colourings in Smarties showed us that the artificial ones weren't needed. However, things cross a line for me when such reductions impact noticeably on the product...I want my Corn Flakes tasting like the Cornflakes I know and love.
There was a load of stuff about sugar levels in such cereals not too long ago. It was promptly pointed out that a bowl of Frosties contained around 2 teaspoons of sugar - less than say a glass of orange juice or two slices of toast and jam. Then people argued that the problem was the high glycemic index of the food - the rate at which the body absorbs the sugar within a particular food. However, the general flaw in the glycemic index was then pointed out i.e. it treats foods in isolation when in reality they are consumed with others, all of which impact on the rate at which you absorb sugars.
At the end of the day, we get back to the fact that our health problem as a nation is not with any one particular food but with our overall lifestyle which is a result of our culture around such things as food, exercise and family. If we consumed a variety of foods (which can include so-called junk foods) with a good dose of veg thrown in; ate and socialised around tables as families and friends; and exercised regularly we would a lot more healthier and happier.
In the news, 25th Jan 2010
Full Not-So-English Breakfast
A new book, The Celebrated Pedestrian And Other Historical Curiosities, has caused a storm by revealing the beloved English Breakfast is not so English after all.
Apparently, in 50's post-war Britain nameless breakfast dishes made by combining regional UK breakfast delicacies on one plate became a big hit with manual workers at 'greasy spoons'. Then in the 60's, tour operators at Mediterranean holiday resorts decided to take the best elements of these dishes and combine them thus giving birth to the breakfast we know and love.
TGBD Response: Shocking news I'm sure you will agree. That said, like the Italians have earned the right to lay claim to pasta even though it isn't Italian in origin, we have more than earnt the right to claim the Full English as our own and I won't have anyone tell me otherwise!
In the news, 23th Jan 2010
Fish and chips hits Russia
In a Times article today, it is reported that a chain of chippies called Okean have been given the green light to set up shop in Russia as the Government try to encourage the public to eat more seafood in an attempt to save Russia fishing industry.
According to the article, Alexander Ivanov, owner of a Russian fish-processing factory that plans to expand his business, said, “Fish, as a fast food, doesn’t exist in Russia so we are opening a completely new market. I really like English fish and chips and I’m sure it will be really attractive for Russians,” he told The Times. “We set up a fish-and-chip kiosk at a trade exhibition in Moscow and the lines of customers were as long as those we used to see outside Lenin’s tomb during Soviet times...It’s important that people can be patriotic and buy high-quality healthy Russian fish.”
TGBD Response: It may have been a long and arduous journey but it seems all those wondrous smells wafting out of the doors of chippies up and down the country have finally beaten the cold and made their way to Russia. The Cold War may have taken some time but who could or would want to resist the evasion of the chippie...all I can say to the people of Russia is that they have been deprived of this delicacy too long so tuck in!
In the news, 21th Jan 2010
Bacon from sheep and tree-grown oats according to UK children
According to the Daily Mail, a study showed that 26 per cent of under-16's in the UK think bacon comes from sheep and 29 per cent think oats grow on trees. Moreover, 17 per cent of both children and adults under 30 thought that eggs were fundamental ingredient of bread.
The study surveyed 800 children and adults asking where breakfast foods such as oats, milk and bacon come from and also where the core ingredients needed to make popular breakfast dishes came from. The article cites our 'fast-food' culture and a lack of children visiting farms as reasons for the study's results.
Finally Peter Kendall, the President of the NFU, is reported as saying: "Everyone should know where primary foods like cereals are grown and the role they play as part of a healthy, balanced diet...More than half the food consumed in the UK is produced on British farms, yet the public, and especially young people, are unable to make this connection.'
In the news, 19th Jan 2010
It's official...Kraft takeover Cadbury.
In a bid reported as being around 11 billion dollars, Cadbury have accepted Kraft's bid.
TGBD Response: It is very sad that another British-owned independent food manufacturer has been sold off to a foreign conglomerate. However, as is business, the deal has been done and for my own sanity I have to remain positive...firstly, we must assume this was done for sound financial reasons and Cadbury couldn't have continued as they were; secondly, with the international might of Kraft behind Cadbury, there might well be opportunities to expand and develop the business; and, thirdly, Kraft are experienced in managing iconic brands with the likes of Toblerone and Terry's under their belts (admittedly though things didn't work out well for Terry's UK employees).
I know there are real concerns over job and there may well be cuts in staff. But with the financial stability Kraft afford, such cuts could well prove a lot less severe than if Cadbury had been left to go it alone.
In an interview with CNN (see full article here), Paul A.Young, world-famous London chocolatier, put the following positive-spin on the takeover:
...there were ways in which Kraft's takeover could benefit Cadbury without jeopardizing its existing customer base. Kraft's international reach could help the company expand overseas, while Cadbury could also move into the burgeoning luxury chocolate market.
"People are wanting more unusual and more creative varieties of chocolate. They want a slightly healthier chocolate and they don't want the fat and sugar content," he said.
"Cadbury could benefit from that if they had a luxury brand under their umbrella. If Kraft can offer something like that which reflects the way the chocolate industry is going then brilliant."
It's all good, it's all butter!
In an article today written for The Daily Mail, Clarissa Dickson Wright has hit out against Shyam Kolvekar, the London-based cardiologist who announced this week he wants butter banned.
She writes, " He has wheeled out, once again, the old chestnut about butter clogging your arteries and generally sending us all to an early grave. Honestly, I thought that one had been scientifically laid to rest years ago.
I've eaten and cooked with butter all my life and while I may not be the slimmest chicken around, that has nothing to do with the butter in my diet.
I have the blood pressure of a three-year-old and cholesterol levels that a five-year-old might be proud of. My cholesterol count is 2.8 millimoles per litre - not bad for a woman as fond of the old yellow stuff as I am. Explain that, Mr Kolvekar.
What lies behind Mr Kolvekar's pronouncements I am not sure, although the fact they were published by a public relations company that acts for Unilever, makers of Flora margarine perhaps give us a clue. But I do know that his headline-hitting outburst goes against all the recent scientific research.
We have been eating the stuff for at least 2,000 years and if it were killing us in large numbers I think we'd have realised by now: or died out. But we haven't done either.
Mr Kolvekar maintains it is killing us, pointing to the ever-growing number of patients in their 30s who require bypass surgery compared to a decade or two ago when the average patient was probably over 50.
I politely put it to him that this has nothing to do with butter and everything to do with the processed saturated fats that are used in the junk food our young people are so fond of.
So a plague on Mr Kolvekar and his nanny state nonsense. I suppose the next thing he'll be doing is trotting out the equally old saw about lower rates of heart attacks among those with so-called Mediterranean diets based around olive oil."
TBGD Response: Clarissa for Prime Minister is all I can say! Reading her article was thoroughly refreshing...butter is a wonderfully natural product, has numerous health benefits and should not be demonised. As I have said before and will undoubtedly say again, people's overall diet and lifestyle is what effects their health and not individual foods.
So my advice to Mr. Kolvekar, stop spouting such nonsense and join me in taking some toast and marmalade and applying lashings of butter...his taste buds will thank me for it.
In the news, 18th Jan 2010
Ban trans-fats says Doctor
According to an article in the Guardian today, the UK Faculty of Public Health - a body representing 3,300 NHS doctors and public health specialists - are calling for a total ban on the group of synthetic trans-fats. Unlike saturated fats which are healthy if not consumed to excess, it has been shown trans-fats are completely unnecessary for human health with no nutritional value whatsoever and increase the chances of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.
Artificial trans-fats are made through a process of partial hydrogenation whereby hydrogen atoms are added to fats resulting in a product with a higher melting point and, crucially for food manufacturers, better shelf-life. They also occur naturally in meat and dairy, albeit in very small quantities. Needless to say, these synthetic trans-fats have been shown to be much more harmful to health than the naturally occurring ones and a lot of large brands like McVities and Nestle have now removed them from their products. However, no legislation currently exists that forces manufacturers to declare the level of trans-fats in their products and therefore many are consumed unwittingly.
According to the article, Maryon-Davis, the faculty's president said, "Trans fats are much less well-known than saturated fats but are much more damaging. They are very bad for the heart, play a key role in the UK's very high levels of heart disease and contribute to a large number of the excess coronary deaths we have in this country...Foods can be made perfectly well without trans fats. The government should move to ban them as soon as possible because eliminating them completely would help save many lives."
The article goes on to remind us that in 2007 Alan Johnson, the then health secretary, asked the Food Standards Agency to investigate trans fats. It concluded that no action was needed because average consumption was half of what government scientific advisers said should be the maximum – for 2% of all energy to come from trans fats. The Department of Health last night reiterated that view. However, Maryon-Davis insisted that "as with cigarettes there is no known safe level of consumption".
Finally the article includes a statement from Barbara Gallani, director of food safety and science at the Food and Drink Federation rejecting the ban, "Our members have voluntarily made such significant progress in reducing trans fat levels in their products that I feel that the proposal to introduce legislation is not justified...Food producers' voluntary action had led to average UK intakes falling to 1% of total energy and they were committed to making further reductions in levels of trans fats".
TGBD Response: I know we are behind some other countries where synthetic trans-fats have been completely banned from food but we have seen good progress on the matter with, as mentioned above, a lot of our major food manufacturers having already banned them. In fact, tucking into my McVitie's Chocolate Digestive earlier I clearly noted the "No hydrogenated vegetable oils" label emblazoned on the packaging. Also, as I understand it, the likes of Tesco have eliminated trans-fats from all of their own-brand products.
Unlike my annoyance over saturated fats which were made out to be public enemy number one when in fact they are essential to health and only become a problem if consumed to excess, I have no qualms over doctors targeting trans-fats. To my mind they are completely unnecessary, bad for our health and their elimination won't affect the taste of food.
In the news, 16th Jan 2010
Fast food manufacturers to be hit as Europe's first 'fat tax' is introduced.
The fast-food industry braces themselves as the Romanian Health Ministry plans to increase taxes on foods high in fat, salt and/or sugar as a way of tackling obesity. Also, it has been made no secret, that this will double up as a very nice revenue stream for a Government hit hard by the recession.
According to The Times article, Attila Cseke, Romanian Health Minister, is reported as saying, “We intend to introduce a tax on fast food, soft drinks and sweets in order to support national health programmes...the new tax will be a percentage of the sale of fast-food products and the revenue will be used to increase the budgets of health programmes and fund investments into the system’s infrastructure.” The article states that Mr Cseke is aiming to generate £860 million from the new tax.
The article goes on to detail McDonalds reaction with a spokeswomen saying, “The draft law recently proposed by the Health Minister in Romania rightly points out that obesity poses serious public health concerns...Instead of taxation, which stigmatises certain products as unhealthy, McDonald’s supports the position of both the WHO and the EU, which view obesity as a complex and multi-factorial issue. We believe it is best addressed by providing increased choice, nutrition information and encouraging physical activity.”
Finally, the article pointed towards a Romanian Union food leader who fears that the fast-food chains might decide to leave the country leaving many unemployed.
TGBD Response: Deary, deary me...here we go again. As I have said before, targeting individual foods for obesity and passing legislation to that effect is completely missing the point. It is overall diet, not individual foods that causes the problem. Whatever it is - donuts, a McDonald's beef burger, a packet of crisps, chocolate bar, biscuit etc - can all be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle as long as they aren't eaten to excess and you eat a variety of things with a good portion of veg thrown in every day. In fact, if I had my way I would drop this term 'junk food' as at the end of the day all food is nutrition and, again if not eaten to excess, your body will digest it, take what it can and get rid of the rest. Put it this way, if you were dying in the dessert of starvation and thirst, a Mars Bar and a can of Coke would keep you alive.
The problem is that Governments know this but they also know that people's eating habits are a product of culture and to change that requires years of work and education. However, passing legislation, blaming easy targets etc is comparatively quick, easy and looks good. And, of course, no one will be thinking of the money that can be made by introducing such taxes after a world-wide recession...no, it is all about Governments looking after our health out of the kindness of their hearts!
In the news, 12th Jan 2010
Jam and marmalade to be a luxury item? Maybe so with prices soaring and Britons favouring cheaper alternatives.
With the increased cost of glass production and raw ingredients, particularly sugar and fresh fruit, preserves have been hit hard forcing manufacturers to up the costs. Once widely eaten on toast at breakfast, the price hikes have caused the British public to favour cheaper alternatives. In addition to which, that other sweet treat of ours, honey, has suffered from increased prices and decreased sales due to shortages of bees.
However, not all is lost for the market, chocolate spread seems to have remained a firm favourite with the public and sales have increased.
According to statistics reported in the Daily Mail:
Overall price increase of spreads: Up to 14% (from the journal 'The Grocer')
Average total sales for spreads: down 2.1 %
David Atkinson, of Premier Foods - Britain's largest food producer, which includes brands such as Sun-Pat and Gale's - said: 'It is about habit. People want a quick bowl of cereal to get out the door as fast as they can.'
Quite honestly, I haven't really noticed the price hikes. Certainly, walking into Tesco the other day and paying £1.42 for my beloved Frank Cooper's Original Oxford Marmalade didn't seem such a bad deal at the time and still doesn't considering its quality and the fact that it will cover many a slice of toast.
Speaking to friends of mine about this who I know regularly buy preserves, they were seemingly unaware of the price increases also. But maybe that's just me and my friends.
Whatever the case, I think there is more to this than price...as Mr. Atkinson alluded to, our lifestyles have changed with many of us either grabbing a quick bowl of cereal or skipping breakfast all together.
So a plead to all TGBD readers...support our preserves, your country needs you!!
In the news, 11th Jan 2010
Customer: What's on the menu today? Waiter: Beans on Toast. Customer: And? Waiter: Beans on Toast...oh, and if you are good, maybe some pepper or Ketchup!
A cafe in East London has opened that sells only beans on toast and it has proven a massive hit with the British public. According to a Daily Mal article, the cafe has been made to look as child-friendly as possible with children's drawings on the walls and staff playing 'mums' and 'dads'. Although you will have to quick if you want to get your beans as the cafe has opened in aid of charity for only 4 days.
TGBD Response: Classics never fail to attract a crowd. When I was younger and out with the family I remember my annoyance over not being able to find, what I called, 'plain food'. The number of times I wanted something like a ham and cheese sandwich only to find that all manner of other stuff had been thrown in to tart it up and justify a ludicrous price tag.
Thankfully, I have recently discovered the wonderful lunch menu at our newly done-up Co-op where beans on toast, plain sandwiches, sausage and bacon sarnies, jacket potatoes etc. are the order of the day. And, just like this 'Beans on Toast' cafe in London, our Co-Op cafe is always full of people showing there is a definite demand for this type of stuff. So here's to hoping we see more of this type thing in the future.
Survey highlights the fast food binging habits of students.
A survey done by a Sociology student at the University of Leicestershire, showed that the majority of students, many having to fend for themselves for the first time and with low budgets, turn to fast food for nourishment instead of proper, homecooked meals. Moreover, the survey showed that men are worse than women.
Miss Cooper, the student who did the survey, stated: "Students might be tired and not feel like cooking. Fast food marketing makes it very accessible, and if several students combine to order fast food together then it becomes an even cheaper option.
"At home their parents probably provided their meals. They come to university and have to start managing and budgeting for themselves.
"They didn't seem to have the knowledge of how to manage money in relation to food, and fast food was sometimes seen as cheaper than cooking.
"They knew that fast food was less healthy than home cooked food, but that knowledge wasn't strong enough to override their lifestyle."
TGBD Response: Students...those young men and women who suddenly find themselves having to fend for themselves, with no parents telling them to eat their greens, with truck loads of piazza delivery companies advertising their wares and, on the most part, with little knowledge of cooking...turn to fast food for quick, easy meals...wow, now that is a surprise!
During my first year of university, I can distinctly remember how, for seemingly everyone but me, the Pot Noodle reigned supreme. Speaking with other students at the time, I was and still am stunned at how little they knew about cooking at the most basic level...just one example of this was when a boy tried to cook pasta in the kettle for lack of a saucepan (and brains!). And, in general (and I'm careful to say this as I know some students do well in the kitchen), my friends who went to other universities recall the same sort of experiences.
I was lucky, I grew up enjoying wonderful homecooked delights everyday and received a cooking education courtesy of my mother. However, this grew out of a rather traditional family model where my mother stayed at home to bring up my sister and I and had the time and energy to cook. My mother will tell me now how, even amongst a lot of her friends, the traditional cooking knowledge has either been forgotten or put aside because of the fast paced, work-orientated, no-time-to-cook culture that we find ourselves in and that lends itself so well to convenience food.
However, not all is lost, I vote for schools to get rid of those 'food classes' I grew up with where the focus was on the nutritional content and marketing of dishes and replace them with the Home Economics classes of old where the fundamentals of preparing food were prioritised.
That said, here at TGBD we believe everything is okay in moderation and the only problem here is the extreme to which convenience food is sometimes eaten over traditional, homecooked fare. Like they do in my own life, both can happily coexist without being detrimental to our health and lifestyles...put it this way, I will spend time making Shepherd's Pie but if someone asks me for baked beans I know what I am doing...opening a can of Heinz!
In the news, 9th Jan 2010
Food stocks affected by snow
Food deliveries continue to be effected with the cold temperatures and snow not going anywhere prompting TGBD fears of shortages!
TGBD Response: So I trudge through the snow this morning, walk into my local store to replenish much diminished biscuit stocks to be confronted by a horrible sight...an AWOL biscuit section - not a Digestive, HobNob or Custard Cream in sight...cause for great distress. Have we got a national biscuit crisis? Well no, the situation was quickly remedied by a trip to the supermarket.
This said, stocks of certain foods in certain areas of the country are affected and here at TGBD I have a duty to think of my readers. Not wanting anyone to risk starvation, I advise you to stock up on tea and all manner of tinned, boxed and frozen goods. If you aren't the one doing the shopping, then this is a fantastic opportunity to convince your parents or other half to bulk buy all sorts of goodies.
After shopping, go make yourself a well deserved cuppa, think of all the wonderful goodies now in your cupboards and freezers and enjoy the snow carefree.
Never say I don't try to look after my readers!
In the news, 8th Jan 2010
Man crashes car into cafe to get his bacon
In American news today, 91-year old Charles Pierece reportedly crashed his car into a cafe and sat down to order his bacon and eggs breakfast.
According to AOL's Asylum article, " Pierce - who we wish was our granddad - had popped out for breakfast at Biscuits 'N' Gravy in Florida, when a 'parking mishap' occurred and he drove through the glass front of the cafe.
Calmly, he got out of his car - which was half in the cafe and surrounded by broken glass and rubble - and ordered his pancakes and bacon, or whatever is the breakfast of heroes.
Staff say Pierce even insisted on having a table near to the accident, so he could keep an eye on his motor."
TGBD Response: Guess this takes the 'drive-through' concept to a whole new level! I salute the man for his devotion to one of our most beloved creations but I advise him to make his sarnie at home next time.
Lord's weigh in on manufacturer's "secretive" nanotech research
Food manufacturers are constantly looking in to ways of cutting calories in our favourite convenience foods without jeopardising flavour and nanotechnology might just prove to be the holy grail based on the well known principle that the smaller something gets the bigger the surface area. In the case of sugar, salt and fat molecules, the greater surface area the more flavour thereby allowing food manufacturers to obtain the same taste with considerably less sugar, fat and salt! On top of that, nanotechnology can be utilised to extend product-life.
Pretty nifty...however, the effect of nanotechnology on the human body is poorly understood and food manufacturer's secrecy over their research in to it has the Lords science and technology committee decidedly twitchy. They are now urging government and research councils to look much more deeply in to manufacturer's activities.
TGBD Response: Reduced-calorie doughnuts...now where is the fun in that! To me, the allure of certain food is in their fat-rich, sugar-rich taste that makes you think "...I shouldn't really, but...".
That aside, I would like to see a lot better understanding of the impact of nanotechnology on the body before it is even considered for use in our foods...at the moment, I feel what seems a ' cool idea' is far ahead of what we know and action without understanding is a very dangerous thing indeed.
In the news, 7th Jan 2010
Men find women who down a pint more attractive
The Sun newspaper, who can always be counted on for reporting on the things that really matter, conducted a survey of men which showed that the majority found women who drunk a pint more attractive than those that don't.
TGBD Response: Setting aside the issue of how scientific Sun surveys are, this raises an interesting point. Undoubtedly, the pint is a British icon and a part of every trip to the pub but sitting there in the pub would I necessarily find a women with lips covered in white froth as she gulps down a pint more attractive than one sipping elegantly on a glass of wine...not really, but whatever does it for you.
In the news, 6th Jan 2010
Bacon + Eggs = Birth of a genius
A study at the University of Carolina claims that by eating bacon and eggs pregnant women could help encourage healthy brain development in their babies.
A team of scientists showed that a chemical called choline, prevalent in both bacon and eggs, helps the fetus develop areas of the brain associated with memory.
“We may never be able to call bacon a health food with a straight face, but the emerging field of epigenetics is already making us rethink those things that we consider healthful and unhealthful,” said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal.
TGBD Response: I said this is the best diet in the world!! Chocolate and tea have been shown to be full of all sorts of wonderful things for us and now two of our staple foods are shown to be good for the old ticker! What will they discover next I wonder, brown sauce helps cure cancer or custard combats osteoporosis...we can only dream! As they say...all things in moderation are good for you.
But as things stand, pregnant women should rejoice and cook up a nice bacon and egg sandwich for lunch without a slither of guilt....lucky so and so's.
Kraft's bid for Cadbury
As many of you will know, Kraft is bidding for Cadbury and there has been many people either side of the pond voicing their opinions on the matter. Undoubtedly this will stretch itself out for a bit longer and, in the meantime, we will just have to wait and see what happens. And, if the takeover does happen, then, being the eternal optimist I am, we have to remain positive and trust that Kraft will respect the products, history and employees that make Cadbury so great.
In the news, 5th Jan 2010
What's on your bacon sandwich?
National radio station, TalkSport, today conducted a poll of its listeners over the significant matter of whether you should top your bacon sarnie with Brown Sauce or Tomato Ketchup. After hours of voting, it was announced that Ketchup had won by a whopping 90%.
TGBD Response: This is truly shocking. Putting the red stuff on bacon sarnie - deary, deary me. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Ketchup and it is always in my store cupboard for the likes of fish fingers. However, growing up I have known that, as sure as night follows day, Brown Sauce is for meat (sausages and bacon i.e. not your Sunday Roast!) and Ketchup is for fish (often of the finger variety) with eggs in no man's land. Really, people have soooo much to learn!
The Great British Diet (TGBD) Website Launches
First off, if you are not a relative or friend of mine, I don't know how you quite did it but congratulations on finding my website and, secondly, Happy New Year and the warmest of TGBD welcomes.
As you will find out in the 'About' section of this site, I love reminiscing about the food I grew up with, whether it be my mother's homecooked delights or those iconic branded products I pestered my mum for as we made our way down the supermarket isles. Moreover, I am fascinated by food history, media and packaging so I thought it was time to put these interests of mine to good use and create a website.
It's all meant to be a bit of fun so I hope you enjoy the site. Please bear in mind that, at the moment, TGBD is in its infancy, however, I'll be adding articles as quickly as I can eat and write.
Finally, as much as I like reminiscing, I like it even more when done with friends so please feel free to contact me...maybe to just say hello, give a word of support or to add your own memories and recipes for inclusion on the website...whatever the case, I look forward to hearing from you and making some new friends.
Fellow food bloggers: