A Call to Arms

Wednesday 16/3/2005

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Diary and Notes

I don't have children, but if I did, I would have a tendency towards being one of those irritating parents who feed their children free range this and organic that. I would (to the annoyance of all my friends who have children) not allow them to eat sweets, nor take them out for MacDonalds (ever) and their diet would never include chicken nibbles, cheese dippers, potato tyrannosaurs or turkey gobblers. I, like a growing number of people, cannot understand why, if we don't eat those things ourselves, we are willing to feed them to children.

I have recently been watching Jamie's School Dinners and for what little my voice is worth I would like wholeheartedly to congratulate him on raising this issue and doing something about it. There's a lobbying campaign trying to get the government to take school food more seriously on: feed me better and I wish him well.

I don't think however that Jamie Oliver goes far enough. The problem isn't just with school dinners, the problem is everywhere. The people of Britain (and many people I know who are Americans too) don't have any idea how to cook nor what actually consitutes a balanced, healthy diet.

I'm not in any way suggesting people are forced into changing their habits. If somebody wants to live on a diet of fat, salt and sugar, then who am I to stop them? But I would like them to know enough about what they are eating and what their body's actual requirements are, in order to give them the chance to make an informed choice.

What I would really like to do (and if anyone wants to join me in setting up a terrorist/kidnapping organisation my email address is below) is get the directors of companies like Kraft, Danone, Unilever etc. and make them eat their own products. These high flying executives, with multi million dollar salaries, who can afford personal chefs and dine in the finest restaurants on the planet should be made to live on whatever their companies produce. I don't mean every day and every meal. Three times a week would be enough. Three times a week the CEO of Kraft foods (for instance) would have to eat Dairylea Lunchables for lunch. Bernard Matthews would have to eat his now infamous turkey twizzlers and whoever owns McCain foods would be having potato waffles or potato smiles and some other muck that they produce.

Most of these products are as harmful in the long run as injecting heroin and due to the massive amounts of sugar and fat, they're probably almost as addictive.

The drug anology is a good one. It's a bit like a drug dealer who isn't a user, selling crack cocaine. I have sympathy for people who are drug addicts and end up selling to feed their habit, but to be peddling this for profit is indefensible. The argument that if they don't sell this stuff, somebody else will, doesn't wash either. That argument doesn't work for drug dealers in court and it shouldn't work for the directors of food companies producing processed foodstuffs with no nutritional value and near toxic levels of additives.

As an example, here's the ingredients list for Sunny Delight, a drink which is aimed at children and most people think is just a blend of fruit juices (Note the juice content is about 8%).

Water, Fructose (Fruit sugar), Corn Syrup, Concentrated Juices (Orange, Tangerine, Apple, Lime, Grapefruit), Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Beta-Carotene, Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Natural Flavours, Modified Starch, Canola Oil, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Benzoate, Colours (E102 (Tartrazine), E110 (Sunset Yellow))

You could say "But what's wrong with adding vitamin C for instance?" and I would say "If you drank orange juice, (which is cheaper and tastes better) you would get all the vitamin C and more."

Oh, and the sugar content in Sunny D is actually higher than that of Coca-Cola. (see bbc.co.uk)

Now where's my black balaclava and crowbar?

Cake Blog

Instant Apricot Melba: Vanilla ice cream mixed with apricot yoghurt and desiccated coconut, with strawberry sauce and chopped nuts.


  • Blisteringly Hot Chicken
  • Brown Rice
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa


  • Chicken thighs, olive oil, green chillis, tomato sauce (left over from yesterday), fresh coriander.


  • Brown the chicken in a little olive oil. Roughly chop lots of green chillis and add to the pan and fry these as well until a little blistered on the outside. Add the tomato sauce and simmer gently for 3/4 an hour. Chop the coriander (lots of it) and add then leave to stew for another 3 mins. The final result should be a thick, green looking sauce of mostly chillis and coriander. If you've added enough chilli, it should be just hot enough to make you cry.