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As long as it’s not controversial…..

Fresian Cattle

Ok, “foodies”, especially “foodies” in Ireland, listen up.  I don’t like to lecture or tell anyone what to do, as each to their own, but for this post, I will.  My problem is with the unnerving deaf ears and tumbleweed among food bloggers in Ireland about the recent horsemeat/labelling scandal.

Here’s the *beef*.. I am tired of the so-called foodies in Ireland seemingly ignoring the issues which have arisen lately in this country.  It’s all very well to post pretty blogs with *fab* pictures, tied up in lovely bows, with great backdrops, and props.  If you are not ready to offer an opinion about real Food, can you still call yourself a “Foodie”??

A few folks in my Twitter timeline and FB friends have expressed, and continue to express opinions on this subject.  These are free-range pig farmers, dairy/beef farmers, free-range chicken farmers, and those Chefs and Restaurateurs who support their local proper artisan products.  As for the rest, well, as long as it includes invitations to tastings/restaurant openings/book launches, and the like, and nothing which involves anything remotely controversial, well, that seems to be ok.

I’ve left comments on truly great blogs and posts, here and there, which I follow, but, sadly, I rarely see any Irish “food bloggers” following suit.

As long as everything is pretty and lovely, and includes free stuff, well, why would you want to even bother with silly things like labelling, scandals, etc.

I just think that “food bloggers” could be such a powerful lobby, and cannot understand why that is not the case.

If you buy cheap, as my Mam used to say, you buy twice.  If it tastes bland and horrible, well, there’s a reason for that….  There are great lesser cuts of meat which are not available, as our butchers cannot stock those, as either we don’t know about them, or don’t know how to cook them, therefore, there is no demand.  Education is the key.  I just wish – a pipe dream, I know – that a cookery or food education could be offered from an early age in our schools.

I am not an authority on this subject, by any means, but to see our farmers having to adhere so strictly to dotting their “i’s” and crossing their “t’s” so carefully, and documenting every animal they care for, before they enter the food chain is an “eye-opener” for me, as a consumer.  How our diligent farmers feel, if they get something wrong, and face huge fines, is beyond my comprehension.

It seems disgusting to me that these amazing  farmers who have spent blood, sweat and tears, are sending their well-documented animals in good faith, off for processing to abattoirs/processing plants which may be adding cheap and inferior ingredients just for pure profit.

So, here’s the line in the sand….  get out there, buy local, to your area, county, or country.  For a few Euros more, you could be buying/eating/cooking quality ingredients.

It’s not rocket science, people, it never was, and never will be.

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27 thoughts on “As long as it’s not controversial…..

  1. The food education that Bord Bia offers in the form of “Food Dudes” is actually very good. It’s aimed at primary school kids. I feel the Home Economics curriculum is horribly out of date in places and I’d love to see it changed. Unfortunately according to research from BB, 75% of children’s food knowledge and education comes from their parents, which leaves a huge gap between food, children & the home which I’m not will be crossed by any government body.

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    1. I hate the food dudes – just had a 4 year old come home in floods of tears yesterday as the only child in the class not to get a prize because she would not finish the detested raw green peppers. Screw them – now off to buy her a barbie because she tried the green peppers which is all that should be asked.

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      1. Sounds very odd to do that to a 4 year old. She deserves her Barbie for not refusing point blank to even try the peppers. Not the way to “educate” children whatsoever.

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      2. Jesus..why would they make them eat a raw green pepper. Fair play to her for tasting it …not a fan of the Food Dudes either but really believe unless it is put into practice at home it does not matter what they try to teach them in school at that age.

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    2. Thanks for your comment, Caítríona. It does stem from education, and not just generally, as you say at school curriculum level. As for the Government Depts., well, an attitute of “if it ‘ain’t broke, don’t fix it” abounds.

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  2. Great post Colette … And you are right. As food bloggers we have the power to educated and share information and it need not be all smiles and roses. Duly noted … I will work on something soon xx

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Móna. I don’t often (if ever) write posts like this, but with the lack of conversation and comment among “foodies”, it just made me wonder.

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  3. Well done, if only more people had the courage, like you, to write truthfully about the food we buy,ie meat the industry would be in a much better place.

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  4. What can I say,..totally agree with all points.The blindfolded attitude of most “Lunching Foodie’s” is insulting to those that read their blogs hoping perhaps to be guided or learn something about our wonderful life sustaining food. But in truth its impossible to learn anything from people like these. .
    Writing about food is completely different from posting recipes.Writing about food is about having a love affair with the very stuff that keeps one alive. It’s about a true awareness of the environment in which we and our food need in order to thrive and flourish.
    The ability of a writer to change and influence people is their greatest strength, but that ability is on their knowledge and love of subject.
    The present meat scandals are of great concern because of a number of issues.Most importantly ” What else is in the food you buy”.
    well said Collette..

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Alfie. As Dee said, most are “worried” to write about anything controversial. Why that is, I do not know. As for what’s in our food, well, I feel ill when I see words like “emulsified” or “formed” on a label. Complacency by the public and profiteering by processors led to this food scandal fiasco.

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  5. Excellent post. Have felt the same for a long while that most are too worried to write (or care) about anything other than the frilly things (though I do appreciate no one wants to rock the boat too much either). When Old Farm’s Alfie did his talk about GM at a foodie day there were hardly any listeners, they were all at the tasting talks. But this is our food, the stuff that keeps us alive we’re talking about! Well done highlighting it Colette.

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    1. I agree Dee but wouldn’t it be refreshing to rock the boat sometimes and have healthy debates on the subject. GM is an issue that is going to be recurring again and if the weight of all foodie bloggers was against it (rather than blogging about their breaks to Inchydoney and not disclosing that it was a freebie or the freebies they’ve received) it would surely make a difference. I don’t read many food blogs and have to admit the pretty pictures and reviews on freebies are part of the reason.

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      1. Totally Lorna. I know I was quite tame in my own post about it and could have said more. Perhaps Colette has freed us all with this post and bloggers might start to say what they mean and not what they feel they should say!

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    2. Thanks Dee. I think there are far too many out there not willing to rock the boat, and that’s the problem! I had heard about Alfie’s talk not being as well attended as had been hoped, and I was surprised, but, really, most are not interested in GMO’s etc., Sure, it won’t affect them……….!!!

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  6. I’d heard about the food dudes but they never came to my kids school for some reason. My 10 year old is ridiculously fussy (even though he ate everything we ate till about 2) and my daughter tries everything so I’d have loved him to have tried stuff in school that he mightn’t do for me though agree with Amee, trying it should be sufficient.
    Our local abbatoir used to have 2 skips of meat a week that Irish don’t eat – offal, bones, cheap cuts etc. He has reduced that to less than one skip a week as lots of Nigerians (and from other countries) visit and buy the cuts that we don’t eat.
    I have a page on my blog entitled ‘why farmers should blog’ as I feel farmers should be blogging to show the world why Irish food is special, show pictures of their cattle and lambs out in green fields etc. Foodie bloggers get a huge following and their niche is hugely popular, and growing with the use of pinterest and I agree with your point, food bloggers do have a responsibility to educate and perhaps that could start with cooking good food cheaply. I made a soup and stew from Marian Hearne’s recipe some time ago, stew first day and then pureed it and added more liquid for a soup and it cost about €4. How more nutritious could you get, add homemade bread if you can and bob’s your uncle.
    I actually rarely read food blogs, I’m not at all interested in reading a complicated recipe and while the pictures are lovely to look at, mine rarely turn out as nice so I’m disillusioned from the start. Plus, I’m just not cooking so I do feel if I can manage to turn out a reasonably nutritious meal 13 days out of 14, then why can’t other people. I may be a chaotic multitasker but hey, don’t most women have the potential for that?

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  7. Obesity is a huge issue too and the Farmacy page on Facebook today highlighted 3 key ingredients in processed food that are cleverly disguised with other descriptions. – all ingredients that lead to obesity, diabetes etc. I hate seeing fat kids, I know I could lose about 2 stone but for a child to be fat, they really are likely to have healthy problems in later life. For kids to be overweight – who’s fault is it? Gotta be the parents. I look at my beautiful daugher who is a head taller than many of her classmates (takes after my grandmother’s side – all 6 footers) and she gets a pot belly for 3 or 4 days every so often and next thing it is gone (and she eats all around her, all of the time) as she’s had a growth spurt. I am a little concerned that when she stops growing, she’ll find it hard to keep weight off especially as she loves her food (which includes chocolate) so it is important to me that she also enjoys and eats food that is nutritious – and that she is able to cook it.
    Okay, nuff said and I’ve a final stocktaking to do 🙂

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    1. Thank you for your valid comments Lorna. I have snooped in other peoples trolleys at supermarkets, and when I see boxes of pizzas/pies, multi-packs of crisps and snacks, and not a vegetable or piece of fruit in sight, I just feel sorry for the children in those homes. You are right, most of the responsibility lies with parents, and the rest at school level.

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      1. My 12 year old has to make her choices at school now for the rest of her school life and home economics is one of them. I find it really hard to stomach (no pun intended) that food is considered an option when surely feeding ourselves is the one thing we should be able to do! The money saved in health care alone etc for governments/taxpayers surely has to place it higher on the agenda. I think people are very angry about the whole #horsegate issue and starting to question more. The hope is that they continue and don’t just fade back into complacency again once they’re fed up with it.

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  8. Well done Colette on a great post.

    I’ve avoided writing about the ‘horsegate’ saga, as I reckon the reaction would only be ‘there she goes again’!!!

    You are right…. education, education…. we’ve had children here who didn’t believe that you could eat raspberries or gooseberries straight from the bush!!!!!

    Heaven help us all!

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    1. Thank you Margaret. I wouldn’t think that way, as any of your Food posts are well founded, and totally valid 🙂 Skills have been lost over one generation, and it needs to be addressed properly by the Dept. of Education, in my opinion, at Primary school level.

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      1. They have made cakes and soup etc in my kids primary school, grew the veg and made the soup from it plus the senior classroom bakes for a coffee morning every year but it does need to be backed up by parents.

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    2. That’s why I left it for a while too Margaret, cos I knew when I started writing about #horsegate, I’d also be talking about ready meals etc! I’ll be back to pure farming posts next week :)Tbh, I always thought consumers of ready meals were people in their 20s, single, working long hours and partying with neither the time nor the knowledge to cook. Scary to think it happens in families

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      1. It was your post, Lorna, which encourage me to write mine 🙂 A few schools (not many, and mainly the smaller village schools) are planting vegetable gardens, which is great to see.

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