Wednesday, 16 June 2010

I can mash potato (I can mash potato)

The long journey to wean myself off convenience food has begun. Last night, instead of being incredibly lazy and buying ready made mashed potato, I made it. (And yes, from potatoes grown with 100 miles of London). A small step for man, a big step for me.

OK, not really a big step as mashed potato is the easiest thing is the world to make and even I should never feel the need to buy it ready made. However, the reliance on convenience food did get me wondering, is there such a thing as ethical convenience food? The short answer is no. And I suspect the long answer is also no – too much energy to produce, too much packaging, not very many organic or local produce used, no fair trade ready meals, 10 tons of salt. I could go on. So I guess if I am going to keep this ethical eating up, I am going to really have to up the cooking!

However, while googling ethical convenience food, I stumbled across the concept of Slow Food. Slow Food is a worldwide movement, that has 3 key principles – it believes food should be the following:


The word good can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For Slow Food, the idea of good means enjoying delicious food created with care from healthy plants and animals. The pleasures of good food can also help to build community and celebrate culture and regional diversity.


When we talk about clean food, we are talking about nutritious food that is as good for the planet as it is for our bodies. It is grown and harvested with methods that have a positive impact on our local ecosystems and promotes biodiversity.


We believe that food is a universal right. Food that is fair should be accessible to all, regardless of income, and produced by people who are treated with dignity and justly compensated for their labour.
Sounds good and exactly the sort of thing that Ethically Challenged should be looking at. But how do we do it? It’s a lot to think about when you’re rushing to the supermarket, after a long day at work, longing for a bit of alone time with the TV.

Also the clean bit – how do we know if something was harvested to have a positive impact on our local ecosystem and promote biodiversity? It’s not exactly the sort of thing that’s splashed on the label. The slow food website, whilst containing lots of helpful and useful information, doesn’t really explain in much detail how to put this into practice.

Essentially, I think it’s about buying free range, organic, fair trade and that tough one again – LOCAL. So not massively different from the 100 mile diet then.

However, as we discovered with our World Cup party, it is all about planning and not very helpful if you want to pop to the shops on your way home from work. To keep this up you really need quite big lifestyle changes. Still, the point of doing this blog was to see how easy or difficult ethical living is. So this weekend, as Renata and I sit down to the football, I am challenging myself to bring a home cooked, seasonal, local dish (but don’t worry Renata, I won’t force you to eat it!)

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