Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Huw Lewis Column

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Huw Lewis Column

Article excerpt

Byline: By Huw Lewis

I hate the smell of hamburgers frying in the city air a it smells to me of failure.

That greasy, hungry fragrance that wafts out from the global fast food outlets draws me in to a whole landscape of lost opportunity.

I cannot help but see within it the failure of parents to inspire their children by anything more than the offer of a salty, warm damp meal within its day-glo halls, glossed with disposable toys packaged by marketing teams to sell the latest disposable Hollywood blockbuster.

I see the failure of families themselves ( a trail of separation and divorce that has led them through the "golden arches of happiness" where children are exchanged between estranged parents unable to comprehend what has set them apart. I see fathers mournfully watching their children devour the last limp fries, before they must part with their own flesh and blood for another lonely, empty week.

But I see more than this: I see swathes of twenty-somethings ( clever professionals among them ( whose understanding of food has been reduced to the point where being adventurous means choosing between the chemically-enhanced condiments that vary the taste of their pallid discs of beef.

Young men and women who do not realise the "chicken" nuggets they oven-bake at home have more water, biscuit and shreds of pork forced from the bones of pigs than they do chicken ( and would not care much even if they did know.

I see the failure of our culture to resist this culinary invasion ( to persuade our children that fresh fruit and vegetables can be more appetising than their freeze-dried alternatives encased in a soggy-seed bun. To retain and value local grocers and cafes selling distinct local produce rather than accept this creeping globalism ( the same soggy bun in Sunderland and Sacramento, Durham and Dar-Es-Salaam.

I see the failure of the burger-mulchers to get out of bed in time to eat a proper breakfast, relying instead on a carbohydrate fix that will sustain them for two hours at best. …

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