Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Next Generation Must Be Taught to Get to Grips with Their Knobbly Veg

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Next Generation Must Be Taught to Get to Grips with Their Knobbly Veg

Article excerpt

Byline: KATE FOX

IWALKED around the greengrocers in a bit of a daze yesterday. I prefer going to the supermarket to be honest, where the fruit and veg doesn't look too much like it's been grown in actual soil.

I picked up a bunch of carrots that still had their green leafy tops on and were all different knobbly shapes and a bit muddy.

I put them down. Then I passed packets of new potatoes. Some were black and scary looking and labelled "Unwashed potatoes" some were smooth and enticing and labelled "Washed potatoes".

They were the same price. My mind boggled greatly as to why anyone would voluntarily buy some dirt to take home with them. Then I walked over to the apricots and figs.

There was a cloud of little flies above them.

I walked away again. I concluded that, even though I believe in supporting local farmers and breaking the monopoly of the supermarkets, I have been spoiled by years of shopping in the strip-lit, sterile environments of the big chains and thus have become scared of actual produce.

It made me think of Jamie Oliver and all the flak he's getting for suggesting that people on low incomes should spend less money on big tellies and more money on healthy food.

He is right, of course, and has been trying to help that happen by running cookery courses in deprived areas and writing low-cost recipes.

The trouble is, that it's not just the income that is the problem when it comes to diet. It's the habits that get ingrained. For a couple of years when I was doing my A-levels I lived in a bedsit with no cooking facilities and I couldn't afford a microwave.

I ate free school meals at lunchtime, turkey rolls from the bakery for tea, a cheap Chinese from my schoolfriend Jenny's takeaway on Saturday nights, and fish and chips on Sunday nights.

Funnily enough, this didn't then set me up for an independent adult life of creating my own mango fruit salad.

Even if a jolly, well-meaning, hard-working mockney chef had come to teach me how to roll out my own pasta, I had some deeply ingrained beliefs about how the local chippy was a better provider of sustenance than I ever could be. …

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