Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

GREATLY Daring, My Mother [...]; COLUMNIST

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

GREATLY Daring, My Mother [...]; COLUMNIST

Article excerpt


GREATLY daring, my mother left the UK for the first and last time in her life for a day trip to France in the mid-1980s.

Naturally expecting to be served a plate of snails and frogs' legs for her lunch, she reported back with pleased surprise: "And do you know what? They eat frozen peas, just like we do."

Even the greatest food snobs are happy to consume frozen peas because they are tastier than the fresh ones, unless you go the trouble of growing, picking and shelling them yourself.

How could it be otherwise, when the frozen alternative goes from field to freezer in less than three hours, locking in all its freshness and goodness? The same goes for most other frozen vegetables, fish and meat. The food-conscious French are well aware of this. Picard, a retail chain selling high-quality frozen food, including gourmet ready meals, is a national institution across the Channel.

In Northumberland, a complex of chest freezers was key to the year-round self-sufficiency of the smallholders who lived next door to me for many years.

But in Britain frozen food is widely dismissed as cheap fodder for those who can afford nothing better: pizzas containing "analogue cheese", dairy-free ice cream and the massively derided turkey twizzler.

I regularly read middle class mummy bloggers priding themselves on never giving little Tristram and Jemima frozen food, because it is "full of E-numbers and nasty additives" when that is the one thing it is not. Freezing obviates the need to add the preservatives that stop fresh-prepared food from killing you.

So, yes, I am a big believer in "The Power of Frozen", to drop in the name of the advertising campaign currently being run by my friends at Iceland Foods in an attempt to shift British prejudices.

But even I have to draw the line somewhere. And that line is defi-nitely before last week's lunatic suggestion from "bioethicist" Dr Kevin Smith that all males should bank their sperm at the age of 18 to avoid the risks associated with fathering children in later life.

By which he means not just obvious old codgers like me, but anyone who has made it beyond their 30s. …

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