Aug 2, 2017
I've still had the idea of excess rolling around in my head and I really believe that with everything being so readily available we've become consumers of excess. I found the terms 'flexitarian' and 'part-time carnivore'. As much as I think these are great initiatives to encourage people to think about their meat consumption, it just seems another way to stick a label on how we eat. To me, having one or two meat-free days a week is all well and good, but if we still aren't connecting with where any of our food comes from and making a conscious choice about what we consume, it is going to help the farmers, producers and ultimately the world?
Aug 8, 2017
In Britain we now spend on average less than 10% of our household income on food - this is historically unprecedented. We might be eating out more and buying more takeaways but we have lost sight of the true value of what we eat and pay less and less for our food. .
This is Massimo Bacci, the first artisan butcher I visited in Italy. Here he is explaining how they run their family business in Tuscany and talked us through their sausage making process. He doesn't use nitrates or nitrites to preserve the meat and often they eat their sausages raw. These chemicals are carcinogenic and unnecessary for a tasty, safe end product. But one bad batch of any of their products would put them in serious financial trouble and damage their livelihood. We now cover our tracks filling food with preservatives and chemicals to make them more appealing to consumers and to minimise risk for producers - to the detriment of our health.
Aug 13, 2017
I've just been to Spain - mostly for a stint in the sun but whilst I was there I visited this little family business. They told me about la matanza — literally, the killing of a pig. It's an ancient ritual that is in danger of dying out amid an influx of commercial abattoirs and modern supermarkets. "Matar means 'to kill' in Spanish — but the word 'matanza' actually refers to the whole process that takes two to three days, which starts with the actual slaughtering and involves the seasoning and curing of the meat. These age-old practices carry with them a very complicated ecological understanding, and an intimate engagement with the environment, because technology has not penetrated the agricultural landscape like in the same way as the US or U.K. With this tradition you can see the future in the past. This is a practice that has lasted thousands of years and is therefore highly sustainable and deeply rooted in the culture.
Aug 14, 2017
Everyone without exception believes his own native customs, and the religion he was brought up in to be the best...There is abundant evidence that this is the universal feeling about the ancient customs of one's country. When Darius was king of Persia, he summoned the Greeks who happened to be present at his court and asked them what they would take to eat the dead bodies of their fathers. They replied they would not do it for all the money in the world. Later in the presence of the Greeks and through an interpreter, Darius asked some Indians, who do in fact eat their parents' dead bodies, what they would take to burn them. They uttered a cry of horror and forbade him to mention such a dreadful thing.
. - Herodotus, The Histories, Book 3
A somewhat extreme example but still very relevant now to how we hold our own customs and to some extent beliefs to be superior to others. Even what we do and don't eat comes under scrutiny and attack now. By trying to understand these other ideas instead of simply dismissing them, we can open ourselves up to fascinating conversations.
Aug 17, 2017
Another amazing haul of 'waste' for free to feed to our piggly pigs. Amazing news this week that slaughterhouses are now to all have CCTV installed, but it makes you wonder why there aren't strict enough rules in place anyway to ensure animal abuse doesn't occur. Unfortunately in huge operations the workers can become desensitised to the fact that they're dealing with living, breathing creatures due to the amount of animals they are churning through each day. This is just one of the factors that can lead to serious animal abuse. A good step in the right direction but a lot more still to be done, including the factories where most of these animals come from.
Aug 27, 2017
Have you ever seen such a colourful breakfast!! It's so pleasing to be giving our pigs everything we don't eat and they absolutely LOVE juicy watermelon, cabbage and carrots. They're also starting to benefit from the apples and pears in the orchard which are slowly starting to drop. One of them is definitely very keen on getting her five a day and will go straight in for the greens over their regular food. We also made some mozzarella using raw cows milk the other day - the piggies got the whey to drink and they were in HEAVEN!
Aug 29, 2017
These piggies are getting so friendly now. It's so good to know exactly what's going into them and how happy they are - which is hopefully going to give us delicious meat. They're just starting to get all the fallen fruit from the trees - pears are definitely winning over the apples, probably because they're sweeter. They seem to be growing very well, but we still aren't exactly sure how long we need to keep them. Everyone I've visited in Italy, Spain and Sweden keep their pigs for much longer than we do in the U.K., partly for more fat for making salami and cured meat. I do want to make some of these things so any suggestions on time frames?