I hate the moniker “Foodie”, we’re all foodies – hell, all of us like to eat, right?
But there’s a difference between those who like to eat “good” food, and those who like to eat anything – including many with a heavy diet of processed foods.
What I’m most concerned about is the, hopefully small, amount of families who have their kids under the impression that processed foods, like McDonalds or fish fingers and chips, are “a treat”.
“We’ll go to McDonald’s if you’re a good boy”, “You can have a turkey burger tomorrow if you eat your salad now” – these are things that I have overheard parents saying to their kids over the years.
To me, a good salad or a roast dinner with vegetables is a treat; having to eat processed foods is something I do not relish and only happens when I do not have the opportunity to have something better – I don’t even believe that it comes down to cost, as this is often what I hear people blaming it on – “fish fingers are cheap”, “chips are inexpensive” – well, a couple of vegetables aren’t expensive either. At Cardiff central market £2.50 spent at the vegetable stalls could feed a family of 4 with ease – I have made a stew which has lasted two of us for 3 days before now with only £6; £2 for vegetables and £4 for stewing beef.
I believe that McDonald’s advertising over the past twenty years, coupled with that of the larger processed food companies – like McCain and Bernard Matthews, along with the major supermarkets have conditioned a lot of us, and with knock-on effect to our kids – to believe that a piece of meat that you can barely call meat is the definition of tasty eating, and that salad is something you have to eat or else you’ll be called a fat bastard – and for them it’s purely because of the difference in profit margin. You can make far more money per chicken once you have ravaged it to the bone, gristle and all – than you can per lettuce. We’re just the collateral damage, the unquestioning consumer.