Are you on a gluten-free diet, a Banting diet or a paleo diet? Do you follow a vegan diet or a vegetarian diet? Do you only ever eat raw food and never heat your meal above 60 degrees centigrade? Are you on a fat free diet or a zero-sugar diet? How about the 5-2 diet? Don’t think I’ve gone bananas if I ask: have you ever gone on the banana diet? It does exist – or it used to.
There are literally hundreds of different food fads for us to chose from. Although they all differ and proscribe different eating diktats there is one unifying theme that they all share: a common desire to eat only natural, real food to stay in tip-top condition. This was a problem our ancestors rarely faced. The only food available to them stemmed from nature. Admittedly our ancestors dabbled in cross-breeding but the results of these attempts matured over a considerable period of time – in some cases centuries rather than one or two years.
Our modern developed world has thrown mud into the waters of clear thinking when it comes to food. Where once we felt confident in our food choices now we are hesitant, uncertain and confused. Where once we understood that certain plants and animals were toxic and were to be avoided now we doubt about the safety of eating meat, butter, milk and grains. Where once we ate a diet of food now we have to qualify that by urging consumers to eat a diet of “real” food. Of course food should be real! If not what are we eating? Plastic?
What happened? Where did it all go wrong? Why are there now so many food fads? When did the food we eat dislodge itself from the soil and drift off into atmosphere to waft from one current to the next with no hook to anchor itself to? Our food stems from the earth, from the ground. It does not belong in the stratosphere. How can we bring food back down to earth where it belongs and have a more common sense approach to our eating habits rather than resorting to a banana diet?
In the over-crowded shrill arena of food commentary this is my small attempt to set out the story of food to help you understand our modern food choices. As is usual in these cases there is no one linear, straight-forward answer. To help us understand how food became less grounded I would like to tell the story of food through the voice of different literary genres. I hope you find it entertaining – entertaining enough to want to read the next chapter in the story of food.
Master in the Kitchen is not just a cook book or a food blog – it is a fook book or fook blog, combing food knowledge with recipes. Understand food and then you can begin to master your own creative recipes. Understand food and it will help you to transform your home-made dishes into mouth watering meals that can compete with the best of them – but let us begin at the beginning and hear what the Classicist has to say about how food was eaten in a pre-industrial era.