A Post for a Post

This year I’ve been working with The Ridge, a community interest company in my small town. We’ve been running a series of courses called the Plenty Project: these are composed of five classes in budgeting, nutrition and cooking, and are aimed at people with limited or no cooking skills who are working to a strict…

How to make your own kefir

Kefir is largely unfamiliar to those of us living in the West, and can initially sound a bit unappealing to our diets and lifestyles that emphasise sterility and clamping down on bacteria. It really isn’t: it has been drunk for millennia, often as a first weaning food given to babies, and tastes rather like a…

How to persuade fussy eaters to eat healthily

Some people are born with the genetic inclination to like certain foods, healthy or sugary. This might give a small advantage or disadvantage in learning to enjoy eating healthily, but the way we teach ourselves to eat (and it is teaching and learning) counts for much more. Apart from anything, having a child who is…

Bread Matters: a weekend of bread making

(Note – this post was written in November 2012, and has been copied over from my previous blog. All the information remains relevant and correct/corrected. Except the collection of bread below, all photos in this post were taken by Veronica Burke of Bread Matters.) I haven’t bought a sliced supermarket loaf in a long time, but…

TED Talk: Why dieting doesn’t usually work

Such a valuable video for anyone who’s ever beat themselves up because their diet didn’t work long term: There was once a time when what and how much I ate shadowed every waking moment of my day. Fortunately, that time ended years ago; I’m much the same weight now (I’ve never been overweight), but my relationship with food has…

Real Bread: Chorleywood, sourdough, intolerance, flavour and health

In July 2011, a loaf of ‘factory bread’ was carried across the common of Chorleywood, a picturesque village on the outskirts of London, to the Beaumont House Care Home to be settled into retirement. The stunt was part of the annual Chorleywood Village Day, and intended to symbolise the sun setting on the additive-laden, time-and-nutrient-poor supermarket…

Tips for making week-night cooking easy, interesting and less wasteful

How to make cooking every night of the week as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. Plan what you’re going to cook next week. This means you can make/marinade/prep ahead to make it easier on the night and more interesting meals possible, and also avoids that last minute panic at 6pm when you don’t have anything in…

Weaning

The NHS weaning page is an excellent introduction to weaning essentials, and Nikki Duffy’s River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook includes a thorough and thoroughly useful chapter on weaning, nutrition, different approaches and the benefits of doing-it-yourself rather than relying on shop-bought. I also highly recommend First Bite: How We Learn to Eat by Bee Wilson, a…

Why bother cooking?

  “Food preferences are learnt behaviour. Frequent, positive exposure to healthy food and consistently eating less sugar changes our sense of sweetness. Ditto salt.” Bee Wilson, First Bite: How We Learn to Eat, 2015 Eighty per cent of processed food has sugar added to it, including some surprising offenders: one of the high-street chain Eat’s soups, for…

The Easiest Way: To eat a healthy balanced diet

What is a healthy, balanced diet? Food writer and journalist Michael Pollen simplified the whole messy drama for us with his oft-quoted aphorism: ‘Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.‘ To work out whether you’re following this advice, consider your typical meals and snacks and ask these questions: Would your great-grandmother recognise what you’re eating as…

The Easiest Way: To keep to government drinking guidelines

In January 2016, the government came out with the nerve-jangling announcement that there is no such thing as a ‘safe drinking level’ – any amount of alcohol can increase the chance of developing cancer. Terrifying though this thought might be, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should all become teetotal – study after study has…