Eating well should be commended, never before have we been so conscientious over what we put in our bodies, but there is a dark, irritating side to our obsession with healthy eating and it’s called #eatclean. Tap that hashtag into Instagram and you step into a Narnia of spiralised veg, bulgur wheat and gym selfies; posted by a million, bronzed, wild-eyed health obsessives who have forgone spaghetti carbonara and chicken nuggets for a life of meals eaten through social media…They’re not to be trusted I say.
Posh Mac and Cheese
A strange food phenomenon swept through the country recently: gourmet macaroni and cheese. There was once a time where the humble mac and cheese was the staple of the inept cook, a £1 ready meal classic, something you used to eat when you were six and you went over to a friend’s house and their parents had forgotten you were coming round. Now it has been repackaged with prosciutto, truffles and all manner of ungodly additions, to be drunk with craft beer on wooden benches for £8.50.
Do you remember coleslaw? It’s a Northern European salad, typically made with raw cabbage, vinaigrette and mayonnaise or salad cream, it’s not glamorous, it’s not cool; it’s mayo stuffed with cabbage, which is a particularly unfashionable vegetable. So what do‘eateries’ (don’t get me started on eateries) do? They drop the cole and turn it into ‘slaw. It’s exactly the same thing, but now it’s served with brioche buns and chipotle ketchup and it’s not ok.
Have you been into a cocktail bar recently? Maybe a place that used to be a public toilet? Or a pop-up in an industrial estate somewhere close to Peckham? How did you find it? I bet it was hard work wasn’t it? You wanted an old fashioned or a mojito, there’s nothing wrong with a mojito. Instead you were scowled at and forced to drink something with pig fat and beetroot vapour and it was horrible. It’s now unacceptable to drink something you enjoy at a bar. Where did we go wrong?
We’re British, we queue, it’s one of life’s inevitabilities, like death and enjoying Bake Off. But when you have to queue for the chance to eat at a restaurant, well, that is a different beast altogether. It may be the trendiest Taiwanese joint this side of Taipei, but when you spend 40 minutes on a Tuesday night in November, queuing in the rain for it, those pork buns better be special.
The queen of super foods and 70’s bathrooms, the avocado is full of Vitamins C, E, B, K, potassium and smugness. A favourite of the #eatclean brigade, nothing quite says healthy like ‘smashed’ avocado on homemade sourdough. Just make sure you remember to apply a filter when you photograph it to really bring out its vitality.
The Word Foodie
As a nation, we have come a long way from our hideous culinary past, where continental Europeans mocked us for our love of root vegetables and gravy, but that still does not excuse the word foodie. What, exactly, does it mean? There is nothing wrong with enjoying gluten-free cronuts, ethically-sourced quinoa and acai smoothie bowls, but there is absolutely something wrong with the word foodie.
Words By Finlay Renwick