nutritionists and onion gruel

The shifts and strategems of nutrition experts have provided one of the recurring amusements of the past thirty or so years:


  We ought to take more vitamins, We’re taking too many vitamins. Milk is the aqua vitae. Milk is a killer. Potatoes are good for you. No they’re bad. No, they’re good after all. Why bother with food – we can nourish you better and more scientifically (whatever that means) by pills and tonics. Tonics are unnecessary, pills are harmful, what you need is natural food.
Well, no claims for beef tea of onion gruel have been made for a long time, but I will risk saying that, when you feel wan and peevish about food, beef tea will go down agreeably. If you are are suffering from a feverish cold, a boil in an awkward spot, pink eye or any other of those minor ailments that together with the awful weather make you wish you were dead, onion gruel will warm, console and affirm your status as a martyr. Neither can harm you.’

Georgina Horley, Good Food on a Budget


free range bacon

I am typing this and eating my dinner, a bowl of leek and potato soup with some cubes of free range, woodland reared etc etc pancetta style bacon from St George’s Market.

I have rarely, if ever bought free range, organic meat before for two main reasons.

1) It is more expensive and when you’re watching the pennies those extra pounds that an organic, free range chicken would cost (and it would be pounds)are a big deterrent.
2) Sometimes there is an atmosphere middle class self righteousness when around free range, organic meat which I don’t like and puts me off.

But having said all that the reason I am typing this during my dinner is that I was amazed by the difference in the grease and fat that came from my grill when I was cooking my free range, woodland reared bacon compared to what I normally would get cooking some bacon from my local Spar, or even from my butcher.

First up, there was much less steam coming from the grill. Normally there would be clouds of steam coming from the grill, so much so that when you lift it up it could burn your hand.

There was also much less water running into the bowl. Normally there would be a layer of dirty grease water floating on top of the bacon fat. Tonight there was a much less steam from the grill and the fat which ran seemed much clearer.

I guess what I’m saying is that there was something noticeably different to the bacon I cooked tonight compared to the bacon I would cook normally.