Big society and food banks can get in the bin

‘Big Society’ Can Get in the Bin (and Food Banks While You’re There)

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, Writing

This morning, there’s an article in the Guardian about the government’s new scheme to push yet more public services out to charities, businesses and civil society, to help build stronger communities.

They want these groups to work together and provide support for issues such as loneliness, homelessness and online safety. Oh, and libraries. The problem is, Theresa darling, that people face these problems in the first place due to a lack of money personally or rescinded funding in the local community. Asking voluntary groups to provide service means even more people need to give up their precious spare time to help run facilities which are traditionally state funded.

It’s hard enough trying to earn money and have a personal life without being expected to work for free on the side. It’s just the further push of the Conservative agenda that seems to be predicated on leaving everything to other people…

what can the world teach me about food

What Can the World Teach Me About Food?

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, Writing

Throughout my life, food has been the defining characteristic.

Beyond the daily rotation of ingestion, whatever work I turn my hand to and regardless of the spills, scrapes or serenity that are littering my personal life, my world always turns once more, unto food.

Starting with the prized lick of the mixing spoon from one of my mother’s cake mixing bowls, a delicacy to be savoured or the secret biscuit barrel at Aunt Mid’s. As a teenage rowing champ my diet consisted of ‘all you can eat’ and no holds barred as the calorific exchange from 12 training sessions a week left no food too energy-laden or out of reach, eating until stuffed was the order of the day. In my late teens, I worked in propped-up hotel bars, restaurants with awkward guests and even more awkward staff, backed by kitchens with alcoholic chefs, flying cookware and ice…

If Food is the New Religion I'm an Atheist

If Food is the New Religion… I’m an Atheist.

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, Writing

Religion, historically, was the saviour from a life of eternal pain. Today, food brings the same utopian promises of paradise on earth, a life free of disease, the ability to alleviate the suffering of the environment and the animals within it. Whichever devotional path to dietary enlightenment that you choose, bear one thing in mind; like every religion on earth, there are always extremeists waiting around the corner, ready to spoil it for the rest of us.

2017 wasn’t kind to clean eating, the diet beloved of bloggers and Instagram influencers, who revelled in it’s snap-happy aesthetic and took delight in revealing the latest South American plant extract which purported to cure anxiety, or even cancer.

The spurious health claims that abounded were roundly dismessed by a tranche of media criticism, starting with Ruby Tandoh exposing its toxicity January, a follow-up to her tirade against clean eating on…

is our food system broken?

“Our Food System is Brok…” – Change the Damn Record

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, Writing

“The food system is in crisis” is a phrase that sits with uncomfortable ease in any discussion about food. A statement intended to create a sense of shock and disgust in an audience is as surprising as finding there’s only one chocolate digestive left in the pack; it’s a bit sad but ultimately has little impact on the rest of my day.

Certainly, as an average consumer, there are few visible crises, perhaps food prices shift a tiny bit, but there’s food on the shelves and I’ve not gone hungry in recent memory. The state of being ‘broken’ implies that something has completely stopped working, yet everything seems to be working just fine and dandy in downtown consumerville.

Elevate your position of thought for a moment. Step beyond the mindset of simply consuming food and instead, look at yourself as a citizen with a voice. Changing that single word is…

How I Decided Whether to Eat Meat Part 6: Eat Whatever the Hell You Want

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, Writing

The majority of the UK population don’t care where their meat comes from, as long as it’s cheap. The average UK shopper buys food based on price, not quality. Many of you probably understand the issues around meat, therefore I’m preaching to the converted and these very words are lost in the foodie bubble of “we need to do this” and “we must to do that”. Blah blah, bloody blah.

Is my exploration of meat, of being an ‘ethical carnivore’ little more than a bourgeouis hobbyist interest for the middle classes?

Louise Gray’s book of the same name took a far greater leap into this world than I have been able to, a fascinating and beautifully written journey, yet, as with my own investigations, it leaves me wondering on a larger scale, how does any of this change the society we live in?

It adds to the conversation of woke…

How I Decided Whether to Eat Meat Part 5: Rural Meat vs Urban Vegan

Gavin Wren Food Opinion Pieces, Writing

Back in the kitchen, Tomáš was preparing the head, deciding to split it, to rescue the tongue intact. Gruesomely, we used a wood saw to cut through the skull and separate Theresa’s head into two halves. This sounds disturbing, however, like many seemingly gruesome events in life, the reality is far easier to handle than the anticipation of it.

For example, would you enjoy watching a video of a human having surgery? Unlikely, I guess. Would you appreciate having surgery performed upon you to resolve an illness? Most probably. Would you watch videos of animals being killed? Unlikely as well.

Certain activities are not performed for any kind of voyeuristic performance, but for the health of humankind and I’d suggest that the butchering of animals is one of those things. Just like surgery or slaughter, this is not a spectator sport.

Watching a YouTube video on butchery techniques in preparation…