Our Food

"Bet you don't know where this came from!" "Er, the sea, Giles?" "Damn you".

By Matthew Laidlow

The BBC loves food and cookery programmes so much you’d be forgiven for thinking the licence fee was being underwritten by Tesco.

When one series finishes, another comes hurtling off the production line. And they’re usually pretty good, not to mention addictive. The majority of the population are no doubt filling their time illegally streaming ‘Masterchef: American Samoa’ while they wait for Gregg Wallace and his sidekick John Torode to yell at a bunch of contestants who haven’t peeled a carrot properly.

So what have we got to whet our appetite with until the cookery version of The Apprentice returns? Well, for now, a brief four part series called Our Food has landed in the Wednesday night schedule.

Instead of being another boring show following a chef you’ve never heard of patronising locals in a foreign country, we get food critic Giles Coren, who’s not a chef but he does like dressing up in Tudor gear and eating stewed pig’s feet. And he’s not patronising locals: he’s patronising farmers…while talking about wheat production in the olden days.

It didn’t take long until this angle started to bore. Ok, it never screamed ‘past ways of fertilising fields are better than your modern, chemical methods’, however Our Food just focussed on this single stubborn perspective.

Did it consider that compared to the Victorian era, population has grown and dietary habits have changed? Not particularly. As far as people are concerned, they just want a hot pasty from Greggs: they don’t even worry about the looming tax. People these days don’t always care, just as long as it’s affordable and doesn’t look like something a dog’s vomited up. And in the case of steak bakes- they don’t even care about that.

Other bits consisted of Giles Coren sailing around on a boat and hopping off at various stops to chat about history, landscape and climate. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but at times the information seemed massively overwhelming.

Anyone tuning expecting to see how Britain has changed its use and eating habits of a particular food would be disappointed. An episode looking at the milk production throughout the ages would have been a bit more relevant: the majority of people do consume it in some capacity on a daily basis. It seems doubtful that people care these days about the crop rotation of barley and wheat alongside sugarbeet.

So: more a series for real foodophiles than Pot Noodle fans, but despite that, some interesting facts were learnt. For example, a male crab is called a jack and a female, a hen. They can have two penises and two vaginas compared to us humans: now, try watching The Little Mermaid again with that in mind.

Yep: ruined it for you.


Our Food is on BBC2, Wednesdays at 8pm. You can catch up on iPlayer here

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About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at Hilary3@gmail.com.

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