The Fashion for Foraged Food

Food for Free

I’m fortunate to have a background where local food was valued. My father, who was not at all wealthy, was nevertheless a great believer in shopping locally. As convenience shops and supermarkets began to take over, he loyally supported the local fishmongers and butchers, seeking out high-quality local produce. I inherited his tastes – and habits – so have never felt alienated from local foods. Even so, my strong commitment to local foods turns out to have been very limited after all. Foraging for local wild food was way off my compass.

It never occurred to me that plants familiar on country walks were anything other than charming weeds. My awareness was only awakened by books like Richard Mabey’s Food for Free. In particular it took articles about thrillingly interesting chefs like René Redzepi from Noma and Simon Rogan from L’Enclume to awaken a real appetite for such food.

So last summer on regular walks in Kent, I began to gather and cook nettles, seakale, wild garlic and Alexanders.

This article is in the current edition of Resurgence magazine. To read further:

Trevor Phillips and the Multiculturalism Debate

Trevor Phillips programme, Things we won’t say about race that true, has opened the debate about how integrated is our society and whether ‘multi-culturalism’  has allowed separateness and cultural isolation to flourish. Fifteen years ago, in October 2000 the Observer carried a debate between cultural theorist, Stuart Hall,  and myself on Britishness  as a result of the publication of a Runnymede Trust  report. This report suggested that  ’Britishness’ connotes racism and suggested ways of diluting it. Firstly  Britain should be reconceived as ‘community of communities’. Then  there should be a formal  declaration  that Britain is a multicultural society’. I criticised this . ‘To suggest ‘Britishness’ connotes racism is absurd, an attempt to wring a mea culpa from guilty liberals and nothing to do with advancing racial unity and equality’  ‘‘Multiculturalism’ is riddled with problems, and it is not racist to think so.’
This article was ahead of its times when it was received as an attack on a much cherished liberal orthoxody of multiculturalism.

To read the original article by me , see


Cheap Milk & the ‘Lidlisation’ of shopping

Decent food isn’t cheap, and if the ‘Lidlisation’ price wars continue it could mean the end of grass-fed cows in our fields

Lidl, Asda, Aldi and Iceland have now cut the cost of milk to 89p for four pints, making milk cheaper than most mineral water. This is astonishing, given that milk is a food that is the end product of a slow, costly, and, hopefully, careful process of rearing animals and their fodder. No wonder the British dairy industry is now looking at ruin.

Read more