If you asked me to name my 3 top passions in life there is no doubt that it would be great food, great photography and the South Downs (not always in that order). Imagine then my excitement when I was invited to attend, and take photographs of, “Lychees to Local”, a food event being hosted by West Dean College – right in the heart of the South Downs… what a privilege.
These shots are of the event, some of the food we ate and the gorgeous gardens around the college at the moment – if you’ve got time it’s well worth a visit.
Sheila Dillon of Radio 4’s Food Programme, facilitated a discussion between 3 members of the Guild of Food Writers, Katie Stewart, Colin Spencer and Xanthe Clay. Rosemary Moon, self-acclaimed food activist and well-known cook in this part of the world, was present as co-host alongside West Dean but also laid on the most fabulous lunch of locally sourced food – proving that this area is ‘right up there’ with the best in food production.
There was too much discussion to write about but the panel touched on how food, and more importantly, cooking, has changed over the last 20 to 30 years. They discussed how food photography has changed (everything used to be in black and white!) to the introduction of Nouvelle Cuisine and onwards to the current effect of celebrity chefs. What was paramount was in the middle of all these goings on we somehow missed a generation of foodies – the ready meal being the problem. However, right now our passion for great food is back and growing and the more we can do to shout about buying British, buying local and encouraging and teaching the young of today the better. There are many obstacles to overcome yet – price being the top one in my opinion. In the current economy, just having enough money to feed a family can be a struggle, let alone worry about where it’s all come from….. (a good read about all of this is the newly published How the British fell in love with Food, compiled by Lewis Esson)
I’ll leave it there but one slide in particular summed up where we need to be going in our approach to food and I believe if everyone did this the world would be a better place, and we’d all be a lot healthier
Eat one meal a week knowing where the ingredients come from
Plant a fruit or nut tree
Eat less meat
Teach a child to bake a cake
Who’s with me?