The food world – it pains me to say, as someone who works in and around it – suffers from more repetition, sanitised tastefulness and fad than most other fields. I’m not talking about food as in farming or the like, I mean the world of transformed and transforming food: cooking, shopping for food, eating out, and watching other people cook. Not that there is anything wrong with those activities, we love food and we love eating, but sometimes it all feels like the same colour palette (yes, that’s right, beige).
So here’s my shortlist of food related stuff to watch, read or otherwise engage with, which just feels a bit less like everything else. Some of it is daft, but the combination of winter, recession and climate change makes that imperative.
1. The Samurai Gourmet: Netflix
I can’t explain. Please just watch it. And make sure to start at the beginning.
WATCH | The Samurai Gourmet trailer:
2. Todo Sobre el Asado: Netflix
This is an ode to the Argentinian barbeque that has the soul, guts and sense of humour I so hoped for from Chefs Table but rarely got. Definitely not for vegans.
WATCH | Todo Sobre el Asado trailer:
3. Tasting Astronaut: Food Inside NASA's Space Food Systems Laboratory: Youtube
Okay, I’m a space geek, but I do think that info about what gets eaten in space is deeply fascinating.
And there’s an added link between space travel and food, which seems extra pertinent this week. It reads like a Chappie wrapper: did you know that Neil Armstrong became a dairy farmer some years after the moon mission? Yes, Neil! A farmer! Want to see the farm? Visit LokaGraph.
WATCH | Tasting Astronaut Food: Inside NASA's Space Food Systems Laboratory:
1. Blood, Bones & Butter by American chef Gabriel Hamilton (Chatto & Windus. 2011)
Ms Hamilton is just glorious. She gives, as they say, no f*cks. And yet her writing is sophisticated, nuanced, beautiful. Anthony Bourdain called her book “simply the best Memoir by a chef ever. Ever.” And I think you’ll agree.
2. Some we Love, Some we Hate, Some we Eat: Why it’s so hard to think straight about animals by Hal Herzog (Harper Collins, 2010)
Despite the current and much needed conversations around food ethics, we rarely have the stomach to dig more deeply into our weird and contradictory relationships with animals. This book is a properly thoughtful and nuanced take on the issue.
3. 10 Reviews of Human Flesh By Real Cannibals by Robert Grimminck.
Don’t we all wonder about the taste of human beings? And is eating people the furthest or closest thing to being vegan? From a being-kind-to-animals perspective I mean. For some first-hand info on the matter, check out these comments from people-eaters.
While on the face of it, the Modern Farmer site looks worryingly hip, the cool fonts and good pics are just the icing on the cake. It’s unusual to manage relevant and serious food info (honey bee farming losses, using ultra-voilet light on chicken eggs etc.) without being technical or dull. Nicely even-handed and wow, even properly researched. Follow @modfarm on Instagram.