“TV chefs’ recipes may be less healthy than ready meals, study finds” (Guardian). Among other utterly pointless news, the Pope really is a Catholic, and it’s not entirely unknown for bears to defecate in the woods.
Why is it, when those dread words “study finds” appear, you can absolutely guarantee it’s the result of some miserable pricks intent on stripping all the pleasure from whatever the subject is, and it’s usually food? What sort of dismal, joyless, bugger do you have to be to devote your time to such an exercise?
I don’t, though, ever recall Nigella Lawson, for example (the Good Food channel is re-running old Nigella Bites shows, from way before she got too precious and became a caricature of herself, and they’re excellent), ever making any claims for the healthiness of her dishes. Quite the opposite, in fact as, much like the Two Fat Ladies, she has a considerable enthusiasm for ingredients that would reduce food fascists to hysterics – which she seems to have accomplished quite successfully in this case.
Jamie Oliver seems to have been singled out by the Guardian for a kicking, while Nigella, mentioned just once, pretty much gets a pass – strange that – though Oliver is so bloody annoying he probably deserves it!
These miserable researchers really do need to lighten up, and understand that nobody (or, at least, very, very, few, and probably rather strange, people), actually lives on the recipes of celebrity cooks. On the other hand, I have lived on ready meals and, frankly, it’s not an experience I’m in a hurry to repeat, no matter how healthy these tedious oiks claim they are.
They don’t seem to have considered, either, when claiming that a ready meal is lower in fat, salt and calories than, say, a portion of one of Nigella’s recipes, that ready-meal portion sizes are relatively tiny. Though it’s hard to know for sure given the selective reporting in the article, the survey seems to compare portion with portion, which is deeply flawed. The comparison should be based on a fixed amount of each, when the results might well be substantially different.
I’m just branching out into making my own bacon, as regular readers will have spotted, mainly because it’s hard to avoid. The result might be high in salt and will certainly be high in fat – like most bacon newbies I’m starting with streaky because it’s easy – but I don’t care because eating it will be an occasional treat once the novelty has worn off, not an everyday event, so it won’t do me any harm.
At Christmas, I won’t be having turkey, a meat so low in fat, salt and flavour that these dismal researchers must be wetting themselves with schadenfreude at the prospect of so much anticipation giving way to so much disappointment (I’ll take a goose over turkey every time, not least for the fat it will yield), but I will be having lamb shanks cooked long and slow with white beans.
There will be salt, for a certainty but, above all, given up by the meat and quietly and patiently absorbed by the beans, there will be lots of fat. There will be olive oil too, and maybe a little butter to help things along and add, inevitably, to the calories. It will be unhealthy, it will keep food fascists awake o’nights, and it will be absolutely gorgeous.