Saturday, 24 January 2009

*expletive of your choice* the Credit Crunch

If I read one more newspaper article about how to cook great food cheaply, how to furnish your house on a budget, how to buy cheap wine, how our (still incredibly prosperous, people!) society has been plunged into the chasm of recession with no lifeline - I swear, I am going to do more than scream.

This media hysteria is driving me wild. Yes, it's a shitty time. Yes, people are losing their jobs. P hasn't worked since November. He might lose his house. He probably will lose his house if he doesn't find work soon. It's a bummer. It sucks.

BUT. We are still lucky beyond measure in what we have. In fact, for most of us, I dare say nothing much has changed since the beginnings of this recession but perception. And for food - now it seems to be as trendy and fashionable to buy a cheap chicken as it was practically social death, darling to do it this time last year; hell-oh!

For heaven's sake we were getting there. We were getting towards responsible, considerate eating; we were considering provenance, and the care of the flesh we were eating when it was alive (well, we doesn't mean me here, but you follow me) and now - now we are steps away from "I don't care how it came to be on my plate, I just care that it's there (and also that I scored a miraculous bargain at one of the cheap-as-chips supermarkets, aren't I clever?)", and the farmers, the growers, the artisan producers who care about their craft can just go hang.


See? One more word, and I am going to go postal.

And breathe.

Tonight, I am cooking for friends for the first time this year. We are having leek, onion and jerusalem artichoke tarts (which means I am making a veggie filling and putting it in pre-made pastry for them and not for me); the most beautiful January King cabbage I have ever seen and that I want to frame and treasure for ever in its majestic brassica-ry-ness rather than slice and steam; rosemary carrots; and possibly sweet potato mash or roast potatoes. And I'm going to pull the last of last year's gooseberries out of the freezer and make gooseberry crumble. It will be a frugal meal but by happenstance (chance?) and not because it is fashionable.

I admit I am naive. I know we are in dark times. But I cannot help feeling that we are mentally driving ourselves into deeper times and I wish it would stop. Just look at the hope that arrived this week in Washington. I'm not expecting miracles because that would be foolish but a spread of optimism across the western world is very much needed and then we can stop focussing on our "collapse" and help those who are already collapsed and already in need. Shift those priorities back to where they always need to be. Is MHO.


Cave Cooking said...

I agree. When did optimism become so unfashionable? I feel like it's an act of patriotism on my part to KEEP buying the artisinal goat cheese and grass fed beef because I want to keep those farmers who are performing what I consider to be a very important service in business. I refuse to buy into the "let's all eat Spam and McDonalds" reaction to this economic mess. No, I'm not a snob. I'm putting my money where my mouth is.

And omg, rosemary carrots sound DELISH.

Drew Patterson said...

I've never found optimism to be unfashionable. But maybe that's just me and not the media...