The GM Debates

One of the most contentious issues facing governments and the food industry is the subject of Genetically Modified Food. Argument has raged for years as to whether it should be banned or embraced. Scaremongering headlines such "Frankenfood" have sometimes drowned a more sober assessment of its risk and/or benefits. However, there is one thing both sides are agreed on and that is the growth of the world's population and the problem of feeding it in the future.

In order to understand in layman's language - in as much as it can be - the pros and cons of this deeply divisive subject, we invited experts from both sides of the divide to argue their case. A policy decision was taken by us that there was to be no editorial bias and so the debates are totally unedited.  They have been broken into parts for ease of watching as each one runs over an hour.  

To our knowledge, this is the first and only such series of debates and is intended to be a permanent record of an issue that affects us all.

Vivian MosesDiane Montague

INTRODUCTION TO GM:

Agricultural journalist and author, Diane Montague, interviews Vivian Moses, Visiting Professor of Biotechnology at King's College London, and the resulting discussion sets out what GM is and what the major issues are. It is a fitting introduction to the discussions which will follow. Watch video

Peter MelchettJonathan Jones

GM FOOD DEBATES (HOLT)

Jonathan Jones, FRS, Professor of Biology at the University of East Anglia, head to head with Peter Melchett, Policy Director of the Soil Association. Watch video

Cathie MartinCharlie ClutterbuckRupert Read

GM FOOD DEBATES (NORWICH)

A group of experts from both sides of the GM divide argue their case for best solving the impending world food shortage. They are: Professor Cathie Martin of UEA, Dr.Rupert Read of the Green Party and Dr. Charlie Clutterbuck of City University. Watch video

GM Food Debates Audio Broadcast

GM FOOD DEBATES (AUDIO BROADCAST)

A wide ranging and informative discussion with Michael Summers, an independent consultant specialising in plant breeding and biotechnology. Listen to audio

A Picture of Summer
ice-cream

Ice-cream and Sun Hats

 
Revisiting "The Rich Tradition"

revisiting

The whole series of The Rich Tradition is now available on Talking of Food, including, as a bonus, the pilot episode, entitled Home from the Sea, which explores the traditional food and culture of Tangier in Morocco.

Watch the videos here

 
Lockdown Food - no.1


lockdown


Lockdown with Helen Garlick 


I am putting this section together during Coronovirus lockdown.

We are looking at food and assembling meals in a different way, disregarding recipe books and using ingredients that that we may have disparaged in the past.


Here are two poems, one about the iceberg lettuce and the other about the humble onion.

 

 
Lockdown Food - no.2


lockdown


War time diaries and recipe books are good reading too, not because we have to cope with shortages but it’s good  for us to remember how much more difficult shopping and cooking was in both World Wars. Also, it's inspiring, now that we need to think twice about making trips to shops,  to see how people concocted meals of what they had to hand...

Read on for extracts from Few Eggs and No Oranges:  The Diaries of Vere Hodgson  1940 – 1945. Published by Persephone Books

 

 
Lockdown Food - no.3


lockdown

Convalescence

 

Post viral recovery can be a long haul.  We seem to have lost the concept of convalescence, of the need to understand that full recovery from illness can take a period of  time, that needs to be accepted and catered for in every sense. 

Helen Garlick searches her cookery book library for dishes to tempt and nourish invalids and convalescents...

 

 

 
From the back of the shelf: Cookbook Quote No. 4

Occupation Recipes 1

"We're all quite well, but getting thinner
Not much for tea, still less for dinner
Though not exactly on our uppers
We've said 'Adieu' to cold ham suppers"

The 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2 seems a fitting time for the latest cookbook quote, an extract from the booklet  A Collection of Occupation Recipes by Lillie Aubin Morris published by Jersey Museums Service in 1994.  

The recipes themselves are indicative of the hardship suffered during the German occupation of the Channel Islands: limpet stew, pastry without butter, salad dressing without oil, plain flour blancmange, potato jelly. But it is the Introduction by Beth Lloyd that sets out some stark facts.

 

Please send in any suggestions for a quote to add to this collection, using the comments or emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 
The Trawlermen

Grimsby 3

In the 1950s Grimsby was the largest fishing port in the world.  As a result of the Cod Wars with Iceland, this once great industry has been decimated over the last fifty years. The docks, once bustling, are now desolate and left to crumble.

This film is a short tribute to the men who manned the trawlers in all weathers and conditions.

 

 Watch video

 

 
Wellbeloved

WellbelovedThe reputation of the Steak Pie - that staple of traditional British cuisine - has become diminished.  More glamorous dishes make the headlines; more photogenic recipes are illustrated on television and scores of inferior, industrial pies occupy the shelves of supermarkets throughout the land.  

It is time to look beyond these brightly lit aisles and discover the true ingredients of the perfect Steak Pie: Experience, Care and Dedication.  

It is time to go to Deptford, South East London. 

 Watch video

 

 
Olive Oil

olive oil 1How much do most of us really know about olive oil?

Television chefs extol the virtues of using extra virgin olive oil and are there on the supermarket shelves promoting their brand-named oils. But do we ever think about the qualities, flavours and varieties of olive oil or whether the colour matters?

When two old friends and connoisseurs get together and the conversation turns to their favourite subject, the talk becomes endless, winding in and out of anecdotes as they share their depth of knowledge.

Watch video

 Anne DolamoreAnne Dolamore and Charles CareyCharles Careyolive oil 6

 

 
Ramadan

Ramadan

Mohsin Abbas, Director of Arts Versa and Ramadan Festival,  and Reza Mahammad of Star of India have a fascinating and enlightening discussion about Ramadan, what it represents to the followers of Islam and the thinking behind its discipline.

This is the first in a series of films about foods eaten at different religious festivals.

 
AA Gill: Table Talk

AA Gill 

Table Talk: Sweet and Sour, Salt and Bitter brings together the best of AA Gill's columns on food. David Watson reads two chapters from the book: Pizza Express, and Elizabeth David.

 Listen here