We had a panic this week. We were due to shoot a July food feature on Monday, and as usual I’d put in the ocado order for it. But then the volcanic ash descended. Suddenly, all the out of season food I’d ordered from abroad (Guatemala, Egypt, Peru, the list goes on), suddenly looked like it might be staying there for a while.
Since we shoot three months in advance, we’re always ordering food from overseas as the British produce just isn’t ready that early. I know, food miles etc, but we see it as the greater good. ie, we cook out of season, so you don’t have to.
But this is a problem when nothing can fly into England. I read an article the other day saying that 80% of the food we buy is shipped in from abroad – quite a dizzying statistic to begin with.
So what happens when we have to rely on what we can grow on our little island? Will there be a run on Jersey Royals? Fisticuffs breaking out over the purple sprouting broccoli?
There is an argument to suggest that it would be a whole lot better for our health and our producers if we couldn’t get most things all year round, and to a certain extent I agree with this. But life would be awfully grim in the winter without clementines, pomegranates and fresh herbs, and I’m pretty sure my job wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.
So maybe this evening, as you reach into the fridge for the sugar snap peas or the cherry tomatoes, you’ll consider what you would have been cooking in three weeks, had the cloud kept hovering (and who knows it still may). Might we all have been Digging for Victory?!
And in case you were wondering, every single thing turned up in our ocado order, five whole days after all the flights were grounded, as fresh as fresh can be. This brings up an entirely different set of modern food issues…