Saturday, 18 October 2008

tartrazine in food

We have grown our own marrowfat peas this year. Their obvious use for me is in home made mushy peas and in pea and avocado humus.

But, as ever, a conversation came up this week ' Why prepare your own food?'. Surprisingly, someone asserted that preparing our own food is relatively modern and middle class and another that it is not good sustainable practice because of the high energy cost of food preparation on a small scale at home. I rebut these arguments!

Preparing our own food is primal and in every healthy culture I know of. Food preparation has always been a foundation of human existence. Sure, there have been and continue to be times when impoverished, urban societies have relied on others to prepare their food. We recognise that such cultures are poor and lack control over one of the most basic human needs - to eat healthily.

And as for being the province of the middle classes, my memories of my grandfather are of him preparing brawn by boiling half pigs heads. He loved cooking and was a working man.

Most of my food comes from the allotment or the garden at the moment. No food miles and zero carbon emissions.

But when reading the excellent 'Organic Matters' magazine, there was an article giving a further cogent reason to control what we eat. Just as Will Taft has alerted us to the dirty dozen of fruits and vegetables to avoid because of their contamination by chemicals, 'Organic Matters' reports on a range of potentially damaging additives used in our pre-prepared food.

I was particularly drawn to the listing of the colourant tartrazine that is added to mushy peas. Believed to produce hyperactivity and lower IQ, such additives are not only unnecessary, but harmful.

So, I was pleased to soak my home grown dried peas today, ready for turning into pea and avocado humus knowing the provenance of what I will eat and having had the satisfaction of preparing it myself.

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