Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Do Television Chefs owe a Duty of Care?

Cooking shows on television are as popular as they have ever been. Some have a half hour programme dedicated to cooking and baking, others get a five minute slot on a morning television show, others sweep the country into a foodie frenzy with a fast paced competition. But in an age of expanding waistlines and education on the dangers of obesity, is it time for these chefs to take on a some responsibility and to show their audience how to cook healthily?
Many people would agree with this, but there are others who will, quite rightly, point out that we are autonomous beings. There is also the well-founded argument that a calorific meal as part of an otherwise balanced lifestyle won't do anyone any harm. This is all true.
The other side, however, is that many people struggle to eat healthily. In fact, the main bugbear of dieters is that traditional diet food can be bland, or at least less appetising than a triple chocolate fudge cake. So when their favourite television chefs are loading on the lard it makes the whole lifestyle harder.
Those who command prime time television ought to recognise what the people need and show them how to make sensible, everyday food that is still bursting with flavour. The ability to make such food is far more skilled than adding together large amounts of fat and sugar. Accordingly, the chef who can show people how to ditch the excess oil and ramp up the flavour is a better chef than one who shows the people how to shove delicious chocolate inside of more delicious chocolate.
Some cookery shows have already picked up on this, but they tend to be few and far between and are trying to capitalise on the clean eating fad rather than promote a general healthy lifestyle. In a world where money doesn't grow on trees, some chefs also seem to forget that the average person cooking for their family haven't got the budget for chia seeds and birch water. They need to know how to make the cheaper cuts of meat taste like the prime cuts, they need to know how to make a smoothie for less than 50p a portion, they need lunchbox savvy recipes that will have their workmates peeking into their box with jealousy.
Television icons ought to take these concerns on board when designing their shows. I'm not calling for a cake-ban, instead show a variety of meals - both everyday and treats - with the average food budget in mind. We all like to watch the technical abilities that go into the more luxurious dishes, but perhaps it's time to get creative with the more mundane dishes too.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The 5 Stages of Brexit Grief

Denial - The denial stage hit me as soon as I saw Farage's face with a banner which read "Leave" on BBC 1 at 6am yesterday morning. I was getting ready for work and literally stopped in my tracks to stare at the screen. A wave of non-acceptance came over me and I spent the entire morning in a kind of haze. I work in an Irish petrol station and I repeated the news to a few English people, in a way, just to make sure that what I had heard was correct.
Anger - Social media lit up yesterday, as did mainstream news channels and online media outlets. Anger reared its head through a number of groups, most markedly the young voters who have accused the older generation of making a decision that they will not have to live with. Stripping away the niceties, basically a generation who has retired (and so is unaffected by EU worker protection) and will die soon will not have to deal with the economic fallout that is Brexit, yet they have led the vote to leave.
16 and 17 year olds are also - quite rightly - enraged at not having a say in a decision which will affect the following decades. General elections come and go, but referendums are forever.
Scotland is very mad too and is threatening to leave the UK; NI are making a few shouts as well. As my grandfather said, it's more like DK now (Divided Kingdom).
Bargaining - A petition for a second referendum has received over a million signatures. Some are claiming that those who voted to leave did so as a protest and never expected the result that came. There may be some truth to this, but seeing as ballot papers don't come with a separate box to give an explanation for your answer it's difficult to know the true extent of this. A second referendum is only slightly more likely than ignoring the referendum result altogether. Seeing as Cameron has stepped down, I think we can say with certainty that we are leaving the EU.
BBC London last night reported that London, which voted to remain, have ideas about remaining in the EU and separating. I have dubbed this Lexit; it will not happen. It's just reactionary politics.
Depression - 48% of voters have not got the result they wanted. The pound has taken a hit and the FTSE has taken a tumble. The economic impact has hit further afield, with the DAX smarting from the UK's decision as well. Frexit (France) and Nexit (Netherlands) are on the cards. Italy is a well-known eurosceptic. Junker has come out saying that Brexit with not be an "amicable divorce".
The bottomline is depression at the referendum result.
Acceptance - The leave campaign has won and we must begin the process of leaving the EU. The future is uncertain and there are legitimate fears which must be faced.
We don't know who will be leading us through this. Borris would be a disaster; Theresa, perhaps, a winner. George could be a candidate, but who would want to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer after him? It's a job that involves a lot of public hate. Michael Gove has also been tipped.  A dark horse may even enter the race, only time will tell.
Tentatively, I dare say, we will be okay. We will regroup and recover. It may take years, but it will happen. The EU, I'm afraid, is going to suffer a worse fate, but I suppose that's not so much of our concern anymore. Our 24 hour panic-period is over, we must now pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and carry on.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Life is Normal Again

I can confirm that my life is back to normal now that my finals are over and my results are out. I won't bore you with the details, but here are the headlines:

  • I have a law degree
  • I'm taking a master's in International and European Business Law in September
  • I'm moving to Dublin - but I have no flat yet
  • I'm still the editor of the QUBSLJ and my days are filled with reading hella amazing pieces written by UG students
  • I have had zero creativity over the last few months because of the stress of finals and university life, but I'm slowly coming back to life. 
I wish I could write something more exciting, but you guys were never reading my blog for sex and drugs and rock'n'roll lifestyle. When my brain gets back into gear I'll be write something wonderful, but, errrr, until then *eyes shift uncomfortably*.