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What do you think are the barriers to eating real food?

(128 Posts)
diapergenie Sat 13-Aug-05 23:32:51

I am doing some research and I would be eternally grateful if any of you home cooks could give me your opinions on what you think the difficulties (if any) are with feeding yourselves and your families a really good fresh food diet.

Basically, we all know that food poverty is a reality amongst lower income groups in our country. As I am single mother on benefits, we are classed as a low-income family and we eat like kings, but only because I have been cooking all my life and am food-obsessed enough to know exactly where to go and what to do to make the most of our limited resources. For me, the pursuit of good food is a full-time occupation, but I understand that most people just do not have the time, energy, resources and (perhaps) inclination to do the same.

It worries me that the current level of welfare benefits do not permit low-income families with children or pregnant women and girls to eat what I regard to be an adequately healthy diet unless they already possess cooking skills, (which have been completely phased out in most state schools) equipment and a hell of a lot of time and passion.

The Food Poverty Network

As people who cook real food, how much time do you
spend?

Do you have to really go out of your way to get good, unpolluted fresh food?

Does buying fresh food and the consumption of time involved with producing meals put you out of pocket?

What do you think you need to spend each week to feed your family fresh every day?

Why do you think it is that we have such a pathetically non-existent food culture in Britain, as opposed to, for example, France or Italy, where the vast majority of the population eat wonderfully good food.

What kind of objections have you heard people giving to the idea of eating well?

Obviously, this is not a particularly structured form or research - I just want to pick your brains, if that is ok.

What do you do with your kids while you are cooking and preparing food, especially if they are too young to help?

Does the amount of time you spend cooking have an impact upon the amount of attention your children get from you? Does this matter anyway?

hunkermunker Sat 13-Aug-05 23:34:18

Part of it has to be the availability and advertising of (seemingly) cheap, processed rubbish too.

moondog Sat 13-Aug-05 23:40:05

Oooh,one of my fave topics. Will post more tomorrow when my brain is chirpier,but I do recall reading about someone similar to you a few years ago who wanted to put out a cookbook based on the circumstances she was in (ie good tasty nourishing food for very little). She was quietly advised not too as it would have led the powrs to be to question why people were able to live quite sowell on benefits.

Shocking eh??

mummytojames Sat 13-Aug-05 23:42:58

the two main reasons is time and money one week i decided to do what i call a healthy shop at a super market it cost me twice the amount and took me nearly three times as long to prepare it

expatinscotland Sat 13-Aug-05 23:43:41

Access is a major issue, too.

I once lived in one of the most deprived schemes in Edinburgh. There were NO decent services around for miles and public transport is unreliable and not buggy friendly.

We were lucky, we had educations, jobs and driving licenses, so we were able to get out.

But I can see where a lot of people eat crap food b/c that's what's around them and that's what's available. Who's gonna walk 1.68 miles each way - yes, I used a pedometer on it - to Sainsbury's to get quality food w/kids in tow, and transport it back as well?

diapergenie Sat 13-Aug-05 23:44:00

By Jove! I am shocked and appalled, Moondog!
Should love to hear more about that, as I enjoy acquiring any kind of ammunition against the DoHealth and the Food Industry.
Speak to you tomorrow!

QueenOfQuotes Sat 13-Aug-05 23:44:09

I disagree I find it's much cheaper to cook from fresh than to buy ready made stuff, and take me the exact same amount of time to prepare too in most cases!

expatinscotland Sat 13-Aug-05 23:44:29

I, too, had cooking skills and taught DH.

QueenOfQuotes Sat 13-Aug-05 23:47:55

I had no cooking skills (despite my mum cooking evertying from scratch too ) but managed to teach myself.

diapergenie Sat 13-Aug-05 23:49:14

mummytojames,
Which would you say made you feel worse about it - the time factor or the money factor, or was it both in equal measure?
Has it completely put you off?
Do you think it would be the same if you went to a grocer or a market?

diapergenie Sat 13-Aug-05 23:54:23

QueenofQuotes,
Do you buy your fresh food from the supermarket or the local market?
How long did it take you to learn to cook, and did you buy loads of books or did you just fudge your way through?
Did you find you wasted much money on failed experiments or did you just have the knack straight away? Or did you force your family to eat your first attempts however they came out?
Did you buy all you own equipment or did you pillage other peoples cupboards like I did?

diapergenie Sun 14-Aug-05 00:00:54

expatinscotland,
The only way I manage without a car is because I live in the town centre, and have fallen on my feet because there is a local organic farming family who bring their produce to market twice a week.
I don't know how I would have managed if I was living on an estate. We have to go shopping nearly every day as we just cant carry enough back with buggy etc.

I have never lived on an estate.
Do you reckon that if there was a cafe where mothers could go and buy (at a heavily discounted rate if they are in receipt of blah-de-blah) freshly prepared food to eat in or take away for themseves and their kids, they would do it?

expatinscotland Sun 14-Aug-05 00:04:31

'Do you reckon that if there was a cafe where mothers could go and buy (at a heavily discounted rate if they are in receipt of blah-de-blah) freshly prepared food to eat in or take away for themseves and their kids, they would do it?'

No, not w/o a lot of help from the community. There's still a lot of ignorance out there. On top of that you have a lot of single mums who rely on grandma, sisters, cousins and other assorted family for childcare, and so there's a great need for education.

There's also the supplies attached w/preparing goood food and the time that goes into preparing it.

I'm not saying the desire isn't there, just that for the most part A LOT of education will be necessary as well.

And it needs to be made popular, in the way 'Jamie's Dinners' was such a hit.

expatinscotland Sun 14-Aug-05 00:06:03

Whoever thought up those 'estates' has a special place in hell waiting for them. I'm quite shocked at how they ostracise and isolate the poor.

TwinSetAndPearls Sun 14-Aug-05 00:09:16

My dd and I have always ate well even when we were on benefits. Although in some ways being out of work helps as it gives you the time to go to the market during the day to buy cheap fruit and veg and also the time to prepare a home cooked meal. You are also not coming home from work knackered and so in the need of something quick and labour free.

I only had access to a car when I started living with dp, before then I used to walk into town and buy enough food for the next day or so. I live near a green grocers and butchers so if I couldn't get to town I could do that, not as cheap as the market but an easier option.

AS long as i can remember dd has helped me when I a cooking even if it was just sucking on a carrot while watching.

I have always kept our food costs down by only eating meat once or twice a week. I pillaged other people's cupboards for a slow cooker, food processor etc until I could get my own.

diapergenie Sun 14-Aug-05 00:10:37

Yes expat, thats what I would imagine too.
I know there are a lot of worthy initiatives out there, but there is so much red tape and so few real funding opportunities for something on this scale that I think it really needs a high profile, Jamie style campaign. It was his school dinners that really got me invovled withall this - I mean, one of the probs he came up with was perduading the kids to accept the new style school dinners. He had to resort to grossing them out with chicken guts in order to get the message over. If only there was more emphasis upon actually weaning babies directly onto real food, kids would never develop tastes for plastic processed homogenised food and would be much more discriminating about what businesses want to sell to them.

TwinSetAndPearls Sun 14-Aug-05 00:24:03

Now you have me on my hobby horse, feeding babies real food. So much cheaper than jars and prepares them for a lifetime of eating real flavursome food not packaged junk.

QueenOfQuotes Sun 14-Aug-05 00:27:24

but feeding them real food sometimes isn't an option. I was forced (due to living arrangments) to wean DS1 onto jars.

Other people may wean onto jars because they don't want to feed them burger and chips mashed up (can't say I'd blame them LOL).

TwinSetAndPearls Sun 14-Aug-05 00:29:42

But why are they eating burger and chips in the first place?

TwinSetAndPearls Sun 14-Aug-05 00:31:16

I can see that it isn't practical to feed all babies fresh food, although it is easier and much chepaer than many people imagine. I did it with dd while living in a hospital.

QueenOfQuotes Sun 14-Aug-05 00:34:21

perhaps they like Burger and Chips?

And I disagree that weaning on to jars will somehow prepare them for a life time of eating junk food.

TwinSetAndPearls Sun 14-Aug-05 00:39:24

Sorry that was probably a it harsh of me, what i meant was that if your sole objection to giving your child real food was that hey couldn't have your burger and chips you need to eat something else.

Of course jarred foods do not mean your child is only ever going to eat junk, but surely it makes sense that if you feed your child a wide ranging real food diet it is more likely they will build a taste for such foods.

diapergenie Sun 14-Aug-05 00:54:53

So am I right in thinking that the general consensus is that weaning onto jars is fine, but if it is in any way possible, wean onto real food?
I have been lucky enough to never have had to use jars, but only because I have always been in a position to do fresh. I have had a browse at what is on offer, and baby foods are of a much better quality than the ones I remember my younger sister eating 15 years ago.
I guess the trick is getting your bub used to as many different textures, flavours etc, and even if you do have to use jars exclusively, let them taste tiny pieces of your food. When my baby was tiny, I used to hold an apple to her mouth just to let her have a lick, even though she was too young to actually eat any.
That program about supermarkets recently suggested that in terms of pesticides, it may actually be better to feed your baby from jars than to use non-organic fresh produce, because permitted pesticide levels for fruit and veg intended for the baby market are much lower than for ordinary produce. Nobody knows the cumulative effects pesticides have on the body, hence the added pressure not just to buy fresh, but to buy organic/local.

jabberwocky Sun 14-Aug-05 01:50:23

I had thought that I would do all of ds's food fresh, bought a food processor and all that. But, he would have none of it. At least now there is plenty of organic baby food available. He has a very strong gag reflex and it has been a nightmare weaning him to table food.

MaloryTowers Sun 14-Aug-05 08:46:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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