FoodTruths Blog



Hope for a better world is sometimes found in the most unexpected of places.

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The lowdown on dirt - 3 things to think about

Getting your hands dirty has become the euphemism for doing dirty work – something that is unpleasant, unpopular or (in the Hollywood sense) illegal. But, getting one’s hands dirty is exactly what we need to happen for quality food production. This post is not dedicated to how unpopular such activities are, instead, we dig deep on the issue of whether soil is important (spoiler alert: it is) and what we should be doing to protect it.

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Looking back: protein production for the planet

A recent report by US and UK-based future ‘think tank’ RethinkX (Protein technology to collapse animal farming within 10 years – NZ Herald 8 October), understandably caused ripples in New Zealand, with our heavy economic reliance on primary industries. Pointing to a principle of “Food as a Software” the authors predict a future when cows - and animal protein - are a thing of the past. Focusing on the development of technologies such as precision fermentation they suggest healthy, cheaper and more sustainable food will be globally accessible.

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Looking back: 3 food fails

Not all food developments are successful, however, and it’s fun to look back at some catastrophic culinary failures to ask “what were they thinking?”. First up, something you should not do with celery.

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Protesting: two protests, one city

In the same week two protests have hit the streets of Dublin, they couldn’t be more different. The first, a climate strike, organised by the young, landless and environmentally helpless, calling for more action to improve the quality of their future.

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'Delhi Belly": 3 things to consider when traveling

I happened upon a conversation the other day between a GP and a patient – the patient was heading to remote lands and was interested in what precautions and / or vaccinations would be required. Now, the GP was a practical chap and was able to describe (in some detail) what the risks were for various ailments and what impact said diseases would have on the patient. All were dismissed as being remote possibilities or low risk. All, that is, except for the mythical (if you haven’t had it) and terrifying (if you have): “Delhi belly”. That, he claimed, was almost a dead certain and was something that would certainly impact on travel plans and enjoyment. The subtext was that sometimes it is better to stay at home.

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3 insights from 2 food worlds

Many years ago I read Thomas Kuhn’s book on the Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn argued that for a fundamental change in how something is done (paradigm shift) humanity had to reach a crisis point. This has played out many times across civilisation: need drives innovation. But, what if a system is in such chaos and there are many different factions within it – how then will a paradigm shift occur when there is not a universal understanding of the size and nature of the problem? Welcome to the food world.

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Three differences between a corporate and a chef event

Food is an ecosystem, a complex web of players with varying motivations and ethics. It transcends cultural and geographic boundaries and it reinforces inequality. Food is highly emotional and is always political. It was, therefore, interesting to attend two international events at opposite ends of both the political and emotional spectrum.

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Are we "post-Celebrity-Chef"?

In what might be a career limiting move I am calling time on the value of the celebrity chef. Now, don’t get me wrong I enjoy a TV cooking show as much as the next person, I respect how the likes of Jamie Oliver have championed healthy cooking for the masses, and how Rick Stein, in his delightfully gentle way, has opened our eyes to the ways of the world. But it strikes me as strange – no other profession gains this level of popularity – we don’t have celebrity neurosurgeons (although, to me they will always be true heroes), nor celebrity lawyers, nor celebrity teachers. Why? Because food is something that has universal appeal and most of us are attracted to a television show or restaurant where we could imagine ourselves creating a culinary ‘masterpiece’. It is relatable.

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