Author: Pat Thomas
Pub: Alastair Sawday Publishing
Price: £14.99
In previous years, organic food was viewed by the media as an overpriced option or the reserve of the health-conscious celebrity. In short it seemed a fad, a food fashion that in recent times of economic uncertainty has been left by the wayside in favour of ready meals and pre-packed carrot sticks.
Stuffed brings the subject of food to the centre of political debate, drawing on the trinity of contemporary issues: the health of our people; economic uncertainty; and ecological concern. From the cover we know this book means business. The solid, determined yellow and black colour code is very different to the soft greens and blues that we associate with food and organics. What is more, and to contradict an old saying, this book could be judged by its cover. The content is nothing short of activist in nature, suggesting the readers do all they can in the fight for an ecologically-sound food system, made up of local sourcing, organic farming and school participation (to name a few), by ‘voting with your fork’.
The approach Thomas takes is holistic; she considers every aspect of growing and producing food, from slow cooking in homemade hot boxes – large, super-insulated containers that keep an already warm pan and its contents hot for up to eight hours (saving energy and producing perfect results) – to utilising soil to trap CO2.
Thomas effectively conveys (albeit a little repetitively) that our society is disconnected from our food sources, something that was not an issue in our grandmothers’ day when veg patches and family orchards were commonplace. For the most part this book isn’t displaying novel ideas but rather attempting, and I think successfully, to establish the importance of conscientious choice at a time when eating organic and shopping locally compete with the convenience of supermarkets and the advertising pull of highly-processed food products.