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End Of The Noughties

It's a grand tradition at the end of the year to summarise what's gone before. This time we're not only at the end of a year, but also a decade so it might be pertinent to reflect a little on our foodie culture and how far we've come - or not. Many would say that, in a way, this decade has seen us go back to basics. We have never been more hyper-aware of provenance and welfare. If you eat out regularly – or even once in a blue moon – you can't have failed to notice that a menu isn't just a menu these days, it's an address book. We have finally cottoned on to the fact that locally-sourced and ethically raised and reared results in better end products. We're recognising that we can't behave as if the world's resources are in one giant supermarket, with the shelves continuously restocked by some benevolent deity – we are the caretakers and we are not taking care. Nearly every town, village and hamlet boasts a farmers' market of some description, even if some might be a tad hazy on exactly what the definition might be. Foraging and outdoor skills courses are all the rage – nature is our new best friend. The heralding of 'nose-to-tail eating' means that cheap cuts of meat - pork belly, ox cheek, offal - that got a nation through rationing are now to be found - often exorbitantly priced - on menus across the land and are no longer the thrifty foodie's secret. It's all tremendously heartening. We may have ended our boom decade in the icy grip of a terrible recession but it seems we are still – literally – putting our money where our mouth is. Restaurants are reporting it's business almost as usual and the fact that there are so many markets means the demand for local fresh produce is self-sustaining. We're never going to see the end of supermarkets – not while there is still such a dichotomy of foodie thought in our society – and many would not want to, but we have proved that we are prepared to fight for our consumer rights to support the small producer, eat well rather than extravagantly and make our voices heard in the fight against the big boys. It's nice to think the next decade will arrive full of such promise for the future.

Billy P - December 18, 2009

Our 'local' farmers market arrives in town every few weeks during the summer from Brittany -- and we are in the northwest! So much for food miles, carbon footprints, supporting local farmers and all the tosh that people trot out when they get on their high horses about the evil supermarkets.