The easy way to find a restaurant,find dining offers,find an event,find inspiration,make a booking

The Crusading Spirit

You might be entitled to think that a meal out is a fairly non-controversial activity. However, it seems more and more that not a morsel can pass your breathlessly anticipating lips before someone or other is hectoring you about the ethics of your chosen provender. Witness the 'media storm' generated by the recent comments of Kate Winslet (and whichever celebrity decides they need a little PETA action) over the ethics of foie gras. Now, we're not for a moment suggesting that la Winslet et al are not living up to their tediously repetitive claim to be just like us. But really, one day they're all 'I live on bangers and mash and Pot Noodle because I'm an ordinary girl-next-door who's useless in the kitchen' and the next they appear to be begging forgiveness for a lifetime of seemingly filling their Botox-stuffed faces with over-stuffed goose liver, which, let's face it, us 'ordinary folk' don't exactly live on. Anyway, you may or may not have noticed the whole thing died a death within minutes, so clearly the restaurant-going Joe Public doesn't feel that strongly about it either.

Equally you might have seen the campaigns of various sirens of the food world; Giles Coren is particularly fond of a call to action to spice up his weekly column with his 2009 tap vs bottled water and foie gras(!) skirmishes or his current Back Off On Meat (BOOM!) stance which might seem a little disingenuous for a restaurant critic... Or you might have taken more notice of those endorsed by food movements such as Sustain who push for you to back their Good Catch campaign backed by Marine Conservation, Chicken Out and even local food awareness (although how that goes down at your local Chinese is anyone's guess).

At heart all these crusades are not a bad thing. It is undeniably beneficial for us and the environment to eat less meat and less over-fished marine stocks, be aware of where our food comes from and how it is produced, but does it stick in your throat to have it dictated to you how you spend your hard-earned cash? Are you influenced by any of these campaigns and do you ask in restaurants about sourcing? Do you check the relevant websites for whether your chosen destination is toeing the party line? Have you ever – gasp – left a restaurant if they haven't answered your ethical queries...? In short – are you a food crusader?


Charlie - May 18, 2010

If the government is serious about combating global warming and the issue of food miles and carbon footprints it shold tax the hell out of certain foods. Cherries from south america? Yes you can have them but you will have to pay through the nose to get them.

Emma Grainger - May 17, 2010

Yes, I am a food crusader and proud of it. I always ask if chicken is free range (and don't buy it/eat it if it isn't), ditto eggs. I don't eat cod. I don't eat strawberries and asparagus out of season, I don't buy green beans, mange touts etc imported from Africa. I read labels, I don't buy bottled water or Danish bacon and I don't miss out on anything - in fact I think I enjoy my food more just because it is ethically and locally sourced.

Jo - May 17, 2010

Yes, I do ask about food and where it comes from - in the same way that i ask about everything i spend my money on - it is my responsibility to spend my money wisely - not just to benefit myself - but to ensure that i don't harm others or the environment. Aren't we all responsible???