Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fast food outlets outnumber Churches in Ireland

SO fast-food outlets in Ireland now outnumber Churches, post offices and they surely must be on the way to outnumbering pubs (okay okay SLIGHT exaggeration), according to a report in the Irish Independent today.

The figures reveal that in Dublin alone there are 1,094 takeaways ranging from Chinese to sandwich bars and the article tells us that this is not including McDonalds or Burgerking as these are classified as restaurants because people can sit down to eat. Mmmhh… McDonalds and restaurant – surely that’s an oxymoron.


And in these takeaways the Irish people spend €460m a year on junk food. Fecking hell.

That’s a staggering amount of money and the takeaway of preference is the Chinese, which as you will all know bears little resemblance to the type of food you get in China. For example in the north a real treat is Chinese gravy, gravy chips are as popular as the stable curry chip is in Dublin.

But you would be hard-pushed to find Chinese gravy on a menu in a restaurant in China.

While these little pleasures are fine every now and again, it is clear that for many people this is their stable diet and that’s a worrying trend. It doesn’t take an expert to work out the deadly health problems this will have for the future.

Which brings me to the Jamie Oliver school dinners campaign.

This was a fantastic idea and I have to pat him on the back for the campaign but there were times over the course of the series I found him a patronising, smug git.

I never thought that before about him until watching the programme, well I never really thought about him before in fairness, and his arrogance about people’s diets at times was astounding.

Just because he was brought up in an environment of food, good food where from the age of eight he helped out the chefs in his parents Essex pub, does not mean that other people have had the same privileges and it was a privilege for him.

I’m not going to turn to some financially stretched parent who is trying to make their food budget stretch while providing for picky eaters with food stuffs that maybe some others of us would not have in our cupboards.

One of his yardsticks seemed to have been ‘I wouldn’t feed that to my children’ with the notion that if he could whip up something wonderful and appealing to children that anyone could. As if…
It was a battle for him though. And as I said it was a great campaign and highlighted just how little the British Government is prepared to pay for decent, healthy school meals.

The fact remains that here in Ireland vegetables are expensive, meat is expensive and when someone can fill their freezer, and therefore dinner table with burgers and the like, who am I or indeed Jamie to judge?

However, I know of families where it’s a Chinese takeaway every night and this is just not healthy, never mind more expensive than shopping for fresh natural ingredients. And judging by the Irish Indo report, this is only going to get worse. It is time that we educated people and this is where I thought Jamie Oliver’s campaign was spot on by targeting children.

Thankfully the young wan always had a healthy appetite and very rarely did she turn up her nose at anything. Not like me as a child, I think I was reared mostly on chips; I only really started to eat vegetables while pregnant, I never said I didn’t have my own bratty moments. What would Jamie have made of that? Well it was the 1970s and Smash was a stable part of a lot of people’s dinners, yeuck.

For mash get smash

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Fi said...

I know Jamie Oliver has a reputation for being arrogant but I have to say I didn't notice the arrogance in his school dinners programme I just thought it was brilliant! I was saddened to see the food that kids were eating both at home and in schools and strongly feel that anything that promotes a better way of life for everyone is a good thing. I also agree fresh food in this country is ridiculously expensive and that needs to be seriously highlighted as a real problem.

Emma in Canada said...

I think fresh food everywhere is v. expensive. I missed that show, though I meant to watch it. In our schools here the government has just brought in a mandate that all children up to Grade 9 must have a half hour of daily physical activity. Which is great, but what do the teachers take away from...math and english and all. I also can't see the outdoor aspect of it lasting past the beginning of November due to snow and minus 20 temperatures. It was a good effot anyway.