VEGA examines the Independent on Sunday’s tasteless 'Living Food' section
“As a child Skye Gyngell was captivated by the smell of roasting chicken. Nowadays, these poultry recipes evoke for her the same sense of wide-eyed excitement.” Thus reads the Independent on Sunday’s Living Food section, lavishly illustrated and entitled Bird of Paradise and published yesterday (24 June 2007).
Skye Gyngell adds her own flavor to these falsely reverent words to her stock-in-trade: “Like many people, most of my childhood memories are bound up with food. Mangoes and cherries mean long, hot summer days. Roast lamb followed by pavlova covered in cream and laden with sour passion fruit equals my grandmother’s house on Sunday evenings. I loved those Sunday evenings, and not just because we never ate at home.
“But perhaps my most overriding food memory is of my mother’s roast chicken. Affectionately known Down Under as ‘roast chook’, it has a place at just about every table in Australia. Growing up, we ate it once a week, as my children do now, and always served in exactly the same way – accompanied by mashed potatoes, roast pumpkin, and red onions.”
VEGA leaflet downloadable here
Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, Surrey. Her book is currently the Guild of Food Writers’ Cookery Book of the Year. She laments a little: “Sadly, I serve chicken less often at Petersham. Not because I don’t like the idea of it, but because I find it very hard to find really good chicken in this country. It bemuses me how the French manage to get their poultry so right and we can’t”. Chooks are to be nursed “free of preservatives and hormones, and they should be small yet plump. Absolutely delicious.”
The Independent publications can be regarded more as viewspapers than newspapers and we must allow for gungho callousness to override the niceties of mercy when your activities comprise cosmetic effects on the butcher’s bloody work.
So VEGA is countering the vandalism with advice for the Ethical Shopper and Enlightened Customer for the happy, less compromised Consumer Going Cruelty-free. The weekly recipes displayed on our website are receiving details to please consumers with the severest demands on labeling to meet the Food Standards Agency’s requirements and as a spur to greater and kinder enterprise from cookery writers wallowing in the sins of the fleshpots.
And we have prepared a leaflet illustrated on our website and suitable for copying and distribution for anyone on the VEGA message and fit for purpose. Better is a dinner of sweet herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. While we might ponder on the need for a comma after herbs we might rephrase this proverb in the present context and in harmony with statements in the Qur’an as Better a bird on the wing than a roast in the oven.