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Editor’s Comment: July 2017

PUBLISHED: 11:13 26 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:13 26 June 2017

20% of children think that fish fingers are made of chicken

20% of children think that fish fingers are made of chicken

Archant

Nearly a third of five to seven-year-olds think that cheese comes from a plant, tomatoes grow underground, prawns grow on plants and chips and pasta come from animals. More alarmingly, 20% think that fish fingers are made of chicken

We’ve been here before, but yet another survey has highlighted the fact that many young children don’t have the foggiest idea where their food comes from – or even what it is.

Nearly a third of five to seven-year-olds think that cheese comes from a plant, tomatoes grow underground, prawns grow on plants and chips and pasta come from animals. More alarmingly, 20% think that fish fingers are made of chicken. No, really. I can understand some confusion when a harassed mother continually produces random brown, breadcrumbed things from the oven, but fish fingers made of chicken? The clue is in the name, kids.

As for healthy eating, a significant number of 11 to 16-year-olds think fruit pastilles or strawberry jam count as two of their five-a-day. (I have some sympathy with this viewpoint, having in the past relied upon a portion of beans on toast, a bag of crisps and a glass of wine – grapes, innit? – to account for at least three of the required daily five.)

This might not seem to be terribly important (although it does speak volumes about education, in the home as well as in schools) but given expected changes in climate and population growth, these generations will not have the easy access to limitless food that we currently enjoy. It’s therefore vital that they are taught about production and provenance if they are to make sensible decisions in later life.

But back to that survey. I note that there was no question asking where milk and eggs came from. Perhaps for the best because the mind boggles at the possible replies.

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It is not surprising that we are far from immune to First World Problems in this region. You know the sort of thing – the supermarket running out of organic semi-skimmed milk, being served warm Pimm’s, a neighbour using the same shade of Farrow & Ball paint on their windows...it’s not easy being resolutely middle class.

But now there is a new problem looming large – that of Avocado Hand. According to plastic surgeon Simon Eccles, he is now treating up to four patients a week whose knife has slipped while attempting to peel the fruit, inflicting severe cuts on their hands. Some have even suffered permanent nerve damage. (I admit that I haven’t phoned around Gloucestershire hospitals to see if they’ve come across many cases. To be honest, it’s too good a story to check.) Mr Eccles now wants avocados to carry warning labels.

Yes, fine, but where do you stop? Your kitchen is trying to kill you every time you set foot in it. Razor-sharp knives, boiling water, red-hot roasting tins... what could possibly go wrong? Best avoid it altogether and phone for a takeaway.

As for avocados, my advice is the same as that for cucumbers, courgettes and kale. Carefully unwrap the packaging and then throw the offensive foodstuff straight into the green bin. You’ll feel a lot better for it.

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The power of suggestion is a valuable tool when it comes to persuading people to eat more fruit and veg. University researchers have revealed that diners in the college cafeteria were far more likely choose vegetables if they were described with ‘indulgent’ words. For instance, separate dishes of carrots, both cooked in identical fashion, were labelled either “vitamin-rich carrots” or “buttery citrus-glazed carrots”. It will come as no surprise that “buttery” won the day with 75% of punters opting for the allegedly less healthy version.

So you now know what to do. “Come on, kids. Eat up your delightful, sweet, velvety, luxurious avacado on toast. No, don’t worry about Mummy. It’s only a flesh wound...”

And in the meantime, do enjoy your copy of your admirable, attractive, exceptional, exquisite, magnificent, top-notch, peerless Cotswold Life magazine. And do come back for more.

For more of Mike’s musings, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor

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