There are two episodes of Radio 4’s Food Programme that I want to highlight.
The first is Re-thinking Veganism. While it’s nice to see a national food magazine programme looking at veganism, the tone and content was definitely mixed. Having said that, it wasn’t as bad as their episode looking at Vegetarianism a while back where the presenter was astonished that vegetarians take care to add flavour to their food (no, seriously). It takes a quick look at the history of veganism and how the proportion of vegan to vegetarian businesses is increasing. We meet a couple of vegan bloggers and the people who run a successful Vegan Supermarket in Germany. And then, because you couldn’t possibly have an episode about vegans with just vegans in they interviewed a couple of near vegans. Alex Renton, a journalist, started out looking at the horsemeat scandal of earlier this year and from his investigations is seriously thinking about going vegan. The other not-really-vegan is Mark Bittman, a NY Times food writer who has started the concept of Vegan Before 6 (where you eat a plant-based diet before 6pm and then anything you like afterwards). He claims it improves his health. I’m all for anything that reduces suffering to animals, but surely they could have kept the plant-based-for-health-diet for another episode. It’s not like vegans get that much of a chance to put forward their case on a national forum. And to be honest, barring a piece on Donald Watson, the Vegan Society’s founder, the animal rights and lifestyle (it’s more than just food) of veganism didn’t get a mention. Let’s not upset the meat-eaters eh?
The other episode worth listening to is Skint Foodies. Ever since I did the $5 for 5 Days challenge, I’ve become much more aware of food poverty abroad and at home. They talk to a few food bloggers who tackle food on a very restrictive budget. Good on Jack Monroe for being very articulate on what it’s like to live on $10 for food a week and on the politics behind the causes of food poverty.
Both episodes should be available to listen to for a year.