Sir, Respect Your Dinner, Idolize it, enjoy it properly.

You will be many hours in a week, many weeks in the year, and many years in your life, happier if you do.

(William Makepeace Thackeray)

Every country has a food culture in as much as it will have an identifiable national attitude towards food, but some are more positive than others.  The need for Britain to develop a strong, positive food culture – in which food is a high priority for the majority of people, is vital to the success of the Campaign for Real Farming. We need people who can recognise quality in food and are prepared to pay the true cost of producing it.

Two main goals guide this section of the website:

  • A Greater Sense of the British Food Culture – so willing have the British people been to experience other food cultures that we have lost a clear sense of our own.  Food Culture Articles will look at how our food culture has developed historically and the relevance that this has on our attitude to food today.  There is much of which to be proud!
  • An Appreciation of British Ingredients – British agriculture is essential to feeding the growing world population.  It is no longer morally acceptable for our land to lie fallow because food can be produced more cheaply elsewhere.  We are not however advocating that we cease to import any food stuffs – some, such as tea and spices, have become so deeply embedded in our food culture that to ignore them would be failing in the first of our aims.  There are other imported foods without which life would hard to imagine – chocolate, coffee and rice to name just a few.  All of these are however dry goods and so can be imported by sea or rail.  Less sustainable is the importation of fresh foods that require air freighting and which are likely also to have required heavy water use during their production so you will see little or no mention of them here.  To play our part on the world stage of food production we need to achieve a greater balance between imports and exports.  To redirect our attention and rekindle a passion for what Britain does best this column concentrates on food that can be grown or produced easily in this country.  Each month you can find inspiration from the list of Foods in Season and further practical advice from the Seasonal Recipes.

The Food Culture section is edited by Suzanne Wynn.

Picture: Extract from oil painting Still Life with Traditional Loaves of the UK by Martin Bentham RWA