You’d love where I live. On a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday we have a food market, with a fruit and veg stall, cheese stall, bacon and cold meats stall, and other delicious stuff, all very cheap. It’s cheaper for me not to use the supermarkets, I can buy what I need, only what I need and it is usually decent quality food. Every day we have an indoor market with several butchers(including Bracewells who butcher their own meat from their family farm and Stansfields, who are awesome). I have access to a fishmonger and the town is the Incredible Edible Pioneer, so vegetables and fruit grow everywhere. We have corn, radishes and swiss chard growing outside the police station and my herbs come from the apothecary garden outside the Health Centre. The kids are all involved in growing vegetables and fruit. We have a Todmorden TED Talk. We have an oasis in a country defined by supermarket dependent food deserts. There are few supermaket chains we have not had to fight to preserve this and are currently fighting Asda. Sainsbury’s didn’t want to listen at all when we told them to bugger off.
Austerity hit us hard. I couldn’t afford to eat if I had to rely on the supermarkets who distribute your products. You must be making a mint with that kind of universal distribution. I don’t have any of your books, your ingredients are too expensive and quite frankly your recipes are often sloppy.
I do have a TV. It’s a flatscreen HD ready monstrosity. Apparently the days where I have to figure out how to make sure there is enough fruit for a child to eat for a week, and when I have to make sure my nutritional needs are met without me adding to my household budget, that TV makes some kind of a difference. I don’t think any sauce on the planet will soften up those wires and the glass, and like the internet it gives something to stare at when you have to kill hours to eke out food. When I didn’t have a TV, I was offered one at least once a month by some well meaning associate. Now I do have one, it’s worthless, I can’t sell it, and it gathers dust. Cheap consumer goods are what created the impression we were addressing poverty while we retreated into unfettered 19th Century Economic Liberalism.
I don’t watch that TV, so I haven’t seen much of you since your days of pre-turkey twizzler lecturing the poor, cheeky chappy vespa living. Without a TV or a supermarket, you are not someone I would think of at all. It’s only your encroachment into the news I read, on the back of your TV career, that means I am ever faced with your words.
I have opinions on poverty tourism, you are as qualified to comment on poverty, as I am to comment on the social, economic and political complexities of the Czech Republic after visiting Prague for weekend. When your very plush existence is paid for by supermarkets and television companies exacerbating and relying on poverty, I would be wary of setting yourself up as the moral police for your audience. Relying on the erosion of food chain, and mass consumption of media for a career while condemning people who live with the consequences, who you know nothing about, is the height of bad manners and the type of thing that bites you in the arse at a time like this.