Transcript: Authors Geoff Heinricks and Gina Mallet | Mar 19, 2005

A slate shows U of T Book Store and then a book cover of Geoff Linricks, "A fool and Forty acres."

Geoff reads from behind a podium with bookshelves behind him. A crowd sits in chairs in the near darkness.

Geoff is in his forties and has shaggy brown hair, is clean-shaven and wears a black sweater.

Geoff says TECHNICALLY
THE COUNTY IS STILL A PENINSULA,
DANGLING LIKE A COW'S UDDER
BELOW THE CANADIAN SHORE OF THE
EAST END OF LAKE ONTARIO, KEPT
APART FROM THE MAINLAND BY THE
BAY OF QUINTE AS IT ZIGZAGS ITS
WAY TO THE LAKE.
YET IT'S AN ISLAND BY NATURAL
FIAT, AND A PINCH OF MANMADE
ENGINEERING.
THE CANAL WAS ACTUALLY LOCATED
IN ONE OF THE MAINLAND
MUNICIPALITIES.
THE COUNTY LINE DOESN'T
OFFICIALLY BEGIN FOR A MILE OR
SO SOUTH OF THE MURRAY.
UNLESS YOU FLY, WAFT DOWN BY
PARACHUTE OR HAVE A NAUTICAL
BENT, THERE ARE ONLY FIVE ROUTES
INTO PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY.
TWO SMALL SWING BRIDGES ACROSS
THE MURRAY CANAL IN THE WEST, A
LARGE SPAN OVER THE BAY OF
QUINTE AT BELLEVILLE, ANOTHER
FARTHER EAST, ARCHING ACROSS
FROM THE MOHAWK TERRITORY NEAR
DESERONTO AND THE FERRY FROM
ADOLPHUSTOWN TO GLENORA.

The caption appears "Geoff Heinricks. Author, "A Fool and Forty Acres. U of T
Bookstore Reading Series. Hart House Library October 19, 2004."

Geoff say THE BRIDGES
ARE FOR THOSE IN A HURRY, OR AT
LEAST THE TWO MAIN BRIDGES ARE.
THE PAIR OF TINY SPANS ARE NOT.
IF THE TRAFFIC OF PLEASURE CRAFT
USING THE MURRAY CANAL IS HEAVY,
THE SWING BRIDGE YOU'RE GUNNING
FOR -- AND THE SWING BRIDGE
YOU'RE GUNNING FOR GOES OUT
BEFORE YOU CAN CROSS, YOU MAY BE
FORCED TO WAIT FROM 5 TO 15
MINUTES UNTIL IT CLICKS BACK
INTO PLACE.THOSE ARE
JOYLESS MINUTES, SMOULDERING
LINES OF CARS AND TRUCKS IDLE
IMPATIENTLY, IRRITABLE PODS OF
TOURISTS HEADING FOR THE BEACH
FRET THAT THINGS DON'T OPERATE
ON THEIR TIME, THE TIME OF
TORONTO AND ITS VAST SUBURB.
THE OPERATION OF THE SWING
BRIDGES IS AS SEASONAL AS THE
VISITORS, FOR, FOR MOST OF THE
YEAR, RESIDENTS CAN ZIP BACK AND
FORTH UNIMPEDED.
THE OPERATOR BOOTHS, BOTH ON THE
COUNTY SIDE, BOARDED UP AND
NEGLECTED AS AT AN EAST GERMAN
BORDER POST.
BUT THE FERRY.
IF ONE HAS ONLY ONE CHANCE TO
COME INTO THE COUNTY, IT SHOULD
BE BY THE FERRY.
FERRIES ACROSS LONG REACH HAVE
BEEN RUNNING IN SOME FORM FOR
OVER TWO CENTURIES.
AT ONE POINT, JUST AFTER THE WAR
OF 1812, IT WAS OPERATED BY A
RELATIVE OF U.S. PRESIDENT JOHN
QUINCY ADAMS.
CARTOGRAPHICALLY, THE ROUTE
LINKS THE OLD LOYALIST TOWNSHIPS
OF MARYSBURG AND FREDERICKSBURG
ACROSS THE LAST LEG OF THE BAY
OF QUINTE.
EMOTIONALLY, IT CROSSES TIME.
AFTER DRIVING ALONG THE LOYALIST
PARKWAY FROM KINGSTON, WITH THE
LAKE ONTARIO SHORE ONE'S
CONSTANT COMPANION, PASSING A
MELANGE OF OLD AND NEW, OR YE
OLDE UPPER CANADA, INTERSPERSED
WITH CLUMPS OF INDUSTRIAL
ONTARIO, ONE IS PULLED UP SHORT
AFTER ABOUT 45 MINUTES BY A
NOTICE ANNOUNCING THE HIGHWAY'S
END.
THE FERRY USUALLY LEAVES THE
MAINLAND AT A QUARTER PAST AND A
QUARTER TO THE HOUR.
IT RETURNS FROM GLENORA -- FROM
THE GLENORA SIDE AT THE TOP AND
BOTTOM OF EACH HOUR.
IN SUMMER, WHEN THERE ARE TWO
FERRIES, ONE IS REASONABLY
ASSURED OF CATCHING ONE EVERY 15
MINUTES, IF IT'S NOT A LONG
WEEKEND OR AT THE HEIGHT OF
SUMMER VACATION.
IN MID-MAY OR OCTOBER, TWO OF MY
FAVOURITE TIMES TO CROSS,
THERE'S USUALLY ONLY A HANDFUL
OF -- HANDFUL OF VEHICLES
WAITING.
SURRENDER TO THE URGE TO GET OUT
OF THE CAR AND LOOK OUT ACROSS
THE LONG REACH ON YOUR RIGHT AND
THE ADOLPHUS REACH ON YOUR LEFT,
WHILE THE FERRY LOOPS AGAINST
THE CURRENT.
THE COUNTY ON THE FAR SIDE RISES
300 FEET ABOVE THE WATER.
NESTLED AGAINST THE CLIFF IS A
COLLECTION OF OLD STONE MILLS,
NOW USED BY THE PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT AS FITCH, FISH
HATCHERIES AND LABS.
ONCE FALL HAS STARTED, THE ROAD
THAT ANGLES UP THE CLIFF AND A
STEEPLE CAN BE SPIED.
AT THE TOP OF THE CLIFF, THERE
ACTUALLY IS A BODY OF WATER
CALLED "LAKE ON THE MOUNTAIN," A
PROVINCIAL PARK, WHICH USED TO
SUPPLY THE WATER THAT POWERED
THE MILLS.
THE VIEW HAS REMAINED ALMOST
UNCHANGED OVER THE PAST TWO
CENTURIES.
THOSE WILLING TO USE THEIR NECK
AND SHOULDERS FOR EVEN A MOMENT
CAN FEEL SOMETHING SWEEP OVER
THEM, SOMETHING DIFFICULT TO
DESCRIBE ACCURATELY, BUT WHICH
COMES WITH MEETING THE PAST
HALFWAY.
AN UPPER CANADIAN ZEN FINDS YOU.
BY WAITING FOR THAT FERRY, ONE
ACKNOWLEDGES AN AGE OLDER THAN
ONESELF AND IN THAT GENTLE ACT
OF FEALTY CAN FEEL THE PLEASANT
SUSPENSION OF TIME, OR RATHER A
LINKING OF PAST AND PRESENT IN
ONE MOMENT.
YOU FIND YOU ARE BREATHING MORE
DEEPLY, MORE SLOWLY, MORE FULLY.
IN TARRYING, YOU SENSE THAT THE
SHORT CROSSING IS, TO SOME, MORE
SPECIAL, THE SOUNDS, THE PEACE,
THE VIEW.
I'VE ALWAYS FOUND THAT FOR ME,
IT CREATES THAT SAME SENSE OF
CHILDLIKE WONDER I USED TO HAVE
WATCHING THE MINIATURE RURAL
SCENES AT THE BEGINNING OF
THE FRIENDLY GIANT
ON T.V.
THE CAMERA PANNING PEACEFULLY
ALONG UNTIL IT HIT A GIANT BOOT.
ESPECIALLY IN MID-WINTER, I HALF
EXPECT TO HEAR THE FAMILIAR,
"LOOK UP, WAAAY UP."
AMID A VISTA BLANKETED IN NEWLY-
FALLEN SNOW, WITH THE TINY HUTS
OF ICE FISHERMEN IN THE
DISTANCE, THE DARK GASH OF THE
FERRY ROUTE ACROSS THE FROZEN
WATER AND THE SOUND OF ICE
CRUNCHING INTO THE DOCK.
I FOUND THAT EVERYTHING THAT
PRESSES ARTIFICIALLY UPON MY
MIND OR HUMOUR EVAPORATES DURING
THAT BRIEF PAUSE.
COMING HOME BECOMES AN EVENT,
NOT A COMMUTE.
THERE IS SOMETHING COMFORTING
ABOUT BEING ON AN ISLAND, THE
FEELING OF BOUNDARY, OF
PROTECTION, IN A WORLD WITH
LITTLE OF EITHER NOW.
AND YET IT'S NOT ISOLATION, THE
KIND OF SAFE HAVEN A MODERN
SURVIVALIST MIGHT SEEK IN A BOMB
SHELTER IN A COMPOUND IN
MONTANA.
THE SENSE OF THE HISTORY HERE,
OLDER EVEN THAN THIS COUNTRY,
THAT HAS SURVIVED WITH THE
LIVING COMMUNITY NULLIFIES THAT
COMPARISON. EMBARKING ON
THE ADOLPHUSTOWN SIDE ABOARD AN
UNREMARKABLE VESSEL, WITH THE
VAGUELY FAMILIAR FACES OF THE
CREW, EVERYTHING IMPORTANT ABOUT
LIFE COMES BACK INTO DEFINITION.
AFTER THE MIDPOINT ON THE WATER,
THE BUILDINGS OF THE STONE MILL,
A MILL ONCE MANAGED BY THE
FATHER OF, BY THE FATHER OF OUR
FIRST PRIME MINISTER, ASSUME
THEIR FULLY MATERIAL FORM.
THE CLIFF
SHOOTS UP TO ITS PROPER HEIGHT,
THE RIGHT-HAND BEND IN THE ROAD
TO PICTON BECOMES VISIBLE.
A FEW OF THE OLD BUILDINGS OF
GLENORA AND UP ABOVE THE STRANGE
LAKE ON THE MOUNTAIN TAKE THEIR
USUAL PLACE.
NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I
TRAVEL THIS WAY, I NEVER TIRE OF
IT.
IF YOU UNDERTAKE IT, BE WARNED,
IT CAN BECOME AN ADDICTION.
IN 1974, THE FAMED BRITISH WINE
WRITER -- OR WINE AUTHOR, HUGH
JOHNSON WROTE, WINE IS GRAPE
JUICE.
EVERY DROP OF LIQUID FILLING SO
MANY BOTTLES HAS BEEN DRAWN OUT
OF THE GROUND BY THE ROOTS OF A
VINE.
ALL THOSE DIFFERENT DRINKS HAVE,
AT ONE TIME, BEEN SAP IN A
STICK.
THIS TIME OF YEAR, THE TERM
"STICK" SORT OF ECHOES IN MY
MIND.
OUT IN THE VINEYARD PLOTS, THE
VINES ARE COMPLETELY NAKED.
EVEN THE CARPET OF DEAD, FALLEN
LEAVES HAS DISPERSED ON THE
STRONG WINDS -- IN THE STRONG
WINDS OF THE PAST FEW DAYS.
THE SEASON'S VINE CANES ARE
UNADORNED, FORLORN, SET AMID A
JAGGED MOSAIC OF LIMESTONE
THAT'S BEEN EXPOSED BY THE FALL
RAINS.
THOUGH COLOURED BY A RICH
CHOCOLATE BROWN, THEY ARE, WELL,
JUST STICKS.
LOADED WITH CARBOHYDRATES, BUT
DEVOID OF WATER, THE CANES ARE
READY FOR THE COLD WINTER
MONTHS.
THE LONG GROWING SEASON THIS
YEAR HAS MATURED EVERYTHING
ABOUT AS MUCH AS THEORETICALLY
POSSIBLE IN ONTARIO.
IN OTHER, GENTLER CLIMATES
AROUND THE WORLD, THE LEAVES ARE
PROBABLY STILL ON THE CANES,
THOUGH IN THEIR FINAL GOLDS AND
REDS, HIDING THE BROWN CANES IN
A BLAZE OF COLOUR.
WHILE EVERYONE WANTS TO BE OUT
AMONG THE VINES WHEN THEY'RE
GREEN AND EVERYTHING IS WASHED
IN THE WARM SUMMER LIGHT, THE
LATE FALL AND WINTER MONTHS ARE
ANOTHER MATTER.
THERE IS NO ROMANCE IN STANDING
AMID A ROW OF STICKS.
COLD AIR, COLD LIGHT, COLD
EARTH, IT'S EASY TO UNDERSTAND
WHY.
ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE NO CHOICE
ARE TO BE FOUND IN VINEYARDS
THIS TIME OF YEAR.
I'M STILL CLEANING UP THE PLOTS,
REMOVING THE LARGER WEEDS THAT
HAVE GROWN DURING THE WEEK SINCE
HARVEST AND WHICH THREATEN TO GO
TO SEED AND PROVIDE YEARS OF
OFFSPRING IF NOT PLUCKED AND
CARTED AWAY.
I'M ALSO MARKING OUT WHERE THE
PLOTS WILL EXPAND NEXT SEASON,
SO THAT THE GROUND CAN BE
PLOUGHED AND BROKEN UP BY WINTER
FROST BEFORE MAY PLANTING.
IT'S NOT JOYLESS, ONCE VINE
GROWING HAS GOTTEN UNDER YOUR
SKIN, YOU SEIZE UPON ANY EXCUSE
TO BE OUT AMONG THE VINES, NO
MATTER HOW STARK OR UNINVITING
THEY ARE.
THE WEAK DAYLIGHT GIVES UP A
TREASURE JUST BEFORE SUNSET.
A RICH DIFFUSION OF REDS AND
GOLDS SPILLS OVER THE BARREN
GROUND, TREES AND VINES.
IT'S STRANGE, BUT A FEW MINUTES
OF THAT DEEPER, MORE SOLEMN DUSK
CAN TAKE THE CHILL OUT OF THE
PREVIOUS HOURS OF WORK, PROVIDED
YOU GET INDOORS BEFORE DARK.
EVEN THE OCCASIONAL SOUND OF
SHOTS ECHOING IN FROM HUNTERS IN
THE NEARBY BAYS HELPS GIVES THE
LATE FALL A NOT UNWELCOME
TEXTURE.
WALKING UP AND DOWN THE ROWS, I
FIND IT MUCH EASIER TO SEE THE
HEALTH AND BALANCE OF EACH VINE
THIS TIME OF YEAR.
WHILE THEY MAY APPEAR TO BE JUST
STICKS, TO A VINE-GROWER,
THEY'RE INVITATIONS TO MORE LONG
HOURS OF PRUNING NEXT MARCH OR
APRIL.
SOME CANES I HAVE ALREADY CHOSEN
TO RETAIN AND LAY DOWN TO
PROVIDE NEXT YEAR'S CROP.
OTHERS ARE LIKELY CANDIDATES FOR
HARVEST IN A FEW WEEKS' TIME, TO
SERVE AS BUDWOOD FOR NEXT YEAR'S
NEW PLANTING.
AND THE REMAINDER WILL END UP AS
COMPOST OR FUEL.
I'M REMINDED WHY DEBORAH PASKUS
CALLS MY VINES PICASSO VINES.
TO COMBAT THE DAMAGE OF WINTER,
I HAVE PRUNED THEM ALL
DIFFERENTLY.
SOME ARE TEXTBOOK EXAMPLES OF...
CANE PRUNING, WITH SMALL GREY
TRUNKS 18 INCHES ABOVE THE
GROUND AND SYMMETRICAL ARM
BEARING CANES OUT TO EACH SIDE
ALONG THE FRUITING WIRE.
OTHERS SHOW THE TRADITIONAL
FRENCH GOBLET SHAPE.
A CONTINGENT IS ARRAYED LIKE A
PEACOCK TAIL.
AND NOT A FEW, YES, DO LOOK LIKE
A CUBIST PAINTING OF A VINE.
HUGH JOHNSON ALSO WROTE THREE
DECADES AGO THAT THE WINE-GROWER
IS A FARMER AND A FARMER LEARNS
PATIENCE BY BITTER EXPERIENCE.
THOUGH ONE MUST NOT BE TOO
SORROWFUL.
CAN THERE BE ANY MORE SATISFYING
NATURAL WAY OF LIFE THAN TENDING
VINES AND MAKING WINE?
EVEN IN THE COLD OF NOVEMBER, I
CAN TELL YOU, HE'S ABSOLUTELY
RIGHT.
[Applause]

The caption changes to "Gina Mallet. Author, "Last Chance to Eat. U of T
Bookstore Reading Series. Hard House Library October 19, 2004."

Gina stands behind a podium and reads from her book.

She is in her fifties and has short red and curly hair, red lips, pearl earrings
and a black sweater.

Gina says I CAME HERE THIS
EVENING THROUGH YORKVILLE, AMID
AN ORGY OF FOOD, INCIDENTALLY...
ON DEMAND, DUCK BREAST A
L'ORANGE, TAKEAWAY HOT DOGS,
SUSHI, MORE SUSHI, MORE
DOUGHNUTS THAN I COULD COUNT,
HOT... FROM WHOLE FOODS, A
GLIMPSE INTO A HOTEL CAFE WITH
WAITERS TWIRLING TRAYS OF FOOD
AMONG THE TABLES, SO WHY DID I
WRITE LAST CHANCE TO EAT?
THERE'S A QUICK ANSWER, ALL OF
THIS FOOD IS AN ILLUSION.
I'M TAKEN IN
WITH THE APPEARANCE OF THE FOOD,
IT'S A TANTALISING PARADOX THAT
WE LIVE AMID SO MUCH PLENTY,
SUPERMARKETS HAVE A FAR GREATER
RANGE OF FOODS THAN HAVE EVER
BEEN AVAILABLE IN ANY ONE PLACE
BEFORE.
AND THE FOOD LOOKS AMAZING, BUT
UP CLOSE IN PERSONAL, IN YOUR
MOUTH, IT DOESN'T LIVE UP TO ITS
IMAGE.
MODERN SCIENCE HAS ENABLED US TO
GROW A LOT OF VERY PRETTY FOOD,
BUT AT THE COST OF NUTRITION AND
TASTE.
ONE OF THE PIONEERS OF THE
ORGANIC MOVEMENT SAID IT BEST,
WE HAVE -- HE SAID, YOU CAN GROW
LOTS AND LOTS OF FOOD WITH
MASSIVE FERTILISER, BUT YOU
KNOW, YOU HAVE A FAMINE OF
TASTE.
AND THAT, I THINK, IS WHAT WE
HAVE NOW.
I LEARNED THIS IN THE LATE '90s,
WHEN I WAS ASKED TO REVIEW
RESTAURANTS FOR THE GLOBE AND
MAIL.I HAD A HAPPY VISION OF EATING
ANYTHING I WANTED TO AND ALL AT
SOMEONE ELSE'S EXPENSE.
HOW NAIVE I WAS, WHAT I FOUND
OUT, WITHIN A COUPLE OF MONTHS,
WAS THAT I COULDN'T ANYTHING
THAT I WANTED.
THE VARIETY OF FOOD WAS STRICTLY
LIMITED IN THE RESTAURANTS, THE
MENUS WERE ALL MORE OR LESS THE
SAME.
THE SAME CUT OF BEEF, THE SAME
RACK OF LAMB, THE SAME BRAISED
SHORT RIBS, THE SAME FISH, FOR
THAT MATTER, SO IT WAS USUALLY
SALMON.
SO IMAGINE MY DISMAY WHEN I
FOUND MYSELF BORED.
THE COOKING WAS OFTEN EXCELLENT,
BUT EVEN SO, IT REFLECTED THE
AGE'S ANXIETY, FAT.
LOTS OF GRILLS, GRILLED MEAT,
GRILLED FISH, GRILLED VEGGIES,
ENDLESS SALAD.
AM I RABBIT, I FINALLY WONDERED
IN A REVIEW?
I HAD NO IDEA HOW HARD IT WAS TO
FIND A NICE FAT STEAK WITH FAT-
FRIED POTATOES AND A LOT OF
BERNAISE SAUCE.
ONE FOOD I SWORE OFF AFTER THE
FIRST WEEK, PASTA.
I MET A RESTAURATEUR WHO TOLD ME
THAT THEY HAD TAKEN AN OATH
NEVER TO SERVE PASTA IN THEIR
HIGH-END RESTAURANT, BUT WITHIN
SIX MONTHS, THEY LITERALLY HAD
TO, DEMAND WAS SO GREAT.
ALL FRUSTRATED, I GOT OUT
ESCOFFIER'S BOOK OF MENUS FOR
LONDON'S CARLTON HOTEL IN 1912.
ESCOFFIER IS THE FRENCH CHEF WHO
MADE FRENCH CLASSIC CUISINE THE
GOLD STANDARD OF THE RITZS, THE
LUXURY HOTELS AROUND THE WORLD
AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY.
LIKE MANY OTHER PEOPLE, I FEEL
NOSTALGIC FOR THE ERA JUST
BEYOND MY OWN AND I'VE ALWAYS
FELT DEPRIVED THAT I NEVER GOT A
TASTE OF THE EFFULGENT FOOD OF
THE EDWARDIANS, THE LAST TRUE
GOURMANDS, PEOPLE WHO ATE
RECKLESSLY AND MAGNIFICENTLY.
THE CARLTON'S A LA CARTE MENU
OFFERED MORE THAN 100 DISHES.
IT AROUSED IN ME A MIXTURE OF
EMOTIONS, AMAZEMENT, OF COURSE,
AT THE VARIETY AND DEEP
DEPRESSION AT HOW SOME OF THE
FOODS HAVE VANISHED OR ARE UNDER
ATTACK.
A DINNER FOR TWO WITH WINE THEN
COST FOUR POUNDS, I'VE NOT IDEA
WHAT THAT IS TODAY, BUT I DO
KNOW, FOR THAT MONEY, I COULD
HAVE STARTED WITH VARIETIES OF
RUSSIAN CAVIAR AND I THINK
VARIETIES OF RUSSIAN CAVIAR IN
TORONTO WOULD NOW COST ME 200
BUCKS, AT LEAST.
DUTCH-SMOKED SALMON, I'M NOT
SURE, I DON'T SEE THAT, SO I
DON'T KNOW, LOCAL OYSTERS, NOW
THEY'RE VERY EXPENSIVE AND THEY
HAVE TO BE FLOWN IN, PERHAPS I'D
HAVE SOME TURTLE SOUP, A
DELICACY NOW BANNED BY
ENVIRONMENTALISTS.
DEVILLED SMELT, ANYONE SEEN A
SMELT LATELY?
FOLLOWED BY FILLET OF DOVER
SOLE.
THE MENU DOESN'T SPECIFY DOVER,
BUT THAT WOULD BE ESSENTIAL
TODAY, WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY
FAKE DOVER SOLES ON THE MARKET.
I FINALLY TRACKED DOWN AN
AUTHENTIC DOVER SOLE, FLOWN IN
FROM THE NORTH SEA, AND IT WAS,
I WAS ASSURED, A BARGAIN THAT
DAY, 27 DOLLARS FOR A FEW SUBLIME
MOUTHFULS.
IF I'D GONE FOR THE TAMBALE OF
LOBSTER ORIENTAL, I HARDLY KNOW
WHAT THE COST COULD HAVE BEEN,
BECAUSE LOBSTER GOES FOR AS MUCH
AS 15 DOLLARS A POUND, IF IT'S FRESHLY
FLOWN IN FROM THE ATLANTIC.
AND I COULD HAVE HAD A PUREE OF
SALT COD, AS WELL, SOMETHING
THAT IS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL,
BUT AGAIN, YOU RARELY SEE.
I FELT HUNGRY ALL OVER AGAIN
WHEN I READ I COULD HAVE HAD A
VENISON CUTLET WITH CHESTNUT
PUREE OR FILLET OF PARTRIDGE
RACINE WHICH MEANS, I THINK
MEANT FOIE GRAS.
THE GAME WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE
ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS, BECAUSE IT
WOULD HAVE BEEN MORTIFIED, IT
WOULD HAVE BEEN HUNG OUTSIDE ON
A CHILLING ROOM FOR A WEEK OR SO
AND ITS FLESH WOULD HAVE BEEN
EATEN INTO BY BACTERIA AND SO
TENDERISED, AND ITS TASTE
ENHANCED.
IF YOU'VE EVER TRIED TO EAT A
PHEASANT, WHICH YOU CAN BUY WHICH
HASN'T BEEN PROPERLY AGED, IT IS
SO TOUGH THAT IT'S, IT IS
VIRTUALLY INEDIBLE.
THIS IS STILL THE PRACTICE,
THOUGH, HANGING IS STILL THE
PRACTICE IN EUROPE AND A ROAST
PHEASANT DINNER IS ONE OF
BRITAIN'S CULINARY TRIUMPHS.
IT'S GARNISHED WITH GAME CHIPS,
FRIED BREAD CRUMBS, TINY
BRUSSELS SPROUTS, BREAD SAUCE
AND GRAVY.
BUT IN NORTH AMERICA, THE FOOD
POLICE, A.K.A. THE HEALTH
AUTHORITIES, DO NOT ALLOW GAME
TO BE HUNG AND THEREFORE A HUGE
RESOURCE OF GOOD, LEAN, WILD
MEAT IS GOING BEGGING.
IN THE 17th CENTURY,
INCIDENTALLY, NORTH AMERICANS
ATE PHEASANT MORE THAN ANYTHING
ELSE.
PROBABLY THEY HUNG IT, I GUESS,
OTHERWISE THEY COULDN'T HAVE
EATEN IT.
SOME -- SO COLD BUFFET WOULD
HAVE BEEN NEXT, PATE DE FOIE
GRAS, OF COURSE, BUT REMEMBER,
IT'S LIKELY TO BE BANNED BY
ANIMAL ACTIVISTS.
TONGUE, TONGUE IS SOMETHING YOU
RARELY SEE, BECAUSE IT FRIGHTENS
EATERS I WAS TOLD BY A MANAGER
OF A, A GROCERY STORE.
IS THAT WHAT TONGUE REALLY LOOKS
LIKE.
UNNH! ROAST SADDLE OF
LAMB, NOW SADDLE OF LAMB IS
ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL, IT'S A
WONDERFUL CUT, IT'S VERY
EXPENSIVE, THAT'S WHY YOU DON'T
SEE IT IN A RESTAURANT, YOU'LL
SEE IT IN A VERY HIGH-END
RESTAURANT IN EUROPE, I'VE NEVER
SEEN IT HERE.
ROAST BEEF, OF COURSE, RIPPLING
SLICES OF PINK SIRLOIN, BUT
TODAY, OF COURSE, BEEF IS ONE OF
THE MOST THREATENED FOODS, IT'S
SUSPECT FOR DISEASE, RIGHTLY AND
I'M AFRAID IT IS ON THE DECLINE.
THERE WOULD HAVE
BEEN WONDERFUL ASPARAGUS, OF
COURSE, ARTICHOKES, BRAISED
LETTUCE, YOU NEVER SEE BRAISED
LETTUCE ANYMORE, I ALWAYS
THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE
INTERESTING AND CARDOONS, A LOST
VEGETABLE IF THERE EVER WAS ONE.
A CARDOON IS A THISTLY SORT OF
ARTICHOKE AND THE VICTORIANS
LOVED IT AND IT'S HUGE, SORT OF
HIGHLY ORNAMENTAL.
DESSERTS INCLUDED A FENNEL
SOUFFLE.
I STOPPED RIGHT THERE, BECAUSE I
REALISED THE BEATEN EGG WHITE IS
NOW ENDANGERED.
TO RID EGGS OF PESKY BACTERIA,
SALMONELLA E, THE FOOD POLICE
RECOMMEND PASTEURISING OR WORSE,
IRRADIATING EGGS.
THIS HAS ALREADY BEGUN AND IT'S
BEEN FOUND THAT THE IRRADIATED
EGG WHITE CAN'T BE BEATEN ENOUGH
TO MAKE ANGEL FOOD CAKE,
SOUFFLES, MERINGUES, MOUSSES,
LEMON MERINGUE PIE.
AT THE END OF THE DESSERTS CAME
PARFAIT MOCHA COUPE ADELINA
PATTY, A HOMAGE TO A REIGNING
SOPRANO.
THAT SHOWS WHAT FUN EATING USED
TO BE.
AS I CALCULATED THE GAP BETWEEN
THE MEAL AT A RESTAURANT 100
YEARS AGO AND NOW, I STARTED TO
EXPLORE WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO THE
FOOD DURING THAT TIME AND WHY
FOODS AND WHY RECIPES HAD
VANISHED.
AND AS I DID SO, I HAD TO LOOK
AT MY OWN ATTITUDES.
MY PARENTS WERE THE LAST
GENERATION OF HAPPY, CARELESS
EATERS, I RECKONED, PEOPLE WHO
THOUGHT OF EATING AS PURELY
PLEASURE AND I'D INHERITED THEIR
FOOD GENE.
MY PARENTS' FOOD TASTES WERE AN
IMPORTANT BOND TO MY PAST AND I
REALISED THAT THE CONTEXT FOR
WHATEVER I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT
FOOD AND ITS LACK OR LACK OF
TASTE WOULD HAVE TO BE ROOTED IN
MY OWN EXPERIENCE AND THAT
STARTED IN POST-WAR BRITAIN,
WHEN THERE WAS SO LITTLE FOOD
AFTER WORLD WAR II.
WE LIVED IN A COMPLETELY
ISOLATED WORLD IN THE COUNTRY,
THERE WAS LITTLE GAS FOR CARS,
SO WE CHILDREN BICYCLED OR
WALKED EVERYWHERE OR WE RODE
PONIES.
MY SISTER AND I COULDN'T HELP
BUT BE CLOSE TO NATURE, EVERY
DAY WE PASSED FARM WORKERS ON
THEIR WAY TO AND FRO TO THE
FIELDS AND DAIRY OF THE MIXED
FARM THAT DOMINATED THE HAMLET
IN WHICH WE LIVED.
THE BEST DAY OF THE WEEK WAS
THURSDAY, I GUESS IT WAS THE DAY
THE FARM MADE BUTTER.
WE WOULD STOP BY THE FARM, BE
TAKEN INTO THE SPANKING CLEAN
DAIRY, GIVEN A GLASS OF FRESH
RAW MILK, THE TASTE OF WHICH I
REMEMBER NOW WHEN IT'S SO HARD
TO GET.
RAW MILK IS A COCKTAIL OF
FLAVOUR, THE DAIRY EQUIVALENT OF
V8 JUICE.
AND WE ALSO GOT, AT THE SAME
TIME, A SLICE OF FARM-BAKED
BREAD, LOADED WITH BUTTER, HOME-
MADE STRAWBERRY JAM, FINALLY
YELLOW CREAM SPREAD ON TOP SO
THICK AND CRUNCHY.
OUR PARENTS NEVER GAVE ANOTHER
THOUGHT TO THE DANGERS OF RAW
MILK, WHICH IS NOW A TABOO FOOD
IN MANY U.S. STATES AND ALL OF
CANADA.
THERE WAS RISK, OF COURSE, THE
HERD MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN TESTED
FOR T.B., TESTING HAVING SLIPPED
DURING THE WAR AND THE FARMER
MIGHT HAVE BEEN CARELESS AND THE
DAIRY NOT KEPT CLEAN.
BUT TO MY MOTHER, THE PLEASURE
OUTRANKED THE RISK, JUST AS
RISKS OF SWIMMING IN THE THAMES,
WHICH WE LIVED ON, AND WHICH WAS
TOTALLY POLLUTED, WERE
OUTWEIGHED BY THE PLEASURE OF
SWIMMING IN FRESH WATER, RATHER
THAN THE CHLORINATED WATER OF A
POOL.
LUCKILY THERE WAS NO GOVERNMENT
OFFICIAL AVAILABLE THEN TO TELL
HER NOT TO DO IT.
AND SO I BEGAN TO TRACE MY FOOD
EXPERIENCES FROM THIS TIME.
EACH WEEK OUR SUNDAY LUNCH
CONSISTED OF A PIECE OF MUTTON,
OUR FATHER WOULD LOOK AT IT AND
ALWAYS SAY THE SAME THING, WHAT
AN EXTRAORDINARY PIECE OF MEAT.
IT HAD BEEN HACKED FROM A
CARCASS VERY CLUMSILY, THE
BUTCHERS HADN'T YET RETURNED TO
THE JOB, BUT IT TASTED VERY
GOOD, VERY GAMY, WE LIKED IT
BEING GAMY AND ITS FAT WHEN IT
WAS COLD WAS DELICIOUS.
NOW MUTTON HAS LITERALLY BEEN A
TABOO FOOD IN NORTH AMERICA
SINCE WORLD WAR II, I ONLY
LEARNED THAT WHEN I MOVED HERE,
BECAUSE THE MUTTON SERVED THE
TROOPS DURING WORLD WAR II CAME
FROM AUSTRALIA AND WAS ROTTEN.
AND NOBODY NOTICED, SO
APPARENTLY YOU SAY "MUTTON" IN
CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES AND
PEOPLE JUST GO INTO SHOCK AND
DON'T WANT TO KNOW ANY MORE
ABOUT IT.
BUT OF COURSE WE YEARNED FOR THE
BEEF, THE BRITISH NATIONAL FOOD.
IT WAS THE BRITISH WHO INVENTED
MODERN BEEF, THAT GREAT
LUXURIOUS MOUTHFUL OF RICH,
JUICY MEAT, TASTING OF SINGLE
SALT -- MALT WHISKEY.
BUT BEEF IS HIGH MAINTENANCE
CATTLE AND THE FARM LABOURERS
HAD ALL GONE TO WAR, SO BEEF WAS
A REAL LUXURY FOOD.
MY FIRST STEAK WAS SOMETHING
DIFFERENT.
AFTER WE HAD MOVED TO LONDON
PERMANENTLY IN THE '50s, MY
MOTHER CAME HOME ONE DAY WITH A
RUMP STEAK THAT TASTED QUITE
WONDERFUL TO MY UNEDUCATED
PALATE OR SHOULD I SAY NOSE, ONE
OF THE BENEFITS OF WRITING MY
BOOK WAS THAT I FINALLY LEARNED
THE NOSE IS THE SEAT OF TASTE,
TO HELL WITH TASTE BUDS.
ALSO A MONTH OR SO LATER, ALAS,
RATHER, A MONTH OR SO LATER, MY
FATHER ACCOMPANIED HER TO WHAT
SHE NOW DESCRIBED AS HER
WONDERFUL BUTCHER AND HE SAW,
TRACED IN THE SUBTLEST OF
LETTERS ON THE PLATE GLASS
WINDOWS, THE WORD "CHEVALINE."
OH MY GOD, HORSE.
WE'VE BEEN EATING HORSE.
IT WAS DELICIOUS, WE LOVED IT,
BUT WE COULDN'T EAT HORSE, THE
TABOO KICKED IN.
ENGLISH PEOPLE AND ENGLISH-
SPEAKING PEOPLE THINK OF HORSES
AS PALS AND ARE SQUEAMISH ABOUT
EATING THEM, UNLESS THEY HAVE
TO.IN BRITAIN,
ACTUALLY, DURING THE WAR, PEOPLE
WERE ENCOURAGED TO EAT HORSE, AS
IT WAS A NECESSARY PROTEIN.
AND IN 1973, NORTH AMERICANS ATE
HORSE, TOO, INCIDENTALLY,
BECAUSE THERE WAS A BEEF
SHORTAGE DURING THE OIL CRISIS
AND THEY MADE HORSE FRANKS.
THERE WERE NO OBJECTIONS.
MY MOTHER HAD
BETTER LUCK WITH CHEESE, WE
LIVED OVER THE DEPARTMENT STORE
HARRODS, WHICH HAD THE FINEST,
MOST SUMPTUOUS FOOD HALLS IN ALL
ENGLAND.
AS RATIONING CAME OFF, THE FOOD
HALLS WERE BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE,
THE MAIN ONE DECORATED ONCE
AGAIN WITH THE MAGNIFICENT
NATURAL FOOD OF THE BRITISH
ISLES.
I'M NOT GONNA GET INTO INFAMY
BAD BRITISH COOKING, BUT SIMPLY
SAY THE LABEL DOESN'T STICK
ANYMORE.
CERTAINLY ANYONE WITH A COOK'S
GENE COULDN'T HAVE GONE WRONG
WITH HARRODS.
GREAT CARCASSES OF BEEF AND LAMB
ON DISPLAY, HUGE WILD SALMON
LAID OUT SURROUNDED BY FLEETS OF
ROVING EYE DOVER SOLES, THE
SINISTER WINGS OF SCAPE, THE
BOXES OF WINKLES, MUSSELS,
COCKLES, PROPER SCALLOPS WITH
PINK ROES INTACT.
MY MOTHER WAS AN AMERICAN AND
SHE WENT WILD WHEN SHE FIRST SAW
AND TASTED A COMPLETE SCALLOP
WITH ITS PINK ROE LAID OUT ON
THAT PRETTY, FLUTED SHELL.
IN NORTH AMERICA, THE ROES ARE
ROUTINELY THROWN AWAY FOR FEAR
OF POSSIBLE CONTAMINATION BY
TOXIC BACTERIA THAT COME TO
SHORE ON THE RED TIDES OF WARM
WATERS.
AND THE CHEESE COUNTER.
AT THE TIME, BRITAIN, WHICH ONCE
HAD A AND NOW HAS AGAIN, SOME
TERRIFIC REGIONAL AND ARTISANAL
CHEESE, HAD ONLY PROCESSED
NATIONAL CHEESE, A KIND OF
CHEDDAR, WHICH LOOKED LIKE YELLOW
TOENAILS.
WE USED TO CALL IT "MOUSETRAP,"
BUT THE JOKE WAS, EVEN THE MICE
REFUSED TO EAT IT.
[Laughter]

Gina continues BUT ONCE HARRODS
GOT BACK IN THE SWING OF FOOD,
ITS CHEESE COUNTER WAS A MECCA.
MY MOTHER BELIEVED CHEESE MADE A
MEAL AND WE ALL AGREED.
BRIE WAS OUR FAVOURITE.
NOW I KNOW WHAT -- THAT WE ATE
WHAT I THINK WERE THE LAST OF
THE GREAT BRIES DE MEAUX,
HANDMADE BY INDIVIDUAL VILLAGE
CHEESEMAKERS, PERFECTED BY
INDIVIDUAL VILLAGE RETINERS, ALL
OF THEM A LITTLE DIFFERENT, NO
DOUBT, BECAUSE THE COWS WOULD
HAVE EATEN DIFFERENT GRASSES AND
FLOWERS, JUST THE WAY THE RAW
MILK COCKTAIL FROM THE FARM HAD
TASTED DIFFERENT WEEK FROM WEEK.
THAT TO ME IS NOW THE ESSENCE OF
NATURAL EATING.
THE COWS WERE THEN ONLY THE TRUE
BRIE COWS, THE FLAMANDE AND THE
NORMANDE, WITH A RICH MILK THAT
MAKES THE BRIE SO SUAVE AND OF
COURSE, THE CHEESES WERE THEN
ONLY MADE FROM RAW MILK.
AN ARTISANAL CHEESEMAKER GAVE ME
WHAT I THINK IS THE MOST
EVOCATIVE DESCRIPTION OF THE
TASTE OF RAW MILK CHEESE, IT'S
LIKE FIRE IN THE MOUTH, IT'S
ALIVE.
WHEN YOU CUT IT, IT DIES,
THEREFORE IT HAS TO BE CUT AT
EXACTLY THE RIGHT MOMENT.
THERE WAS NEVER ANY QUESTION OF
GETTING INFERIOR BRIE, AND THE
CHEESEMONGER, WHOM WE HAD
NICKNAMED GIACOMETTI, FOR HIS
SPECTRAL APPEARANCE, WOULD SHOW
US THE AVAILABLE CHEESES,
BECAUSE THE TRUE CHEESE-LOVER
LIKED BRIE IN DIFFERENT DEGREES.
RIGHT OVER THE TOP WAS POPULAR
AND THEN THE APPOINTE CHEESE,
WHERE THE PASTE WAS BEGINNING TO
OOZE, AND FINALLY THE
CONNOISSEUR'S FAVOURITE, THE
BRIE WITH THE THIN LINE OF WHITE
CHALK, A DASH OF ACID IN THE
MIDST OF SWEET CREAM.
I SWEAR I CAN STILL TASTE THOSE
BRIES AND LUCKY I CAN, 'CAUSE
THERE ARE NONE OF THEM LEFT.
TODAY YOU CAN ONLY FIND AN
AUTHENTIC, HANDMADE BRIE DE
MEAUX, MADE FROM A SINGLE HERD
OF COWS, AT THE ROTHSCHILD BRIE
MUSEUM NEAR MEAUX.
THE DETERMINED EATER CAN BUY A
ROTHSCHILD BRIE AND HAVE IT
FLOWN ACROSS THE ATLANTIC.
DON'T ASK ME HOW IT GETS PAST
THE CUSTOMS, BECAUSE A RAW MILK
CHEESE UNDER 60 DAYS OF AGE IS
OFFICIALLY BANNED IN NORTH
AMERICA.
AND A BRIE CANNOT BE OVER 60
DAYS OF AGE AND TASTE GOOD.
BUT ANYWAY, I GUESS THERE ARE NO
FOOD POLICE HERE, SO IT DOESN'T
MATTER.
OF COURSE, NOBODY IN OR OUT OF
HARRODS TALKED ABOUT THE DANGERS
OF RAW MILK CHEESE, WHICH IS NOW
AN ISSUE BETWEEN EUROPE AND
AMERICA.
AND THIS IS WHERE THE STORY
DARKENS.
I HAD NO IDEA THAT THE U.N. HAS
PLANS TO MAKE THE WORLD'S FOOD
ALL THE SAME.
THE SYSTEM IS CALLED THE CODEX,
NATIONS MEET FOUR TIMES A YEAR
TO WORK ON A WORLD-WIDE STANDARD
FOR FOOD, SO, FOR EXAMPLE, A
CHEDDAR MADE IN SOMERSET WILL BE
MADE EXACTLY THE SAME WAY AS A
CHEDDAR IN SHANGHAI.
AND IF U.S. PROCESSED CHEESE
GIANTS HAVE THEIR WAY, AND THEY
ARE AT THE CODEX BARGAINING
TABLE, ALL CHEESE WILL BE
PASTEURISED.
IN OTHER WORDS, THE INVALUABLE
TASTE MOLECULES WILL HAVE BEEN
BOILED AWAY, OSTENSIBLY IN THE
NAME OF FOOD SAFETY.
AND ALSO, TO MAKE SURE THAT
COMPETITION AMONG CHEESES IS
REDUCED AND THE EDGE THAT RAW
MILK CHEESE HAS FOR CONNOISSEURS
IS REMOVED.
IT MAY SOUND RIDICULOUS, BECAUSE
PROCESSED CHEESE OBVIOUSLY SELLS
MORE CHEESE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
THAN ANYTHING ELSE, BUT THAT'S
HOW IT WORKS WITH INDUSTRIAL
FOOD, NO COMPETITION.
ANYTHING THAT IS SLIGHTLY
DIFFERENT SORT OF MUST BE GOT
RID OF.
SO YOU CAN SAY
GOODBYE TO PARMESAN, ROQUEFORT,
STINKING BISHOP, VRAI BRIE,
CAMEMBERT, EPOISSE, REBELCHAMP,
WONDERFUL CHEESES NOW IN CANADA,
CHAPEUSE CHEESES, THERE'S A TOM
FROM QUEBEC NOW, ALL OF THESE
CHEESES ARE RAW MILK, EVEN
CHEESES MADE FROM RAW MILK AND
AGED FOR MORE THAN 60 DAYS ARE
NOW ON THE FIRING LINE.
NOW HERE, HERE
COMES ONE OF THE REALLY, YOU
KNOW, ONE OF THE DOGMAS OF
MODERN FOOD POLICE, AS IT WERE.
PASTEURISATION OF MILK AND IT
WAS REALLY IMPORTANT A HUNDRED
YEARS AGO AND STILL IS IF YOU'RE
BUYING HUGE AMOUNTS OF MILK FROM
DAIRIES, YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE
THEY COME FROM.
BUT TODAY PASTEURISATION, I
MEAN, QUITE APART FROM NOT
MAKING THE TASTE, MILK TASTE
VERY GOOD, WHICH MAY BE ONE
REASON WHY PEOPLE ARE DRINKING
LESS MILK, INCIDENTALLY, BUT NOW
PASTEURISATION IS NO GUARANTEE
THAT A MILK PRODUCT WILL BE
SAFE.
IN FACT, ALL THE CASES OF
POISONED MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS,
INCLUDING SOME FAMOUS FRENCH
CHEESES, HAVE OCCURRED IN
PASTEURISED PRODUCTS.
NOW -- AND WHETHER OR NOT
PASTEURISATION IS EFFECTIVE
ISN'T REALLY THE ISSUE.
IT IS THE WAY MODERN FOODS ARE
BEING PROCESSED AND HANDLED THAT
ALLOWS TOXIC BACTERIA TO EMERGE.
BACTERIA ARE AT WAR WITH US,
IT'S QUITE, QUITE TRUE, THEY'RE
OUR ENEMIES AND AS THEY
REPRODUCE 4,000 TIMES A YEAR OR
SOMETHING, THEY'RE WAY AHEAD OF
US, THEY WORKED OUT ALL THE
ANTIBIOTICS BEFORE WE EVEN USE
THEM, USUALLY.
BUT REMEMBER MANY OF THESE
BACTERIA ARE OUR FRIENDS, AS
WELL.
THERE ARE ONLY A FEW BAD ONES,
BUT I THINK THEY'VE GOT A BEAD
ON US AND THEY'RE CERTAINLY GOT
A BEAD ON US WHEN WE HAVE FOOD
WORKERS WHO ARE POORLY PAID AND
UNEDUCATION -- UNEDUCATED AND
HANDLE FOOD WITH DIRTY HANDS,
IT'S REALLY AS SIMPLE AS THAT.
BY CONTRAST, A RAW MILK DAIRY
TODAY IS STRINGENTLY REGULATED.
I'VE BEEN IN PENNSYLVANIA JUST
TWO WEEKS AGO AND ATE RAW CREME
FRAICHE IN A DAIRY THAT WAS
AMAZINGLY CLEAN, I'M STILL
ALIVE.
AND USUALLY, THE RAW MILK COMES
FROM ONE HERD, WHICH IS ANOTHER
GUARANTEE OF SAFETY.
BUT THIS HASN'T STOPPED RAW MILK
BEING CONTINUALLY ATTACKED BY
THE FOOD POLICE AS DANGEROUS AND
IT'S HAPPENING EVEN IN EUROPE
SADLY, JUST AS FRANCE,
SWITZERLAND AND ITALY ARE
FIGHTING THE PROCESSED CHEESE
COMPANIES FOR THE RIGHT TO MAKE
RAW MILK CHEESE AND SOME OF THE
ATTACKS ARE HURTING EVEN THE
FRENCH CHEESEMAKERS TO THE POINT
THEY HAVE STARTED PARTLY
PASTEURISING THEIR CHEESES.
THEY CALL THE PROCESS... SOFT
CHEESES ARE -- THE, THE RIPENING
OF THE SOFT CHEESE IS DELAYED
BEYOND 60 DAYS, BECAUSE THE MILK
IS PARTIALLY PASTEURISED.
THE TASTE IS SUBTLY DIFFERENT
AND SO IS THE TEXTURE.
AND INCIDENTALLY, YOU'RE NOT
ADVISED THE CHEESE HAS BEEN...
IF YOU GO TO A CHEESEMONGER.
IT TOOK ME A COUPLE OF...
EPOISSE TO REALISE I WASN'T
EATING THE REAL THING.
THERE ARE A LOT OF ENEMIES, IN
OTHER WORDS, OF GOOD-TASTING
FOOD.
THE FOOD INDUSTRY, FOOD POLICE,
TRADE POLICY, NOW ADD DIET DOCS.
ENVIRONMENTALISTS, WHO WANT TO
REPEAL AGRICULTURAL ADVANCE, AS
IF FARMING HASN'T ALWAYS BEEN
THE ENEMY OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND
WE THE PEOPLE LIKE IT THAT WAY,
'CAUSE WE WANNA EAT.
NOW WE CAN ADD FOOD SCIENTISTS.
WE LIVE AT A TIME WHEN NEWS,
USUALLY BAD, ABOUT WHAT'S IN OUR
FOOD IS PUBLISHED DAILY AND AT
FULL SCREECH IN THE MEDIA.
TAKE THE EGG FIASCO, WHEN IN THE
'70s, A GROUP OF FOOD SCIENTISTS
PRONOUNCED THE EGG'S DOOM, THE
EGG, ABOUT AS NUTRITIOUS A
LITTLE PACKAGE OF FOOD,
INCREDIBLY CHEAP, WENT INTO
FREEFALL.
THE FOOD SCIENTISTS HAD DECIDED,
WITH NO SCIENTIFIC PROOF AT ALL,
THAT THE EGG CONTAINED A HIGH
LEVEL OF CHOLESTEROL AND THAT IF
YOU ATE AN EGG, THAT CHOLESTEROL
WOULD IMMEDIATELY RAISE YOUR
CHOLESTEROL.
AND THE AMERICAN HEART
ASSOCIATION BELIEVED ABSOLUTELY,
SO DID THE CANADIAN HEART
ASSOCIATION AND IMMEDIATELY
SAID, ONLY EAT AN EGG A MONTH OR
SOMETHING LIKE THAT, YOU KNOW?
BUT AT THAT TIME, NOBODY KNEW
HOW CHOLESTEROL AFFECTED THE
HUMAN BODY.
IT WAS ONLY IN THE LATE '90s
THAT THE EGG WAS FINALLY CLEARED
AND IT WAS FOUND, OF COURSE,
THAT CHOLESTEROL COMES FROM A
WHOLE DIFFERENT THING.
EVEN SO, SUSPICION LINGERS, THIS
SHOWS HOW PERNICIOUS ALL THIS
STUFF IS, JUST THE OTHER NIGHT I
SAW AN AD ON T.V. WITH THE EGG'S
CHOLESTEROL WRIT LARGE OVER A
PICTURE OF EGGS.
(Laughing)
Gina says IT'S STILL THERE.
NOW I SAID EARLIER THAT
SUPERMARKETS STOCK MORE FOOD
THAN EVER ASSEMBLED ANYWHERE
BEFORE AND THAT'S TRUE, BUT ONLY
TO A CERTAIN EXTENT.
SUPERMARKETS HAVE DRIVEN OUT THE
LITTLE STORES THAT USED TO BE ON
THE HIGH STREET.
AND THOSE LITTLE STORES USUALLY
HAVE LOCALLY-GROWN FOODS IN THEM
THAT APPEAL TO LOCAL PEOPLE,
LIKE AN APPLE GROWN LOCALLY OR
MAYBE A BUTTER MADE LOCALLY,
SOMETHING AND WHAT HAS HAPPENED,
THEY'VE REALLY, IN A FUNDAMENTAL
SENSE, THE VARIETY OF OUR FOOD
HAS DECLINED.THIS TIME OF
YEAR, THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF
VARIETIES OF APPLES BEING GROWN
IN ONTARIO AND YOU CAN BUY SOME
OF THEM IN THE FARMER'S MARKETS
OR FROM HOBBY ORCHARDS, BUT TAKE
A LOOK AT THE SUPERMARKET
SHELVES, TEN VARIETIES IF YOU'RE
LUCKY AND SOME, BELIEVE IT OR
NOT, ARE NOT FRESH, EVEN AT THIS
TIME OF YEAR, WHEN THE APPLE IS
FRESH.
THE SUPERMARKETS GAS APPLES TO
SLOW THEIR RIPENING AND POLISH
THEM TO A FARE-THEE-WELL SO THEY
CAN BRING 'EM OUT ALL YEAR
AROUND LOOKING GREAT.AND OF COURSE
THEIR FAVOURITE APPLE IS THE RED
DELICIOUS, WHICH IS SO CHEAP FOR
THEM TO BUY THAT IT'S NO LONGER
GROWN WITH ANY CARE AT ALL, I'M
AFRAID, SO THAT'S IT.
THEN THERE'S THE QUES -- BUT
THEN WE COME TO THE QUESTION OF
COST, THEY'RE VERY CHEAP.
ALMOST ANYONE WHO LIKES FOOD
TASTE -- LIKES FOOD TO TASTE
GOOD AND WHO SUPPORTS THE
GROWING OF GOOD FOOD, GOOD
ORGANIC FOOD, KNOWS THAT LIKE
EVERYTHING OF VALUE, THE COST IS
HIGH.
YOU PAY FOR WHAT YOU GET.
THOSE WIDELY AVAILABLE FIELD
TOMATOES THAT SELL FOR SO LITTLE
ARE GROWN FROM CHEAP SEEDS AND
THE QUALITY OF A SEED IS VERY
IMPORTANT TO THE TASTE.
SOAKED WITH WATER AND IT'S A
THIRSTY TOMATO THAT TASTES BEST,
AND PICKED WHEN UNRIPE, THESE
ARE THE FAST FOODS OF
AGRICULTURE.
NOW CHEAP RIGHT UNFORTUNATELY --
CHEAP FOOD IS THE BIRTHRIGHT OF
THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY.
NO GOVERNMENT WOULD DARE TELL
THE TRUTH, THAT GOOD, NUTRITIOUS
FOOD IS MORE EXPENSIVE.
LACK OF FOOD, ANY BAD NEWS ABOUT
FOOD CAN CAUSE A RIOT.
THE FRENCH RIOTED WHEN THEY
COULDN'T GET BREAD, THE BRITISH
CAME CLOSE TO RIOTING UNTIL
CHEAP AMERICAN CORN WAS IMPORTED
IN THE LATE 19th CENTURY AND
MADE INTO CHEAP BREAD AND THAT
WAS LATER DESCRIBED BY SIR
ALBERT HOWARD, THE FATHER OF THE
ORGANIC MOVEMENT, AS THE MURDER
OF OUR DAILY BREAD, HE'S ALSO
THE GUY WHO SAID THAT EASILY-
GROWN FOOD WAS FAMINE OF TASTE,
HE'S PRETTY GOOD.
THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE TODAY.
AND IT WOULD BE WRONG TO SAY THE
FOOD INDUSTRY HAS GOVERNMENT
OVER THE BARREL WITH REGARD TO
KEEPING FOOD CHEAP, BUT
GOVERNMENT IS CERTAINLY VERY
SENSITIVE TO INDUSTRY NEEDS, THE
MOST POPULAR FOOD IN NORTH
AMERICA IS STILL A HAMBURGER, A
HAMBURGER IS ASTONISHINGLY
CHEAP.
AND THE BEEF INDUSTRY IS THE
LARGEST AGRIBUSINESS IN NORTH
AMERICA.
NEITHER THE CANADIAN NOR
AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS WANT BEEF
TAINTED BY HEALTH SCARES.
EVEN SO, NEITHER DO THEY WANT TO
BE AS VIGILANT AGAINST MAD COW
DISEASE AS THE EUROPEANS ARE,
BECAUSE THE COST OF INCREASED
VIGILANCE IS HIGH AND ECONOMISTS
HAVE POINTED OUT THAT EVEN A FEW
CENTS RISE IN THE PRICE OF
HAMBURGER WOULD AFFECTED SALES
AND THUS THE PROFIT MARGIN OF
THE MEAT PACKERS.
GOSH, I SUDDENLY REALISED MY
BOOK WAS TURNING INTO A POLEMIC
AND I HAD TO HURRY TO FIND SOME
UPSIDE AND I DID.
I COMFORTED MYSELF THAT EVERY
TIME GOOD FOOD HAS SEEM FINISHED
SINCE WORLD WAR II, THE DATE
WHEN FOOD STARTED ITS MASSIVE
SLIDE DOWNWARD, SOMETHING OR
SOMEONE CAME ALONG TO SHOW THERE
WAS HOPE.
FIRST IN ENGLAND THERE WAS
ELIZABETH DAVID, IN 1950, SHE
WAS THE FIRST TO POINT OUT HOW
SIMPLE, NATURAL FOOD WAS ALSO
SEDUCTIVELY GOOD, AND GOOD FOR
YOU, RAW MILK CHEESE, OLIVES,
GOOD BREAD, NATURAL HONEY.
SINCE DAVID, OF COURSE,
MEDITERRANEAN FOOD HAS TAKEN OFF
IN POPULARITY AND NOT ONLY THAT,
BUT IT'S UNFORTUNATELY, I THINK,
A GREAT HEALTH FOOD, I ONLY SAY
THAT BECAUSE IT USED TO SORT OF
BE, YOU KNOW -- WHEN YOU SAY
SOMETHING'S HEALTHY, IT KIND OF
GIVES THE WRONG IMPRESSION,
DOESN'T SOUND, MAKE IT SOUND
PLEASURABLE, BUT IT IS.
AND THEN JULIA CHILD, T.V.
DINNERS WERE THE RAGE WHEN JULIA
CHILD REVIVED ESCOFFIER AND SHE
DID SOMETHING HE COULD -- HAD
FAILED DISMALLY TO DO, WHICH WAS
TURN ON NORTH AMERICA TO HIS
COOKING, BUT SHE TURNED ON THE
MIDDLE CLASS TO COOKING AND I
THINK SHE RAISED THE QUALITY NOT
ONLY OF HOME COOKING, BUT I
THINK SHE RAISED THE QUALITY OF
RESTAURANTS AS A RESULT, AND SHE
ALSO MADE FOOD A PLEASURE AGAIN.
AND SHE ALSO CREATED THE KITCHEN
HARDWARE INDUSTRY, BECAUSE, OF
COURSE, FRENCH CLASSIC CUISINE
REQUIRES AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF
COMPLICATED TOOLS.
SO, YOU KNOW, YOU'VE NEVER SEEN
SO MUCH STUFF YOU CAN GET NOW
ABOUT WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING
IN THE KITCHEN.
BUT THE FOOD INDUSTRY EVENTUALLY
ATE JULIA, ADAPTING HER
INFLUENCE TO FROZEN FOOD, AND
THE PROCESSING WENT ON.
LUCKILY ALICE WATERS WAS THERE
WITH HER DOCTRINE OF FRESH AND
SEASONAL AND ORGANIC.
AND IT'S DUE TO HER THAT FEW
SUPERMARKETS CAN AFFORD NOT TO
HAVE AN ORGANIC CORNER NOW.
IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU DON'T
THINK ORGANIC IS BETTER FOR YOU
OR WHETHER IT TASTES BETTER AND
THIS IS ARGUABLE, OR WHETHER, IN
FACT, MUCH ORGANIC FOOD IS
REALLY GROWN IN EARTH THAT ISN'T
COMPLETELY CONTAMINATED OR
PARTIALLY CONTAMINATED,
ORGANIC'S IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT
REVIVES VARIETY.
AND JUST WHEN THE ORGANIC
MOVEMENT WAS IN DANGER OF
BECOMING MEAN CUISINE, IN THE
WRITER GREG CRITSER'S PHRASE,
BOSSING EVERYONE AROUND, WHO
SHOULD APPEAR ON THE FOOD
NETWORK BUT MARTHA STEWART?
THE ORGANIC MOVEMENT HADN'T BEEN
SO MUCH ABOUT COOKING AS ABOUT
INGREDIENTS.
BUT MARTHA PUT THE KITCHEN BACK
INTO THE CENTRE OF THE HOUSE AND
SHE NEVER COOKED WITH ANYTHING
BUT BUTTER.SHE BROUGHT BACK
SENSUALITY AND IN FACT, ALISON
HOOPER, THE BUTTERMAKER I
REFERRED TO, SHE SAID, IT WAS
THE FOOD NETWORK, WHICH SHOWED
HER THAT SHE COULD MAKE BUTTER
FINALLY, SHE'D ALWAYS WANTED --
SHE WAS A CHEESEMAKER -- SHE'D
ALWAYS WANTED TO MAKE BUTTER,
BUT IT WASN'T UNTIL SHE SAW HOW
THE FOOD NETWORK, PARTICULARLY
MARTHA STEWART, BATHED IN
SENSUALITY AND SHE REALISED
THERE WAS A REAL FOLLOWING FOR
IT THAT SHE KNEW SHE COULD MAKE
BUTTER, SO...NOW WHAT'S THE
NEXT TREND?
WELL, IF I CAN'T GET A HOME-
GROWN TOMATO, I'LL GO FOR THE
HOLLAND TOMATOES, THOSE LITTLE
TOMATOES ON A STRING, IMPORTED
FROM THE NETHERLANDS NINE MONTHS
OF THE YEAR.
THEY'RE GROWN HYDROPONICALLY AND
I WELCOME GREENHOUSE GROWING,
WITH THE PLANTS TAKING NUTRIENTS
FROM THE WATER.
FUTURE TOMATOES ARE GENERALLY
GONNA TASTE BETTER, SOMETHING
ALL OF US WHO LIVE IN COLD
CLIMATES WELCOME AS WE'RE THE
RECIPIENTS OF THOSE PLASTIC
CALIFORNIANS IN THE WINTER.
I ALSO LIKE THE IDEA OF A
TRANSGENIC APPLE WITH THE
PROTEIN THAT WIPES OUT TOOTH
DECAY IN IT, THAT SHOULD BOOST
APPLE-EATING AND MAY RESTORE THE
APPLE INDUSTRY.
AND OF COURSE, STRAWBERRIES,
WHICH ARE THE MOST DRENCHED IN
CHEMICALS OF ANY FRUIT WE HAVE,
IF THEY COULD PUT A GENE INTO
THE, INTO A STRAWBERRY THAT
RESISTED WHATEVER IT IS, ROT OR
PESTS, I, I ALSO WOULD WELCOME
THAT.
I WELCOME THE GROWING OF A
NUMBER OF FREE RANGE EGG FARMS
AND EGGS CONTAINING OMEGA-3, WHY
SHOULDN'T WE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF
THE KNOWLEDGE THAT OMEGA-3 FATS
ARE HEART-PROTECTIVE AND USE
OMEGA-3 IN ANY FOOD THAT WE CAN?
I MEAN, I HAVEN'T NOTICED THAT
THE EGGS TASTE OF LINSEED OIL
BECAUSE THEY'RE FED ON FLAX.
AND I, I THINK THEY TASTE FINE.
AND I ALSO SUPPORT FARMED
SALMON, FARMING FISH WAS A DREAM
OF ECOLOGISTS 200 YEARS AGO WHEN
IT BECAME APPARENT THAT WE IN
NORTH AMERICA AND IN EUROPE WERE
RUNNING OUT OF THE EASILY-CAUGHT
FISH.
I DON'T SUPPORT THE WAY THE
FARMING, FARMED SALMON INDUSTRY
HAS GROWN, BECAUSE IT'S GROWN
MUCH TOO QUICKLY.
BUT IF YOU BUY FARMED SALMON
FROM, SAY, IRELAND, SCOTLAND OR
NEW BRUNSWICK, IT CAN BE VERY,
VERY GOOD AND IT'S GOOD AND IT'S
CHEAP AND IT'S ONE OF THOSE
FOODS THAT SORT OF SATISFIES
EVERYONE, IT'S GOT OMEGA-3 IN
IT, SO THE DOCTORS LOVE IT AND
EVERYTHING ELSE.
SO WHEN I LOOK AT THESE
ENCOURAGING SIGNS, I REALISE
THAT THE SOLUTION TO THE FOOD
TASTE CRISIS IS VERY, VERY
SIMPLE.GOOD FOOD HAS A LOT OF ENEMIES,
BUT THE MOST TROUBLING ENEMY IS
OURSELVES. TO PARAPHRASE EDMUND IN
KING LEAR, THE FAULT DOESN'T
LIE IN OTHERS, IT LIES IN
OURSELVES.
IT TAKES ENERGY TO TURN THE HUGE
AIRCRAFT CARRIER THAT IS THE
FOOD INDUSTRY AROUND AND
ULTIMATELY ONLY WE CONSUMERS CAN
DO IT.
WHETHER WE'VE GOT THE WILL TO DO
IT IS ANOTHER QUESTION.

[Applause]

A slate shows "U of T Book Store" and the book cover, "Last Chance to Eat" by Gina Mallet.

Watch: Authors Geoff Heinricks and Gina Mallet