Protecting Traditional Dishes
By Bernice Hurst, Managing Director, Fine Food Network
At the same time we are all celebrating how globalization continues to impact our food (tastes and availability) with ever-increasing multiculturalism, there is a simultaneous need to celebrate and perpetuate regional and national specialties.
part of British Food Fortnight (September 22 – October 7), more than 9,000
volunteer chefs were sent into schools to reconnect children to British culinary
cuisine. Research conducted for The Year of Food and Farming revealed a considerable
gap in children’s grasp of regional classics even when they lived in the areas
where the dishes originated. For instance, more than half (54 percent) were
unaware that pasties are from Cornwall, or that haggis are from Scotland (57
percent), while a whopping 80 percent did not know that hotpot hails from Lancashire.
As part of the program, schools have also been invited to enter a ‘Cook for
Life’ challenge, sponsored by kitchen appliance manufacturer, Kenwood, to identify
those incorporating cookery in their curriculum in the most imaginative and
“British Food Fortnight is an annual mass movement to excite and educate young
people about British food,” Alexia Robinson, organizer of British Food Fortnight,
said in a statement. “It’s encouraging that the whole food and farming industry
has come together to help educate children about British food.” These include
linked projects from big retailers like Sainsbury’s and the Co-operative Group
as well as industry sector groups.
|Photo: Courtesy of The Year of Food and Farming|
The Year of Food and Farming, a food-industry
led initiative supported by three government departments that launched this
September, focuses on giving children memorable learning experiences ranging
from farm and rural visits to cooking, growing and work-related activities
across the country. Organizers hope to improve children’s ‘agricultural literacy’
and transform the way the countryside is viewed, in and out of the classroom.
Tony Cooke, program director for the Year of Food and Farming, said, “We need to take urgent action to educate children about the food chain to preserve the future health of our nation and the rural economy itself. We are hoping that impactful initiatives throughout the year will help excite and inspire children about their food.”
On the retail front, consumers are becoming more aware of logos highlighting
PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), PGI (Protected Geographical Indication)
and TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed). These strictly controlled categorizations
are being used throughout the European Union.
Discussion questions: How important are efforts to protect tradition and heritage for food retailing? Is teaching children about where food comes from and understanding supply chains a good way to start? What can retailers do to promote and preserve regional dishes and foods?
- London Hotpot and Leicestershire Pasties – Kids Make a Pickle of Popular British Foods – The Year of Food and Farming
- UK to get EU cash to promote local food – just-food.com
- Welcome to British Food Fortnight – British Food Fortnight
- The Year of Food and Farming – The Year of Food and Farming
- UK to get EU cash to promote local food – Just-Food.com
- European Commission – Agriculture and Food/Quality Policy