Spud Sunday: Food Matters

Sometimes, eating your fill is not just about filling your belly.

Though it may not be the first thing that springs to mind as you inhale a morning bowl of cornflakes or succumb to the salt and vinegar temptation of a post-pub bag of chips, eating is, as author Michael Pollan has said, both an environmental and a political act, “for how we choose to eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world.” Ah yes, you can always trust Michael Pollan to pile on the weightiness when it comes to food and food matters.

Still, the man does have a point. We do not eat in isolation – even the most mundane-seeming meal may be the end result of a complex global production chain and has a bearing on more than just our personal feeling of fullness. As it happens, there are two far from mundane events taking place in Dublin later this month which aim to both fill our plates and get us thinking about how that food got there and what food got left behind.

Next Sunday, November 18th, sees the SPUDS.ie Tastefest at The Fumbally in Dublin 8 – where folks who have grown naturally blight resistant varieties of potato will bring them for tasting – while on the following Saturday, November 24th, those in the vicinity of Dublin city centre are invited to avail of a free meal, as well as plenty of food for thought, at the Feeding the 5000 event, which aims to highlight the global issue that is food waste, and is being held in Wolfe Tone Park in Dublin 1.

Spuds.ie Tastefest

SPUDS.ie (Sustainable Potatoes United Development Study) was started earlier this year as a reaction to the granting of approval here in Ireland to Teagasc to trial potatoes which have been genetically modified to encourage blight resistance. In advance of what turned out to be a very blight-conducive summer, SPUDS provided volunteer growers with seed potatoes for a number of naturally blight resistant potato varieties from the Sarvari Trust – such as Sarpo Axona and Blue Danube – and the time has now come to taste the results and judge whether these provide a viable, and more environmentally friendly alternative for Irish potato cultivation (for more information on the project, you can download a copy of the inaugural SPUDS.ie newsletter here).

Feeding the 5000 Dublin

Feeding the 5000, meanwhile, aims to draw attention to the issue of food waste by creating a meal for a biblically-sized group of 5000 people using wonky vegetables and other food items that would otherwise have gone to waste (including those potatoes that get graded out of existence because they do not conform to some EU-regulated or supermarket idea of the ‘right’ size). It follows similar events in London, Bristol and Paris, and is the brainchild of Tristram Stuart. It’s worth taking 15 minutes to hear what he has to say on the topic of food waste below.

If you’re interested in hearing Tristram in person, as well as availing yourself of some waste-not-want-not veggie curry – the moreishness of which I can vouch for, having had a preview at the launch this week – do head along to the Dublin event on the 24th. Full schedule below.

Feeding the 5000 Dublin schedule

Comments
  • Food and politics, two of my favourite things!

    Hope you don’t mind me using this forum to ask for advice on the Dublin dining scene. Myself and my two charming children are taking two visiting American friends to dinner in Dublin on Friday week at 6pm. Although being out of touch with Dublin restaurants I was in a funky burger joint frame of mind which covered the children aspect and also catered for what I imagined was everyone’s restrained budgets.

    However, they have sent me a list of restaurants that had been recommended to them and mentioned that they were staying in that grand old dame of a hotel on Stephen’s Green. Both the restaurants and the accomodation have blown all budget assumptions I made out of the water. Gulp.

    So any ideas as to where might be a memorable (for all the right reasons) eating establishment that the kids won’t balk at, the visitors will be delighted with and I won’t faint at the bill (that last criterium the least important!).

    If mentioning establishments by name is not the done thing my email remains unchanged for any helpful thoughts that spring to mind.

    Many thanks!

  • Hi Michelle – I though the politics angle would be of interest alright! Re: your restaurants query, one place that might be worth checking out (though it’s a bit away from the city centre) is Ely Gastro Pub on Grand Canal Sq. Not necessarily going to be the cheapest option but very good grub (including burgers) and a good job on the kids menu too – same goes for their sister restaurant Ely Brasserie on Georges Dock. If pizza is a runner, then a more reasonable option is probably Milano on Dawson St., who tend to do a good job on the kids menu front too. Hope that’s of some help.

  • Hello Spud, As the world gets more regulated the options for the poor business person decrease. I’m sure the waste, especially for the time flexible potato, is by regulation. A potato that would be stored in the cellar for months on time is now discarded after a time or a blemish, when will the madness end. No discardation without representation, remember the spud, don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes. Sorry got carried away.
    Cheers,
    Brian.

  • Not to worry Brian, these are issues about which it is worth getting carried away (in certain directions, anyway). If only more would do likewise.

  • […] duty calls – as it so often does – and I will be busy seeing and sampling all that the SPUDS.ie Tastefest has to offer. I will, in due course, report on the tuberous goings-on but, in the meantime – […]

  • […] to remark, David was not actually beret-clad when I met him at last week’s SPUDS.ie Tastefest (though I daresay a beret would have suited him). What he did display, though, was a resistance […]

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