Monday, June 20, 2011

Biscuits, Chocolate and the People's Park

I love biscuits. Beyond mere desire, I feel a profound affinity with their crumbly sugary form that one might excuse the use of so strong a word such as "love". I have been known to finish a whole packet of bourbon creams in one sitting. Biscuits. Cookies. Chocolate. Cake. Buns. Foodstuffs of immeasurable pleasure-giving. I have nothing insightful to offer with this confession, I just wish to talk of biscuits. Fox's chocolate digestives. Maryland chocolate chip cookies. St Bernards Bourbon cream. The classic Rich Tea. All tempt me (often successfully) with a morally questionable self indulgence. Custard creams. Rocky bars. The simplicity of a Twirl, the many layered Moro.

I say morally questionable, but there are many areas of the confectionery industry where ethics are sacrificed to feed demand. (EDIT: apologies in advance for the completely random change of tone. I really did just intend on talking about how tasty biscuits are..) As well being the source of vast amounts of disposable plastic waste, there is also the disturbing fact of widespread use of child slavery and trafficking within cocoa farming (the subject even has its own wikipedia entry). I'm terrible for figures and facts and statistics, I have no memory for such things. And when researching or learning about things like this, i find it difficult to put much of it in context. But I do know when something disturbs me. And I know I've come across the issue of child labor enough times in books and talks and reports that its become an incessant motivator to change aspects of my life.
For me the only way to ensure no abuse, slavery or trafficking is involved in the production of foods and goods we use is to know exactly where it came from. The best way of doing that is to put as little space between myself and what I'm buying. There's also the importance of organisations like FairTrade, though not a perfect solution, if for no other reason than support of FairTrade companies is the consumers way to tell leading brands that they want strong ethics to govern their food production. And, as Auret says, the power to make serious changes globally is in the hands of the major corporations, industries and governments. But obviously, only because the consumer gives them that power. I'd also feel abstaining from indulgence and luxury is always a positive.

Anyway, I was planning on talking about nice things like the market in the People's Park in Dun Laoghaire, but of course I had to just growl about crappy real world stuff instead. But yes, this weekends food was supplied by Corleggy cheese, got some super tasty sheep cheese there, Galtee Honey (6.50 for 454g), Tinnock Farm eggs, and delicious strawberries from Drumullen Co Meath. I bought 6euro worth of strawberries they were so good, and I've already eaten them all. I reasoned I'd normally would spend that on some tea, coffee or a beer so it was worth it. They were in the usual plastic punnets but she was kind enough to empty them into a paper bag and they would reuse the container. I do like nice people.

I used to go to college at IADT, and have always loved Dun Laoghaire's sunday markets. It would've been around that time that I started to take a real interest in the food I was eating. There was a cork farmer, who has a stall there still, from whom I used to get dried mangoes and seeds. Then go climbing around the rocks by the pier looking for interesting looking stones or bits of wood. I don't know how much I've changed in.... 7 years..... wow, 7 years. That part of the city always brings back all sorts of memories. Mainly of people. People who would've had more influence on my thoughts and ideas, than markets and Cork farmers. Back then, I at times would have chosen where I went and where I spent my day based on who I hoped to meet there. You know, that whole forlorn youthful adulation. It's funny how people can shape who you become without their even knowing.

Time to stop talking, yes? Yes. I really aught to do some work.


Joe said...

M & S cookies never even got a mention, how strange

barry quinn said...

Ah, how could I forget!!! White chocolate chip! Double chocolate chip! The tastiest cookies in the world. I don't go near M&S if I can, I have no will power to compete with the smell from their bakery.

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