Once again I operate from a position of relative weakness.
I am aware of a phenomenon called The Great British Bake Off. I’ve never actually seen it, but I understand how it works. One of the reasons I haven’t watched it is that I am completely cack at baking. My profiteroles are the stuff of legend, but I don’t have the hands for pastry, and I’m really not mad about sweet things, so I haven’t much interest in baking cakes. When it comes to cake consumption, I’m a very cheap date indeed.
This will come as welcome news to Professor Nigel Hunt. I’d never heard of him till he came out shooting, but he’s on the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, and holds a number of high-flying positions, notably at UCL in London, and at the University of Nottingham. He’s got a bee in his bonnet about what he refers to, and I quote, the national ‘cake culture’ he sees all around him.
Birthdays? Engagements? Births? Baptisms? Just something to cheer yourself up on a gloomy Tuesday? Apparently we reach for the cake tin, and the good Professor disapproves. He has (with no apparent statistical backing that I’ve been able to locate) come to the conclusion that ‘cake culture’ is making us (or rather you, since I’m above such things by reason of abstinence) a nation of diabetic fatties with rotten teeth.
This sounds like the sort of unfounded claim that Gorge would make were he somebody who pokes about in mouths for a living, rather than shaking down taxpayers so he can give hard-working corporations a helping hand. This is a culinary zombie apocalypse.
Well, Prof, lighten up a bit, eh? Cakes are a very small part of the problem, and your suggestion that we should celebrate with fruits and nuts rather than a cream horn is risible. Get a life, somewhere where nobody is going to take the piss out of you. Now that is a national culture, debunking blowhards.
Now, bread. This week it was revealed that the French are eating about 30% less bread than they did in the 1950s. Might be true. It is true that in the UK we eat less bread than we used to, but fear not! A money-spinning plot is afoot.
Thanks to the macramé your own sandals brigade, there’s an increasing interest in grains such as the achingly trendy spelt, and now in older varieties of wheats such as einkorn and emmer. Now listen to this bit of blathering from Friedrich Longin from the University of Hockenheim.
‘People are interested in diversity, in getting with more taste, with healthier (sic) ingredients, and ancient grains deliver interesting things.’
Two thirds of the world goes hungry, and bearded hipsters and their Generation Goop spouses are looking at premium priced bread made from types of wheat that fell out of fashion because of relatively low yields. Meanwhile the continuing hipster love affair with quinoa is leading to hardship for many South Americans who can now no longer obtain or afford a staple of their diet.