The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘poverty’

roast squash, quinoa and black chickpea salad

In 2016 nearly 800 million people across the world did not have enough to eat. This was not, however, due to there being insufficient food to go round. Last month the World Food Programme published a report called Counting The Beans: The True Cost of a Plate of Food around the World. It is an eye-opening and uncomfortable read. Using a “global index” of food prices, the report calculates the […]

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asparagus, broad bean and Spring herb tart

If I could encourage readers of this blog into one simple, routine habit it would be this: to read the label on any item of fresh produce before you decide whether or not to buy it from the supermarket or store. I can guarantee that if you are not in the habit of doing so, you will be surprised by what you find. Take asparagus as an example. Those who […]

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Persian stuffed squash with tahini sauce and cinnamon onions

It is traditional at this time of year to consider those less well off than ourselves, and here in the UK there is no more poignant symbol of the divide between the haves and the have-nots than the food bank. They arose as a charitable and humanitarian response to growing inequality, and were intended to provide an emergency stop gap in times of need, but food banks have since have […]

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parsnip crisps with smoked salt and thyme

Rickets is a disease associated with poverty. It was once common in Britain, during the Victorian era, caused by a combination of poor diet and a lack of access to sunlight. Rickets predominantly affects children, and its elimination in the UK decades ago was rightly regarded as a sign of a civilised, caring society. But now rickets is making a comeback, along with scurvy and other conditions historically associated with […]

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aloo chaat

Hailed as one of the emerging great economies, India boasts some of the wealthiest people in the world. It is also home to more of the world’s poor than any other country on the planet. Whilst the country has seen a huge expansion in its technology and consumer goods industries over the past two decades, around 70% of India’s inhabitants still live in rural areas and have been largely untouched […]

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kale and shiitake tom yum

I am old enough to remember the UK before the first McDonalds opened up here, and I believe the arrival of the global fast food chain to our shores coincided with a pivotal shift in our attitudes to food. To me, with the benefit of hindsight, it seemed to herald two things. Firstly, a gradual onslaught of fast, cheap, energy-dense food, a trend continued subsequently with the seemingly irresistible rise […]

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chard and Parmesan tart

Is it right – morally, never mind environmentally – that we fill our shopping trollies with asparagus from Peru or Mexico, green beans from Senegal or Kenya, mangetout from Zimbabwe and peas from Guatemala, when we know that these are countries that face problems of food shortages and poverty? Farms in these countries holding contracts with UK companies are high tech, commercialised operations that are required to produce food to […]

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leek, mushroom and tarragon filo tartlets

The French philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon once famously declared, “all property is theft”. In the case of land ownership in the UK there is a substantial amount of truth in that proclamation. The concept of private land ownership in the UK can be traced back to the 13th century when King Henry III legalised the appropriation by the nobility of open fields, pastureland and other areas that previously had been deemed […]

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stuffed arancini with smoky tomato sauce

Around three quarters of the tomatoes that we consume in the UK are imported, mostly from Spain, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Two years ago, an investigation by The Guardian newspaper revealed that migrant African workers picking Spanish tomatoes for export were being paid less than half the legal minimum wage and were living in atrocious conditions. The tomato pickers were not only charged “rent” for living in appalling squalor, they […]

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asparagus with poached egg, mint and Parmesan

I cannot adequately convey the frisson of joy I feel when I first see asparagus shoots emerging on my allotment plot, the Circus Garden. To me it’s a signal that summer is truly on its way. And of course, you simply cannot beat the taste of freshly picked and steamed asparagus – sweet, succulent and slightly grassy. On a good day I can cut the asparagus, leap on my bike, […]

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