21 januar 2010

Food Inc, a movie that really makes you think.

Food Inc, the movie

I’ve just returned to my little rented apartment in Chelsea, London, after seeing Food Ink. A frightening movie about how far out food production has come, and how alienated we all have turned with respect to the land, and therefore really don’t know what is going on. I mean, the movie has the usual dramatic twists and turns, but in general it is really informative! It is a daunting task trying to grasp how bad things are and how much has to be done, it is all very complicated, but more and more I tend to believe in 2 things: consumers have to use their power when they shop and think before they buy all that prepared food, some of it, I think you can discuss if is food at all, and that also goes for «junk food». We have to make our politicians come up with tighter food policies that are in the interests of people and not big corporations, and also food policies that go against creating monopolies as seen in the food industry, which is more or less controlled by the big 5. I mean, when they are done regulating the banks, then I think politics should take a look at the food industry!

The movie is about USA, and things there are different than in Europe, but I am under no illusion what we in Europe are not a big part of what is going on. I have to look more closely into what the differences really are apart from laws and the legal system, but this film raises so many issues that we cannot ignore: animal welfare, poor poor quality of products, food security issues, obesity problems, workers’ welfare, and about costs. Here I mean: why does food have to be as cheap as possible? We do not necessarily select the cheapest mobile phone or car.

Lastly, from a chef’s point of view, conventional food production is not about creating taste, and it will not make you relate to your history and community. It is about doing something so bland that it will not bother anybody, it’s purely about quantity and not quality! That creates really terrible food experiences where the inspiration is triggered solely by how to control and make a profit! That is not only wrong, it is also really really sad!

This movie just shows how important it is that food is becoming more democratic, that we cook from fresh regional ingredients, that we sit down as families and enjoy food together and celebrate that part of our culture. We must again become familiar with the land, and one simple way to turn that around is to start buying food and shopping at places that support such a development!

Is it a problem that big industry is turning organic? Organic producers have to make money using the best technology. If we have to make a difference, it may have to be big, but how big is the question, and by the way: shouldn’t organic producers also vouch for good working conditions and for salaries that do not create «working poor», and guarantee workers both a pension and social security? We have to make solutions that not exclusively aim for the middle class and up so that part of the population is left out as when, for example, fresh vegetables are more expensive than a readymade cheese burger. That is crazy and really depressing! We have to create something that is more balanced, where farmers get paid so they can farm according to a sustainable system where we can stay healthy, not ending up with huge medical bills because we’ve had a wrong lifestyle. It’s a vicious circle that we have to break!

Buy a big organic chicken and have food for 3 days!

1 Day
Eat it roasted with vegetables
Day 2
East the rest of the chicken meat in a salad
Day 3
Boil the chicken bones and get a stock for risotto
See recipes underneath
Chicken with root vegetables

Serves 4 to 6

1 large organic chicken
8 garlic cloves
1 organic lemon cut into pieces
Root vegetables:
1 celeriac
3 beetroots
2 carrots
1 small handful of fresh thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Kale salad:
300 g raw kale
2 carrots
10 radishes
50 g almonds
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
2 spsk balsamic vinegar
2 t tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the 6 cloves of garlic and lemon pieces inside the chicken, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in an ovenproof dish and roast in the oven at 200 degrees for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the celeriac, beetroots and carrots. Cut them into medium even-sized cubes, rinse the thyme in cold water. Finely chop the remaining 2 garlic cloves, and mix with the vegetables, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper.

After 40 minutes, take the chicken out of the oven and lift it out of the ovenproof dish, spread the vegetables, mix evenly out in the ovenproof dish, place the chicken back on the vegetables. Return the chicken and vegetables to the oven, and roast for another 30 minutes. Organic chicken are often bigger and therefore takes longer time to cook, cut into check the legs to see if it is done, if not cook a little longer.

When done, cut the chicken legs and wing og and cut the breasts of the bones, and save the bones in the fridge for a stock serve on a serving dish with root vegetables.

While the chicken and the root vegetables are in the oven. Chop the kale finely, peel the carrots and cut into julienne, cut the radishes into thin slices. Mix all the vegetables, chop the almonds and mix with the vegetables. Start the dressing by whisking the mustard, honey and balsamic vinegar together and then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix the dressing with the salad, just before you serve it.

Eat the chicken with root vegetable and the kale salad

Chicken and lentils salad
Serves 4

300 g cold chicken meat or whatever is left from the day before
2 celery stalks
2 apples
300 g green puy lentils
50 g sultanas
150 g arugula
2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon
3 tbsp tarragon vinegar
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Boil the green lentil in plenty of water for 20 minutes and then drain in colander and discard of the water, and cool the lentils down.

Cut the celery and apples into small cubes. When the lentils are cooled down, mix with celery, apple, sultanas, and arugula.

Mix dressing in a bowl and mix into the salad and season to taste to with salt and pepper.

Serve right away some nice bread

Mushroom Risotto made with chicken stock
Serves 4

1 chicken bones
1 onion
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp coarse salt
10 sprigs of thyme(optional)
1 tbsp whole pepper corns
1.5 liter chicken stock
300 g risotto rice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
300 g of mixed mushrooms
3 stems of parsley, finely chopped
100 g freshly grated parmesan
salt and freshly grounded pepper
Fresh grated parmesan
Green salad

Add the chicken bones with the other ingredient and add 2.5 liter water, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer until it has reduce with about 30%, then pour the stock through a sieve and discard of all the other ingredients only saving the stock! Leave either in the fridge for a couple of days or use right away.

Rinse the mushrooms with a brush or your fingers using as little water as possible, and cut them roughly into pieces. In sauté pan add olive oil and sauté the garlic, mushrooms, and parsley stems for 2 minutes, then add the rice and sauté for 5 minutes at medium heat.

Add the stock to a separate saucepan and bring it to a boil and then let it simmer, it is now ready for use.

Now add the about 200 ml of the stock or 2 big soup spoons, bring to a boil, and let it simmer until liquid is gone and add the same amount of stock again, while you stir more or less all the time, repeat the process until all the stock has been use, it should take about 18 minutes and the risotto should be smooth and not firm, more on the runny side! Add the parmesan, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve right away fresh parmesan on the side and a green salad.

Trine Hahnemann