OUR FOOD: Wednesday 4th April, BBC2, 8pm
While there’s plenty that has already been said about battery farming and the evils of the fishing industry, it’s recently become fashionable among British foodies to celebrate the UK’s agricultural heritage rather than disparage it. Our Food is Giles Coren and friends’ attempt to get in on this trend, with a four-part series of programmes focusing on different farming regions across the country. Taking us to various landscapes around Norfolk, the first episode of the series doesn’t disappoint.
Coren may be as snobby as ever, but the programme gets around this by letting the voices of people working in local industry be heard, along with experts in the various fields (ahem) the programme focuses on. Meanwhile, botanist James Wong is brought in to explain how locally-grown sugar beet means that half of all sugar sold in the UK is now being produced domestically (who knew?), while crab-shelling natives like Tracy add a little bit of local context to Coren’s extended monologues.
Of course, anyone who actually works in the food industry will probably find it a little bit basic and the slow-pacing and rural setting makes it slower than anything by Heston Blumenthal or Jamie Oliver, but the languid and relaxed tone puts Our Food in the Coast ball-park, which is certainly not a bad place to be.
Indeed amusing segments in which Coren foolishly shoving great lumps of mint in his mouth and attempts to dress a Cromer crab are great little nuggets amid the carefree knowledge, and an incident in which he ‘degasses’ a dead turkey is also quite a novelty. Yes folks, he makes a deceased turkey fart..