Going slow with the Turin crowd

Jim Kitchen: An everyday meal in classical Rome was frugal - a simple porridge of emmer wheat and broad beans would have been typical. But Romans set aside this frugality for civic banquets which played an important role in political, social and religious life. Such events, ostensibly a gathering of equals, was called a convivium. The modern expression of a convivium lies at the heart of the Slow Food movement, which has over 1300 of these local chapters around the world, working to defend their culinary culture and support sustainable food production.

09 November 2012 | 148 Comments | Recommended by 15

Blythman is brilliant in Belfast

Jim Kitchen: It was towards the end of the evening when we’d invited questions from the audience and someone asked about GM food – the response flowed with authority, evidence and complete conviction. Joanna Blythman was in Belfast, appearing at a Soil Association event as part of the inaugural Restaurant Week, an initiative of Belfast City Council. A sold-out audience of forty lucky people had enjoyed the splendid hospitality and exquisite local organic food provided by Niall McKenna at his celebrated restaurant and heard Joanna talk about her latest book, What to Eat.

16 October 2012 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 6

Take your marks... get set... sit

Jim Kitchen: And we’re off. For the next fortnight, the greatest global sporting extravaganza is being played out on home turf, as it were, and millions of us will be devoted spectators of the 14,690 Olympians who will be battling for the spoils in a myriad of disciplines. For most of us, sadly, the couch will always be more accessible than the podium. Professor Tim Lang of London’s City University has described it as a festival of the “superfat watching the superfit” – his pithy recognition of the widespread rise in obesity among the UK’s population set in ironic contrast with the perfectly honed physiques of the world’s best sports performers.

31 July 2012 | 350 Comments | Recommended by 165

A growing community

Jim Kitchen: Alan is a bee-man, an apiarist. He tends half-a-dozen hives near Minnowburn, where the National Trust has established one of its five allotment sites in Northern Ireland. It’s a wonderful location, sandwiched between Belfast’s River Lagan and the renowned Giant’s Ring but it’s a bit short of wild flowers to feed Alan’s bees with nectar. So the allotmenteers and National Trust volunteers have planted a native hedge of holly, hawthorn and dog rose which will help to address the floral deficit.

08 June 2012 | 135 Comments | Recommended by 15

All human life is here

Jim Kitchen: We've been exhibiting at the Balmoral Show in Belfast over the last three days. The Show is Northern Ireland's annual festival of food and farming; it's when Country comes to Town and Town gets a look at Country. And anybody who is anybody will be here. Outside, in the vast arena, the champion animals are being prepared and paraded, farmers salivate at the latest agricultural technology and the public is entertained by show-jumpers and stunt bikes. The handsome longhorn cattle and Jacob sheep draw admiring comments, piglets and day-old chicks are a hit with the parties of schoolchildren and the heavy horses compete for attention with the antique tractors.

23 May 2012 | 70 Comments | Recommended by 8

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