The Leftovers. A week in nutrition



If you woke up last week to results of the presidential elections thinking you had died and gone to hell, you’ll know how I felt this week when I read that McDonald’s in Italy have added the Nutella burger to its menu.


Italy, home to the greatest and most inspiring real food culture is also home to Nutella. It is a land of contrasts. Nutella in Italy is held in the same warm regard as the Royal Family in the UK, so I’m sticking my neck out here. Yes, it contains hazelnut, but its first ingredient is sugar. But then, this is a country that thinks sweet, refined biscuits dunked in a latte is a healthy breakfast option (I did say it is a land of contrasts), which makes Nutella the holy virgin mother of breakfast choices, by comparison.


This news came courtesy of Saffron Alexander, writing in the Telegraph, who went on to describe other ‘burger’ crimes, including the spaghetti burger and the lasagne burger, all inspired, in accordance with my latest conspiracy theory, by a desire to kill off an ageing population.


Not that we need much help in that department. November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and this week we learned that Alzheimer’s has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in women in England and Wales. This has been attributed largely to an ageing population enjoying longer life expectancy. Dementia, including Alzheimer’s, accounts for over 15 per cent of all female deaths, up from 13.4 per cent in 2014.


I think we may have found the perfect solution to the Alzheimer’s crisis. Rates of obesity as you know are also rising exponentially. It is predicted that – if current trends continue – by 2030 46 per cent of the UK per cent of the population will be obese. Obese people do not go on to enjoy a ripe old age. Instead they go on to develop diabetes type 2, heart disease and cancer, and their life expectancy is significantly curtailed. Dementia problem solved.


The restaurant critic Jay Rayner wrote in the Guardian this week about the ongoing row over Marmite. For those of you unaware of this horror story, the makers of said cack-in-a-jar, Unilever, were warning of a price hike of this ‘food’ product as a consequence of Brexit and the falling value of the pound. I don’t quite get it. If consigning Marmite to the history bin was the single most significant outcome of the Brexit vote, I would say it was well worth it. Marmite is a confection of salt and yeast leftover from the brewing industry and selling it as a food product is an ingenious way of burying industrial waste. A few B vitamins do not cut the mustard and there are plenty of better quality sources. Denmark banned Marmite a few years ago, a sublime act which, in keeping with the current spiritual trend for expressing gratitude,  I have added to my list of all things Danish for which I am profoundly grateful, alongside their  Scandi noirs and the concept of hygge. Tak!


Having said all that, I do have a grudging admiration for clever marketing. Which is why I take my hat off to a Swiss chocolate maker that has created a chocolate that, it is claimed, can help alleviate period pain. The Independent picked up this story on what I presume was a slow news day. The maker of the chocolate claims that it contains seventeen Swiss mountain herbs that do the job. Called Frauenmond, meaning woman’s moon (clever, eh?)  those sly chocolateers have exploited the perceived weakness of women for chocolate at a time of month when they are most vulnerable to cravings. Just how much you would have to eat to obtain any therapeutic benefit from this medicinal chocolate is not made clear – I think we can safely assume it hasn’t been subjected to any clinical trials – but my guess is it would have to be enough to make you well and truly sick.



This week I … watched a preview of the film the Big Fat Fix on-line … read a book called Human Brain Evolution which unbelievably is also available for free on-line and which I can’t recommend enough…  cooked tuna ceviche for the first time… ate fantastic, locally sourced food at the Goods Shed in Canterbury.


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