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Thought for food

The idea of philosophizing about food still strikes many as pretentious and absurd, despite a recent growth in the literature. It embarrasses practical, empirical Anglo-Saxons, who would rather leave such musings to our more phenomenological and literary-minded Continental cousins. Nicola Perullo is one such cousin, but now that his Taste as Experiencehas been translated into English, it is perhaps time to rec­onsider our cultural suspicion of combining intellect and ingestion…

A Feast For The Senses

Stockings infused with oranges and tangerines, the lingering gunpowder mist of pulled-crackers; the intense herbiness of sage and rosemary stuffing; the slightly sickly sweet paper scent of a box of chocolates, heady brandy-soaked spiced pudding. We take the nostalgic, warming power of these experiences for granted. But what is it about food that makes it so emotionally potent?

More equal than others

Ben Bramble makes a somewhat speculative suggestion that eating meat might cause us unconscious psychological suffering. What he doesn’t consider, though, is that it might be good that there is something troubling in consuming flesh. This isn’t Disneyland and living authentically, as an adult, requires us to embrace fully the bitter-sweet nature of many of our most profound pleasures.

Clean eating and dirty burgers

For as long as we can remember, the British have associated delicious food with depraved indulgence. Anything that tastes good has got to be bad for your body, soul or both. The marketing department of Magnum knew this when it called its 2002 limited edition range the Seven Deadly Sins. Nothing makes a product more enticing than its being naughty, or even better, wicked.

China dog meat festival

This piece for CNN has already generated so much criticism which completely misrepresents the article that I feel it necessary to point out to anyone interested in reading it that it should be clear that I do not support any cruelty to any animals and I do not defend the festival.

Recipe for success

Most of us can honestly say we have no desire to be on the cover of Hello! magazine, yet almost all of us crave recognition, believing that it validates our endeavours. A myth of our age is that talent, dedication and ambition bring such recognition – and its associated rewards – in gastronomy as in everything else. Tiziano Gérard is living proof that this just isn’t true

Are free markets bad for good food?

Genuinely free markets are not the enemies of a sound food economy. The problem is with under-regulated markets. To some ‘regulated market’ is an oxymoron, but this is a historical and factual mistake. Free does mean unfettered but free from distortion by manipulation or misinformation. That is why Adam Smith, for example, favoured breaking up monopolies and cartels. Markets need to be regulated in order to be free, fair and sustainable.

Is it OK to eat dogs?

Whenever western meat-eaters get up in arms over barbarous foreigners eating cute animals, it’s easy to throw around accusations of gross hypocrisy. Easy, because such accusations are often true. But responses to the dog meat festival in Yulin, China, which draws to a close today, merit more careful consideration. The double standards at play here are numerous, complicated, and not always obvious…

Have we passed “peak vegetarianism”?

Vegetarians have tended to see themselves as on the side of history, in the vanguard of moral progress. In their imagined future, meat-eating would be seen as being as barbarous as slavery, racism, homophobia and the subjugation of women. It seems much more likely, however, that we have already passed “peak vegetarianism” and that the movement has grown as large as it ever will.

Interview by Felicity Cloake

“I’m trying to work out what kind of dinner guest Julian Baggini would make. The philosopher has just told me that he routinely quizzes waiting staff on the provenance of their meat – but would he do the same to a friend?”