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The Food Edition

EXETERA A lighter alternative for Exeter University | Issue 11 | Free


Food Edition 1

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Authentic pizzas served Authentic Italian pizzasItalian served Tuesdayevenings to Saturday evenings Tuesday to Saturday 6.30pm to 9.00pm 6.30pm to 9.00pm on the premises, Dough made Dough on the made premises, hand stretched and topped to hand stretched and topped to order. order. Classic, Carnivore, Classic, Carnivore, Vegetarian, Autumn Vegetarian, Autumn Mushroom and more Editor Ben Clarke

Deputy Editor Charlotte Simpson Creative Director Hannah Peck Photographer Thomas Hanks

entic Italian pizzas served day to Saturday evenings 6.30pm to 9.00pm Copywriter Dylan Abbott Music Editor Francis Kim

Marketing / Publicity Rachel Alcock-Hodgson Contributors Edward Scott Michael Goodier Rosa Weber Oli Picken Alice Royle Lily Plume Dylan Abbot Jenny Frewen The Undergraduate

h made on the premises, stretched and topped to order. Classic, Carnivore, Vegetarian, Autumn Mushroom and more from ÂŁ9 Design Hannah Peck Thomas Hanks

Image: Keyana Tahmaseb

Cover Model Alice Tapper


Doug hand

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Note from the Editor Last night I tried to make an omelette. It looked more like something you might find clogging up a sewage pipe and probably didn’t taste much worse. I am, in short, a terrible cook. But I think the Exetera team has managed to make something a bit more appetising for this edition. For our eleventh issue we asked our contributors to come up with submissions related to food that interested them and would (hopefully) interest others. This magazine bears the fruit of their labour. Treat yourself to juicy features on food ideology, food banks, food revolutions and international food fights. And, as ever, there’s plenty of lighter titbits to get your teeth stuck in to, including cheaper-than-chips recipe ideas, fortune cookies and even more overcooked food metaphors. This is the first issue our current team has produced without the University’s financial backing. So I would like to say a big thanks to our marketing team and wonderful advertisers, without whom Exetera would, quite literally, not exist.

Image: Alice Pattullo



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Nutritional Information EXETERA MAGAZINE Pages Per Serving 38 (73g)

% Daily Value* Dent


Pavlova Palava


The Findus Lasagne of Global Food Politics


Food in the Forum


Seeds of Change


No Added Sugar


Hunger Pains


Fortune Cookies


Pigmund Fried: Sausage Envy


Faux-Pas or Fois Gras?


* Percent Daily Values are based on a 5,000 word consumption. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your literary needs.


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ENJOY A BLOODY MARY, VIRGIN MARY OR ANY JUICE ON US WHEN ORDERING ANY BREAKFAST THIS APRIL Valid all week in Bill’s, Exeter with your student card. 32-33 Gandy Street, Exeter, Devon, EX4 3LS / 01392 259 227


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Days pass; how many I do not know. Time is my incarcerator. Those around me are taken and I remain. Waiting. Unwanted. . This is my existence.

I know that I am different. It is my burden to bear. Perhaps I was dropped as a child, but I cannot remember.

DENT by Dylan Abbott

I dream that one day I will be chosen, despite my curse.

What is this? Has my chooser finally arrived?

This is just one of those obsequious hounds, who wander the aisles serving their faceless master. “Unhand me, you ungodly beast!” I cry. “Where are you taking me?

The taste of emancipation hovers before my quivering lips. But wait…

And then she appeared. More beautiful than I ever imagined. Her touch is so gentle. She is my angel.

What is this place? And who are these sorrowful wretches? Their melancholic mur murs of impending doom are unending.

For once, I do not feel so abnormal.

She takes me away from that living hell and to her heavenly abode. There, I show her who I really am. My true purpose realised, as I pour my soul out for her.

My saviour. My chooser.

Too long I have been imprisoned within my imperfect shell. Too long I have lingered unwanted and unloved. Finally, I have found peace.


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Michael Goodier explores the politics behind international food fights.


ating is more than just a physical necessity. Food consumption is an important communal activity, and something that forms the basis of many of our social and cultural interactions. We all know that the food we eat goes a long way in forming our personal identity. As they say: “you are what you eat.” This is why uploading a picture of your dinner to Instagram is basically the same as taking a selfie. But chowing down grub shapes more than our own individual selves. Indeed, the complex social dynamics behind what it means to produce and eat food have endowed cuisine with the capacity to denote distinctive cultural, class and, ultimately, national boundaries: we are what we eat. Food, then, is a vital and irreplaceable part of a


nation’s identity. To illustrate food’s integral role in cooking up national characters we might want to undertake a quick thought experiment in which two nations swap their associated cuisines. Italy doesn’t seem so Italian when slick-haired Ferrari-driving men scoff bratwurst and glug steins of frothy beer. Certain foods are intricately attached to geographical areas and populaces. To challenge a dish’s origin or its geographical origin is to challenge a nation’s heritage and its place in the cultural imagination. This isn’t to say that international disputes over the origins and status of food don’t happen; in fact, international food fights are very common. In the same way that neighbouring restaurants compete for authenticity, entire nations are prone to asserting their authority

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and historical ownership over cherished culinary treats. A classic example can be found in the politics surrounding that peculiar enigmatic paste: hummus. Israel, Lebanon, and Greece (among others) all claim the chickpea and tahini based dip as their own. Diplomatic tensions reached new highs in 2008 when Lebanon threatened legal action against Israel, with the president of the Lebanese Industrialist Association claiming that the Jewish State was not only stealing Lebanese land, but “is also stealing our civilisation and our cuisine” after Israel declared the seemingly harmless dip part of its national fare. Falafel has proven similarly contentious, with Israel, Palestine and Egypt all claiming the dish as their own creation. The urban vegetarian’s favourite snack is Israel’s national dish, a stance that has provoked ire among Arab nations – not least because most historians agree that hummus and falafel are Arabic inventions, and, of course, the fact that both foods existed before the state of Israel was declared in 1948. But it’s not just Mediterranean countries that feud over food. Australia and New Zealand, for example, are embroiled in several disputes, with the most famous being the pavlova palava. Named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who visited both countries in the 1920s, the meringue/fruit combo has long been employed by both nations to argue for their greater status. In 2010, the Oxford English Dictionary claimed to have settled the war, declaring that pavlova belongs to the Kiwis. Naturally, this will not deter the Aussies from insisting that the delectable dish is really their own. Across the Channel, José Bové, a sheep farmer turned activist, led an anti-globalisation protest in 1999 against a heavy American import duty on Roquefort cheese that culminated with the dismantling of a McDonald’s restaurant. The Americans had decided to tax the cheese (among other items) after Europe refused to allow imports of hormone-raised beef from the United States. In fact, several varieties of fromage


are still banned in the USA – it’s easier to buy a machine gun than a mimolette in most parts of the country. Protests like Bové’s can be seen as part of a general anti-globalisation tradition, and again reinforce the idea that cuisine is central to the cultural identity of a nation. For Bové and his supporters, McDonalds continues to represent a threat to French culinary values and, the lines runs, to France itself. “Throw it in the sea” Bové declared in a speech at the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, in what can be read as a sly, if somewhat hypocritical, reference to America’s own sketchy past of food censorship. However, such a position is still clearly very nationalist. The two cuisines are not mutually exclusive and, to achieve a balanced diet, should be consumed together along with a buffet of dishes from around the world. Post-Bové, McDonalds in France has experienced growing success, yet French cuisine is still thriving. Bové’s fears, it seems, have yet to bear fruition. Rather than treat food as a divisive international political tool, we would do well to restore restorative powers to food, seeing it as something that can unite cultures and transcend arbitrary borders. Comedian Tim Minchin explores this idea in “Peace Anthem for Palestine,” a hilarious Jewish/Muslim anti-pork song, which, despite its simplistic positivism, has a serious underlying message: people should focus on what they have in common rather than what separates them. The shared love of certain dishes like falafel, hummus and pavlova draws attention to the cultural similarities between the countries that vie for food ownership as well as land. In other words, disputes over cuisine arise over mythical ideas of the nation rather than the idea of the food itself. Food, then, can and should be used to bridge national borders rather than reinforce them. And this is why José Bové is ultimately wrong. The French citizens enjoying a Big Mac alongside their croque-monsieur set a necessary precedent that we would all do well to follow. This framework ultimately privileges an inclusive food in which France, America and everyone else in between is, so to speak, lovin’ it.

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Meals for Less words Ed Scott In this tough economic climate, we’re all searching for ways to cut back on our spending. A recent fictional study noted that up to 38% of people’s wages go on food, with a significant amount of that food going to waste or being stolen by gangs of orphans. British university students arguably struggle the most, with only the bankrupt, the homeless and those people unfortunate enough to live in

high wate protei n r ---- : ---Meat ---i s so 2014! -nosh Th sa

the majority of other countries in the world falling behind us in terms of wealth. To help you through these few years in which a pot of manuka honey is only a once a week occurrence, I’ve compiled some of the best budget recipes from across the globe/the inside of my own head, as well as some cheap snacks to fill the long gap between breakfast and dinner (lunch is a financial burden you can do without).

foxgloves: -------------The taste of these beautiful flowers, sautéed in garlic and seasoned with pepper, will help bring a peaceful end to the financial burden of being alive.

havin ves you t is futurist i g to h h ydrate e trouble c of yours elf. Recip e: Ble nd 50 with rot as 0ml o gin car r f wat late a much soy i v er s a RDA you need protein iso cake: of pro –ag enero tein is accor ------us ding 50g, s ke, witho judg to yo prefer f a carrot ca carrot o ences e n u fu r e th perso All . Swee on ju of a nal f the fun ic te out most o loade e if you’re n with lem cake! , like, d. fuckin Total g c f carrots 250g. ost: Prote a bunch o in: £7 e k a W T : e a ip c ter Re .9 costs: ater. With der cold w TBC : free. M 9 for n u se n ri d an edica arrots to a l duce the c re r, le e e p a and com-thin slices . Make ra lt u f o e pil tin into a cake press these t slices in o rr a c yer the la u o y s re ma su fore blastfull christ t order be c e rr o c e th rpiece in a dinner: gan maste e v is th g in e resultant . Spoon th e v a w ---------------ro ic m er date’s your dinn to in sh u m This classic meal is surprisingly easy face. o 69p per kil to get hold of for nothing! Total cost: Recipe: Any time from midday to around 5pm on December 25th, grab a carving knife and whip on a balaclava. Explore your neighbours’ windows for any particularly enticing roasts. When you find one which takes your fancy, simply knock on the front door and threaten to slaughter those gathered. Negotiate a deal by which the roast ends up in your hands. Make sure you ask for the vegetables and, if you’re feeling cheeky, a bit of stuffing and gravy too. Total cost: Up to ten years inside


roadkill: ----------


Your other half m ay object, but describe it as a ‘sq uirrel smoothie’ and they mig ht still let you see your kids occasionally.

raw tea: ----------

--You might not kn ow it, but tea is (basically) edible . It isn’t tasty or nutritious, but at £1 for a hundred bags of tea it will leave you laughing with a mouthful of tea at the prices in the Marketplace , spraying tea all over the place. I call it going ‘teatotal’! Ha ha ha! Tea motherfucke rs!!!

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THE FINDUS LASAGNE OF GLOBAL FOOD POLITICS What’s for dinner? Probably ideology, argues Oli Picken


hat we’re swallowing along with our food isn’t always on the ingredients list as the Findus horsemeat’s scandal proved. But these unexpected extras don’t all contain calories. In The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, in collaboration with Sophie Finnes, the philosopher Slavoj Zizek touches on the politics of food in Late Capitalism. His suggestion is that as subjects of this system, food must be consumed on two levels: physically – for calories to continue our lives (also Capitalism, but through our lives) – and ideologically. This means that we participate in a mode of production that persuades us to buy food wildly misaligned with our nutritional requirements. This second stage creates a “weird perverted duty” to enjoy our food. It is not enough simply to take pleasure in food; instead, we must actively transform the process of eating into a performance in which getting energy plays second fiddle to an ideological “enjoyment”. In short, we define ourselves by what we consume – just like with any other aspect of Late Capitalism. Zizek takes the example of the Kinder Egg, the food and toy part of which are both, objectively, a bit shit. If a product tester on the street offered us 20g of low quality chocolate and a piece of moulded plastic in another situation, I for one would proba-


bly brush them off with a quick “I’ve already voted, thanks.” Wrapped in orange and white foil however, and packaged as an essential childhood treat, parents, children, and the odd nostalgic student (which we can assume by their otherwise inexplicable presence in the Guild shop) will throw money away on them. But what is this nostalgia? My only memory of eating a Kinder Surprise is one of disappointment: both parts left me unsatisfied, leaving my four-year-old body deprived of the massive sugar hit required to make the human-head/ car hybrid an object of fun. This was not enough to prevent an identical demand from whichever unfortunate parent happened to be looking after me the following day, week or month. I was, even then, a good subject, playing my part in a cultural, and marketing, narrative. And yes, I have in the past year wondered what it would be like to have one again, momentarily recalling a childhood joy that I never experienced. This seems to be a trend in food production – especially the marketing side of things – in our current moment: we continue to hark bark to an un-experienced past. Take the patronising bullshit that defaces the side of Innocent Smoothies cartons, for instance. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fruit pulp as much as the next guy but I don’t give a fucky-wuck how many

Instagram: @at_bobby | vsco grid

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guavas were ‘squished’ to go into it. But clearly I’m one of the few. The underlying marketing point here is not, of course, the language of a self-parodic toddler, but the direct link between the homogenous consumable and its ingredients in an increasingly industrialised food culture. Once again we experience nostalgia for a past that almost no one alive today could have experienced. When we plant that allotment or go to the organic family-farm butcher in a part of the country where everyone has the same surname, what we’re really trying to do is find a connection with our food. Fads such as the Paleo-Diet and attempt to emulate “hunter-gatherer” diets of our ancestors over 10,000 years ago are clearly clutching at the same idea that we have moved away from a natural (whatever that means) relationship with our food. Of course, this is a relationship we can only create ideologically: even if you’re a Paleo-devotee chances are you’re not giving up your Barbour for the hide of a Mammoth and so you end up hunter-gathering by proxy. This is not an inherently awful idea; making sure your eggs weren’t from a chicken that was punched in the face every hour of its life by buying free-range is probably, on balance, a good thing. My problem, however, comes when the ostensible ideological meaning is in direct contrast to its real world effect.


Quinoa is the obvious example of this. Since the mid-2000s we (and by we I mean especially those of us freaks who don’t eat meat, but also quite a few of you normals) have loved the little chunks or cardboard that are apparently really high in protein and good for the environment. The issue is not, as the The Guardian suggested, that the Peruvian farmers who grow it can no longer afford to eat it after the tripling of the international market price, as the money added to the Peruvian economy on local levels has more than outweighed this effect. No, it’s the fact that the country is becoming reliant on the crop for export creating a monoculture, which is really bad news for the land. Although this is not quite as disastrous as the clearing of the Amazon rainforest to feed our beef habit, it’s really not a good thing to happen. And of course, depending so heavily on a single crop will mean they are fucked as soon as Yotam Ottolenghi introduces us to the next miracle grain. This is to ultimately say that while it is important to be aware of the physical things we put into our bodies, it’s probably more important to look out for the ideology we swallow along with it.

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i n

words Ed Scott photography Thomas Hanks

Lauren, Biology Krispy Kremes

Ben, English Fruit and Monster energy drink

Tess, Engineering Princes Gate Water

For Lauren, less is more - but not as much as more!

Ben really caught our collective Sauronic eye with this outlandish combo.

We love Tess’s minimalist vibe; calories are so 2014.

How would you describe your meal?

How would you describe your meal?

How would you describe your meal?

We’re doing a charity cake sale, I swear.

With my lunch, I seek to dissolve normative understandings of what is “natural” and, in the process, disavow a regressive binary logic that insists on a difference between the organic and artificial. Instead, my food attests to the permeability of the earthly and the machine, and speaks to the ways in which humans can similarly harness the possibilities of a non-binary future configured in terms of – no wait, I’m not done…

H2OMG! Water is the new coffee.



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h e

FORUM Exetera reveals the results of their latest search for student snacks.

Holly, Economics Steam Boat & Multi-cooker Holly is the only person to have ever bought one of these. How would you describe your meal? I’ve got a bag of kale back in the library and I was like, a third of the way through and I thought, this would actually be loads better if it was steamed, so here I am! [Laughs] Bit random really, but that’s just me. [Laughs again] Hashtag it’s getting steamy in here! [Keeps on laughing]

Chris, Law Chicken & Mushroom Pot Noodle and Chardonnay

Sophie, Psychology Baguette, flapjack, cherry drops and chewing gum

We like to drink with Chris, cos Chris is our mate! Ha ha! Seriously though, chug it! Go on. Down it you fucking pansy clown DOWN IT.

Sophie’s chewing gum suggests she’s after more than just a simple lunch!

How would you describe your meal?

A crazy smoothie just waiting to happen.

Well, it’s a pot noodle. Chicken and mushroom. And this – this is uh, for my mum. It’s Chardonnay for my mum, she’s – oh god, sorry, I’m sorry I just can’t, my deadlines, it’s just – will you just leave me alone, I need to drink this. Sorry.


How would you describe your meal?

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Seeds of Change

Rosa Weber salutes the revolutionary efforts of Venezuela’s farmers


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n 2011, President Chavez’s Venezuelan government launched “Mission Agro Venezuela.” The aim of the policy was to manage the transition from a profit motivated, post-imperial, exploitative food production system to one based on principles of “food sovereignty” across Venezuela. Food sovereignty, the government declared, entails “the right of all peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” Part of this revolution entailed the implementation of the “Aracal Co-operative” policy, before which private landholders owned all farmland and were able to monopolise sugar cane production and subsequently reaped all the profits. In a radical revision of this system, the government bought all Venezuelan farmland to create an organised farm co-operative known as the “Aracal.” The project involves more than 150 people and is already reaping admirable rewards, including the diversification of produce such as avocadoes, lemons, corn, fish and cattle that, beforehand, barely existed. The Aracal policy has also overseen the employment of thousands of farmers granted security, a steady food supply and, crucially, a strong sense of community. By working with farmers and giving them autonomy and control, the Venezuelan state has created an efficient and participatory cooperative food system through which local farmers and labourers can, to a large extent, operate independently from global markets. Jose Guerrero, regional coordinator for “Mission Agro Venezuela,” recently suggested how cooperatives provide an alternative system to the unsuitable and out-dated European food production model. “We are in the tropics. We have to move away from the Anglo-Saxon food system established in South America, a model based on four seasons that do not occur here. That model is totally contrary to our own. We also need to substitute agro-toxins for sustainable agricultural inputs.” Guerrero further explains that part of the mission’s strategy is to purchase “idle lands”


from large estate owners and hand them over to collectively organised farmers, as with the “Aracal” policy. After purchasing land, the Agro Mission coordinates training and low-interest financing for these farming networks, providing local farmers with low-cost materials through Agropatria, Venezuela’s largest agricultural supply company. The meticulous development of far-reaching distribution networks is all part of the mission’s aim to create, in Guerrero’s words, “Venezuela’s own model of production.” And, it seems, the mission is accomplishing many objectives. More than six million acres of land had been distributed to 250,000 families in the country by 2009. Corn production, meanwhile, has increased twofold since 1998, making the country self-sufficient for the first time in decades. The movement has also enjoyed widespread support across Latin America and has flourished in numerous countries. The seeds for this concept of “food sovereignty” were planted by a famous group of farmers from “La Via Campesina” operating in 1998. The group is now the biggest global movement of peasants in history and is comprised of around 150 million people who are acutely sensitive to the land’s needs and continue to make the required changes needed to enhance food production and sustainability. The World Development Movement, a leading global social justice organisation, has backed the concept of food sovereignty for the last fifteen years in five countries – Nepal, Mali, Senegal, Venezuela and Bolivia – and has ensured it has become enshrined in many more agricultural policies. But what does this mean for the built up industrial areas where you’re more likely to stumble across a concrete slab than a blade of grass? Well, the Venezuelan government funds schemes for poor city dwellers that build and administer new urban gardens across the city. In the centre of Caracas, for example, you can buy vegetables grown from the city’s earth in a deal that cuts out unnecessary carbon emissions as well as meddling middlemen. Venezuela, then, has experienced mass agricultural change driven and controlled by

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cooperative communities. Democratic regional community councils comprised of around 400 families in the cities and 20 families in rural areas meet every week at assemblies in order to discuss food prices, operations and strategies. An impressive 25,000 of these councils exist across the country. Elevated to the role of shareholders, farmers now prosper from their shared knowledge and ecologically sensitive production methods. But a broader philosophical point can be made about the scheme’s success. Indeed, it’s a governmental scheme motivated by sociological and ecological concerns rather than profit and one that, although by no means offering a “one size fits all” solution, nevertheless proposes an alternative and, so far, effective model. What, then, can the United Kingdom, one of the world’s biggest food importers, learn from Venezuela? Global market forces dominate Britain. We are renowned for producing delicious apples, yet we still eat Braeburns from New Zealand. Why? And why do we also continue to buy spinach from supermarket chains, rather than the nearest farm or weekend market? Critics will point to prohibitive costs and, of course, limited outlets. It’s easy to extol the virtues of local produce and farmers markets if you can afford to live in a nice home in a nice home county. Nor would it be wise to advocate a desire to regress back to an impoverished feudal system. Yet, as Venezuelan innovation has proved, we should not abandon the idea of creating a more sustainable, efficient and cheaper food production model from which everyone in society, including those living in cities, could and should benefit.


For curtailing our reliance on the global markets and foreign food imports would be beneficial on many levels: it would challenge an exploitative system; output would increase while prices and emissions would decrease; consumers would receive an enhanced product; and money would be reinvested back into local communities. A more cooperative-based food system would, in short, ensure stable employment and fair production, while also keeping the land – and diets – healthy. While many great farmers, organisations and individuals in this country have been striving to localise food production and propose alternative agricultural models for decades, they have done so without the backing of a government that continues to adopt a short-term, profit-motivated deterministic approach to food manufacture and consumption. As the example of Venezuela proves, ministers need to work in tandem with knowledgeable farmers rather than in ignorant isolation. In my ideal world, the whole agricultural methods and food production system would be overhauled in favour of a more cooperative based framework. A movement to purchase idle, arable land would lead to the funding of local co-operative business models in order to create democratic food councils and could, more importantly, provide struggling regional communities – both rural and urban – with long-term employment opportunities. Such seismic shifts would, of course, demand a fundamental ideological rethinking of what it means to produce, consume and enjoy food. This may well be a very long time coming, but, as developments in Venezuela have shown, perhaps this future not as far away as you might think.

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n o a d d e d s u g a r | Ma r c h 2 0 1 5 Photography T h o m a s Ha n k s


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e had a gentleman, 92 years old, a World War Two veteran from the Navy visit us. He said that he never imagined to be in this sort of situation.” Joy Dunne is recalling just one of the stories behind the 4,871 food parcels delivered by the independent charity in Exeter last year. “He had an unexpected bill and had to use his food budget to pay for it. So he went to Age UK and they gave him a Foodbank voucher. I then asked if he needed any loo paper. His eyes filled up with tears and he said he hadn’t had any toilet roll for four days.” The unnamed war veteran is just one of thousands of people in Britain who have reached “crisis point,” something the Trussell Trust, Britain’s biggest Foodbank charity, defines as having “little or no food, and little or no money


with which to buy food.” Individuals and families beset by “crisis” must be referred by an external agency to use a Foodbank’s services. Underfed and with nowhere else to turn, the poorest in society now rely on food parcels donated by the general public to provide temporary relief from hunger. But restrictions on voucher referrals mean that pangs can quickly return. “Each parcel provides three days’ worth of emergency food: three breakfasts, lunches and dinners,” Joy explains. “The intention is that we are putting in the crisis intervention whilst the referring agency is putting longterm help in place. A person can have up to three vouchers, but we don’t limit that to someone in a continuing crisis.” Aisha*, a Middle Eastern refugee, is one person who has, in Joy’s words, been “support-

*Names changed to protect anonymity

Britain faces a hidden hunger epidemic. At least half a million people used a Trussell Trust Foodbank last year, with numbers continuing to rise. Ben Clarke speaks to Joy Dunne, Manager of Exeter Foodbank, to find out how this happened and what can be done.

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hunger. Instead, problems with the benefit system bite hardest and longest. Indeed, over 50% of referrals to Trussel Trust Foodbanks last year were connected to problems with social security benefit payments. Nationally, delays in benefit payment account for 29% of referrals, while benefit sanctions accounted for 15% – just in case you thought those on welfare didn’t already have enough on their plates. Make no mistake: benefit sanctions do not “sanction” anything; instead, they dock and stop social security payments. Almost two million people have had their benefits stopped through the sanctions regime over the past two years, mainly for breaches of benefit conditions such as missing appointments or failing to carry out enough job searches. To sweeten the deal, already vulnerable recipients are forced to plug sanction-sized financial holes with expensive credit, trapping them in an interminable cycle of debt that demoralizes just as much as it degrades. It’s no coincidence that low income and debt account for just under 30% of Trussell Trust Foodbank referrals last year.

dreds of other independent food aid providers across the country. If we’ve all had to tighten our belts due to the government’s intransigent commitment to austerity, then it seems that the lowest earners have had to quite literally fasten theirs by an extra notch or two. How has Britain, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, ended up with a national hunger epidemic? Mounting household bills and rising food prices are partly to blame. The amount households are spending on food, for example, has fallen by 3.9% since 2010 despite escalating costs. In short, we now buy less food for more money. But all these reasons are by no means the strongest ingredients in this recipe for

With such threadbare governmental provision, the third sector is forced to step in and perform a neoliberal brand of corporate social responsibility. Without the compassionate efforts of tireless volunteers and public donations, many people would almost certainly find it even harder to put food on the table for their families. Amid this picture of destiution, political parties continue to point the finger at each other in juvenile attempts to find out who caused the crisis. But whatever colour you align with on the political spectrum, it’s hard to deny that Britain currently faces a public health emergency – an issue less about politics than human rights. As the shouts in parliament increase in volume, the Foodbank queues up and down the country only increase in length.

Primary referral causes in 2014-2015 to Trussell Trust foodbanks

ed by us for significantly longer. Until you’re recognised as a refugee you don’t have a right to anything and receive no money, let alone any for food. She arrived with nothing except a sixyear-old son. She was waiting for her Home Office appointment and was then refused asylum after waiting a year.” Currently moneyless with a young child to care for, Aisha’s plight is another sad story in a national narrative of destitution now epic in scale and scope. For if Aisha’s story makes for grim reading, then the nationwide statistics on Foodbank use are equally hard to swallow. In 2014, 330,205 food parcels were handed out to children – a threefold increase on the previous year. Over 500 Trussell Trust Foodbanks have been launched since 2000 to meet this escalating demand. Five years ago the Exeter Foodbank fed on average 12 people per week; that figure now stands at 93, with numbers in Britain continuing to rise faster than you can say “breadline poverty.” And these figures do not even account for the hun-


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plex and varying circumstances that give rise to social ills such as poverty are persistently overlooked and misrepresented. Rather than blanket the less privileged as a homogenous mass different to “us” – a naive narrative that undermines the innate dignity of those in need of support – it is much more worthwhile and productive to recognise similarities and connections between all social groups. Ignorance and prejudice are ultimately just symptoms of a wider malignant disease caused by a severe breakdown in social relations. This is why Foodbanks, in my view, are such special environments. They offer an inclusive space in which people from all areas of society come into contact, foster relationships and share stories in order to help lay the foundation blocks for a road to recovery. This is not to say that Foodbanks should exist in the first place; after all, adequate government provision should preempt

leaving little more than crumbs of despair and shredded self-esteem. Hence the Trussell Trust Foodbank’s motto: “Revive Dignity and Restore Hope”. “When users come to us having been assessed, we have no judgment to make – we want to welcome them and accept them,” Joy explains. “They’re all given three days’ worth of food – we try to offer a choice of soup, fruit juice etc. Extra items even sometimes include spinach leaves, artichokes, caviar – all sorts of things have been donated by the Exeter public!” There’s a sensationalist Daily Mail headline lurking here: “Foodbank Scroungers Dine on Caviar.” I joke. But there remains a strange sense of denial about food poverty in this country – either through ignorance, wilful neglect or damning indignation by some media outlets. Either way, it is remains concerning how many people seem to think that there are some essential differences between those on the highest and lowest rungs of the income ladder. The com-

their creation. Nor am I saying that Foodbanks should be institutionalized. Instead, as Joy suggests, Foodbanks should continue to provide a lifeline for those most in need “in the same way that there are emergency service stations. We’re the crisis intervention. We’re not a long-term support. The Foodbank should be there as an emergency back up rather than an everyday fixture.” But Joy also outlines her wish for Foodbanks to deliver services that encourage independence and long-term autonomy: “We would love to offer budgeting and cooking courses, parenting classes – all the sorts of things that support a good family life. If you’re equipped with skills you find it a lot easier to manage.” Only through following the Foodbanks’ commitment to social diversity, compassion and independence will food poverty in Britain become a thing of the past and, in the process, create a society that revives hope and restores dignity to war veterans, asylum seekers and everyone else in between.

Numbers given 3 days’ emergency food by Trussell Trust

And the psychological impacts of continued Foodbank attendance can be, in Joy’s words, “completely devastating.” Asked to associate words with the impacts Foodbanks can have on users, Joy is quick to respond: “Shame, embarrassment, fear, intimidation, panic, mental and physical ill health” are just some of the words she lists. But the reasons for Foodbank referral, Joy suggests, can demoralize and distress more than actual attendance: “The reasons make you feel like you’ve got no value. If you’re coming to the Foodbank because you’re out of work, then people’s perception is that you’ve failed. You feel a failure because you can’t get a job. If you’ve been made redundant you feel like you’ve got nothing to offer.” Destitute, devalued and starved of the skills needed to remedy their predicament, the truly vulnerable are trapped in an insatiable system intent on chipping away at their dignity,


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arry Clotter was not a boy like any other. Brought up by his Aunt and Uncle, and their son Pud-ley, (raspberry fools the lot of them) he spent his childhood being bullied and made to feel like a spotted dick. However, at the age of gas mark eleven he discovered that he was in fact a wizard and would be attending Hogroasts Skewer of Kitchen-craft and Chicory, where students are divided into four Spices: Griffin’slaw, Raisin-claw, Hufflepuff-pastry and A-Slytherine-of-Cake. He met Scone Weasley and Jamione Granger, and these three best friends soon became known as the Cream Teas.

Yet, his destiny was not all so sweet. He is plagued throughout his Hogroasts years by the dark whip-ard Mouldy-torte (aka He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Eaten), who had tried to kill Harry when he was a babybel, the event which had earned Harry the moniker ‘The Boy who Sieved’ throughout the Wizarding world.

In the Cream Tea’s first year Mouldy-torte attempts to steal the Falafel-ers Stone. He then reappears in the form of an interactive recipe book, which sucks little Gin Weasley into the Cham-beer of Secrets, and Harry only just manages to save her from the dreaded Basilwhisk. The third year sees Scone’s pet rat transform into the tasteless human Pitta Breadigrew, who escapes in order to assist his master Mouldy-torte. Next, Harry finds himself drawn into the international Triwizard Bake-off, and has to deal with the rotten writing of crunchy journalist Ryvita Skeeter. The Bulgarian Viktor Crumb charms Jamione, much to Scone’s disgust, and in a weird-tasting turn of events an imposter MudPie Moody hijacks the Triwizard Eggcup. Bread-erick Figgery (who is demolished by Mouldy-torte) and Harry are transported to a graveyard where Clotter witnesses Mouldy-torte’s return after a bain-marie in a cauldron. In Harry’s fifth year, the Ministry of Magic interferes at Hogroasts and in response he establishes Crumbledore’s Army. Several key members of this group, including Spoon’a Lovepud, end up fighting Mouldy-


torte’s followers at the Ministry. During the battle, Harry’s godfather Syrupus Blackcurrent, whom he had only been reunited with a couple of years earlier, is tragically snaffled by a curtain. The final volumes are bittersweet; Fried and Grilled Weasley start up a wildly successful wizarding yoke shop, and unfortunately it transpires that Mouldy-torte has divided himself into seven Horcruxed buns.

Luckily, Apple Crumbledore, the school’s centre-piece and signature dish, has uncovered Mouldy-torte’s secret and the way to def-eat him. The pet cake Meringuini is slayed and Mouldy-torte loses all his power. These books are full of indulgent adventure; jaunts into the Forbidden-Forest Gateau and the near-explosion of Harry’s Aunt Margerine amongst others. Characters such as Harry’s blonde-haired arch-nemesis Cake-o Mouthful, the slightly soft Minister for Magic Vanillius Fudge and Keeper of the Kitchens Chew-bius Hagrid provide a rich filling to the Cream Tea’s many escapades. The icing on the cake is Apple Crumbledore’s words of advice and wisdom. A must-eat.

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Fig. I

SAUSAGE ENVY The Civil War had a lacerating impact on England, dividing the country in a way that would have profound consequences for English culture. With the return of Charles II, England once again became enamoured with frivolity and amusement—much like English society today. One of the seminal images representing this new vitality is the above photograph of a British sausage, taken by Chip Ö. Lâta III in 1678. (Fig. 1). Discuss the extent to which the photograph represents contemporary English society.


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words The Undergraduate


tarting with the postcolonial school, whose critics maintain that the image of the sausage has multiple implications regarding the nation-state. Firstly, the sausage’s position in relation to the fork clearly alludes to Britain’s supremacy over its colonies. The sausage is not only a typical British food, but is the very produce and symbolic “meat” of Britain and her home farms, implying that it represents the common people that emigrated from Britain to farm the New World. That the foreign fork may or may not be made out of metals found in “China” indicates its importation from Britain’s Asian colonies or connections. Seen this way, the union of the sausage and foreign fork forms a biting critique of the troubling relationship of both necessity and hatred between British colonial power and the lands it took for settlement. Indeed, the very use of foreign cutlery embodies the cultural appropriation central to the conception of the Other in Orientalism. The black and white filter only adds to the mystery of the Other, casting shadows about the plate to highlight the sausage. These tones accentuate the plate, making it appear ever more enticing, but significantly emphasises the subservient role of the plate to the sausage and thus denote the subservient position of the colonies beneath the motherland Britain. Moreover, if you consider the contents of the sausage, it is notable that it consists of many parts of the animal mashed and combined. Though the sausage represents Britain, its impure nature indicates how Britain depended on her colonies for her very existence, pulverising and amalgamating them to fill the skin of the Empire. Altogether, this image asserts the dominance of Britain, suggesting that their purpose was only to uphold and provide for the Empire – and look pretty doing it. Yet, several critics have disagreed with the post-colonial definition as lacking in both scope and depth. Some have argued that the obvious connotations between the sausage and the penis, suggest this food item is essential to the psychosexual development of male and female subjects. The preparation and the consumption of sausage are both endowed with a myriad of latent psychosexual meanings, which allow the sausage to function as an effective tool to alleviate certain infantile, Oedipal urges. To the boy, the sausage – most frequently prepared by his mother – appears as a substitute for the mother’s absent penis, which is assumed to have been castrated by the father. The chopping up of the sausage to make consumption easier is a strong manifestation of castration and likely to trigger what Sigmund Freud has termed “castration anxiety,” i.e.

intense feelings of psychological anxiety in a male observer at the sight of the mother’s lack of penis. This makes it especially hard for a boy to consume the sausage when it is cut into pieces. However, it is possible – and desired – that the boy consume the sausage as a whole, taking bites whilst never actually cutting it up with utensils. This type of un-aided consumption is crucial to the boy’s psychosexual development, as it alleviates his Oedipal urges for his mother: in consuming the sausage as a whole, the boy symbolically castrates the mother’s penis, thus taking his father’s place as castrator, while at the same time disavowing the idea of being castrated himself. A girl, on the other hand, may insist on preparing a sausage dish, in order to prove herself more capable than her mother in the eyes of her father. She sees the mother as a rival, as undesired competition for the attentions of the father. When preparing the sausage on her own, she is temporarily able to assume the position of a biologically and socio-consumptively more suitable partner than the mother. The girl actively pursues her infantile urge to prove herself more capable, not only at the domestic activity of food preparation, but also at the preparation of phallic food. This, then, is crucial to complete her psychosexual development, as it allows her infantile desire for the father’s penis to be symbolically acted on via a penis-substitute. She is thus able to act out her fantasy in the traditionally ‘safe space’ of the home and the kitchen. Finally, we must recognise that all theories and all sausages ultimately derive from Foucauldian discourse. It is not the sausage or the fork that deserves our focus, but the very hues of the image itself. These docile but capable shades of black and white define the image without challenging it on account of the power systems that have restricted their movement through the use of the photograph’s borders. For centuries, photographs have been encased in the shackles of The Frame. The shades have learned, through years of mastering each degree of the contrast filter, how to become capable through practice – but as long as the colours and the subject remain within their boundaries, they have also been rendered docile. What Chip Ö. Lâta III has really achieved through this photograph is the essence of misdirection: the desire to see strength where there is none and the wish to see meaning where there is, alas, only desire. Our friends at The Undergraduate are now accepting submissions for their upcoming issue to be published next term. Send your work to the for a chance to be published.


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2014 was all about quinoa, kale and juicing, but that was like, so last year. We’ve compiled a selection of super food trends will keep you ahead of the hemp-wearing pack this year. So, if you don’t want to humiliate yourself during lunch plan chats at your bikram yoga class, mid-downward-dog, read on. words Lily Plume, Dylan Abbot, Jenny Frewen


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E t h i o p i a n Te f f Whilst we spent last year exploiting the Bolivian population for their staple grain, quinoa, this year we’ll be turning our attention to another underdeveloped economy. The Ethiopian government hope that the growing Western obsession with teff, a protein-packed, gluten-free substitute for flour, will help reduce national malnutrition. Though, with a 400g bag of teffflour retailing at £7, it might be a while until we can call Ethiopia the new Bolivia.

M a p l e Wa t e r Set to push coconut water off its multiple billion dollar pedestal, maple water (and its “46 naturally recurring vitamins and minerals”) is sure to make quite the splash in 2015. Celebrated by the queen of pop herself, one Miss Beyonce Knowles, this hyped H20 alternative has already got serious cultural cred, despite lacking the proper scientific research to ensure that it won’t turn the middle-class masses into a legion of glazeyeyed trend zombies. Wait a minute…

Drimbleberr y Indigenous to the Alaskan tundra, the drimbleberry, formerly only savoured by elusive arctic foxes, is quickly becoming the go-to muesli topping for suburban mums. Bursting with death-defying goodness, the tangy berry has had dieticians labelling it “Rasputin’s Raspberry.” Carnivorous Plants Remember when nettles went from torturer of toddlers to gourmet treat? Well, it did. And now, taking the mantle of unlikeliest greenery to grace the dinner table is the Pitcher Plant. The flower of this flesh-eating flora, a common delicacy in mountainous regions of the Philippines and full of scrummy enzymes, will be igniting ethical arguments in a vegan café near you soon. I’ll have the Fly-Trap flan, thanks.

Bones Be the envy of both your hipster-health friends and your pet dog by cooking up the latest foodie fad, Bone Broth. Granted, it probably predates civilization, language and rolled-up skinny-jeans, but this skeletal stew is full of skin-loving collagen and keratin, and, like, retro is so in right now. Note: some of these fads are fictional


Images: Marcel van der Vlugt

Jimp Ste m Do you remember those straws you’d get with your coco-pops which turned your milk all chocolatey and delicious? Well, the Jimp Stem, found amongst the swampy marshlands of Louisiana, is nature’s equivalent. Folklore has it that drinking water through the Jimp Stem will give its user a heightened sense of place within the universe, as well as making that morning commute slightly more bearable.

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T Photography T h o m a s Ha n k s


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THE FOODS YOU SHOULD NOT BE EATING THIS YEAR OR EVER An extract from DISGUSTING! : A Well-Reasoned and Irrefutable List of My Most Disliked Foods, a book by Charlotte Simpson

1. Boiled Eggs In any form; hot, cold, duck, chicken, quail, hard boiled or soft, ugh. The flaccid rubbery texture of the white combined with the floury texture of the yolk in itself is enough to make me hurl. And when combined with the smell and appearance of a volcanic crater in microcosmic form, surely the alarm bells ring to warn people off this toxic culinary waste. There’s also something slightly aggressive about the relish with which people will decapitate an egg, much like the French people felt when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined, I would imagine. You wouldn’t do that if it had turned out to be a chick though, would you? My argument stands. (I do eat fried eggs, omelettes, scrambled eggs and poached though.) 2. Overly-Acidic Pineapple This is every pineapple I have ever eaten, even the dried ones. Apparently it’s a good thing if guys eat pineapple... I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that pineapple makes the roof of my mouth feel like it’s had oven cleaner in it, and not in that fifties housewife, Smilebrite ad sort of way. Pineapples are waging war on my mouth – so I’m guessing this happens to you too, and this article will lead to a mass boycott of pineapples. 3. Tinned Tuna Even if it claims to be “dolphin friendly” (how?) it’s not as if there are plenty more fish in the sea... Grey, slimy, dripping and desiccated, with the odd crunch of a scale: this is how I imagined Gollum’s skin to look before I saw the film. Secondly, I can smell it five stacks away in the library, like garlic on a bad first date, it just doesn’t make a bad situation better. 4. Tofu I hate to tell you this, but I first discovered tofu when I realised that I wasn’t eating feta. Big disappointment. 5. Cherry-Flavoured Anything Just like chicken flavoured crisps that are suitable for vegetarians, Maraschino cherries, the neon red ‘80s cocktail staple, are about as close to a real cherry tree as plastic cheese is to a cow. Coca Cola, Chupa Chups and Chapstick have all made a huge error in the cherry product range, unless you live for polyester sheets, velour tracksuits or kissing your boyfriend on Mandy. They all taste of chemicals, “smell like a baby prostitute”, and none have ever seen a cherry. 6. After Eights If you’re a yuppie from the 80s, then go for it. 7. Kidneys They’re kidneys, Hannibal. (Same goes for liver, tongue and brains.) The next stop will be cannibalism. Please alight here.


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Like what you’ve tasted? Want some more? Think you could do better? Then we would love to hear from you. Positions are available for the team next year, so whether you want to write, edit, design or take pictures, get in touch at:

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Pavlova Palava by Michael Goodier The Findus Lasagne of Global Food Politics by Oli Picken Seeds of Change by Rosa Weber Hunger Pains by Ben...

The Food Edition  

Pavlova Palava by Michael Goodier The Findus Lasagne of Global Food Politics by Oli Picken Seeds of Change by Rosa Weber Hunger Pains by Ben...