My Organic Milkman, Meringues, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Sometimes, I stop and wonder, am I Alison-in-Wonderland? Have I fallen down the rabbit hole into a parallel world where organic and local food is finally loved, understood and celebrated all across the land? Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the return of the milkman and that this time he would offer organic milk in a glass bottle. The times they are a changing. (By the way, my local organic milkman is called John and he is mad about football and gardening). If you do one thing this week, make the switch to organic milk in a glass bottle and ditch the plastic. As a small girl, my fearless mum collected frothy milk straight from the churn at a local farm and worried about being chased by a herd of territorial geese. Fortunately, they never did peck her skinny legs and she says the milk always tasted delicious!
So, inspired by mum, I believe is time to learn from the wisdom of our parents and grannies and get rid of the throwaway parts of our culture which are the worst inventions of the last fifty years.
In spite of the challenges we face, I am excited and optimistic about the future. I’m excited that people finally get what organic food stands for. In my book, organic stands for delicious, healthy, nutritious food with proven higher levels of antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Most importantly, organic food is grown without herbicides and pesticides to protect humans, our soil, and create biodiversity. The evidence is clear on the use of pesticides. Spraying weakens and destroys the very ecosystems we depend on for our food. Sustainable agriculture works with our environment, not against it. I prefer an intelligent holistic approach, where we come to understand that we will cease to exist without the fruitfulness and abundance of nature.
I switched to organic food as an eighteen-year-old undergraduate at university in Wales. I have never looked back. I read Silent Spring and I visited my first organic market the same week. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to eat food sprayed with pesticides and herbicides that kill other living things. It makes no sense. It’s messing with the air we breathe, our precious pollinators and the seeds of life.
As a very busy journalist and passionate cook and foodie, I shop locally and online for specialty organic foods, spices, oils and curious superfoods. I live to eat, not eat to live. Food should be a celebration because food is medicine, not a chore or careless fast food pit stop.
I love that I can shop for an extraordinary range of local, organic and artisan foods both locally and online to feed my passion for cooking, entertaining and optimizing my health and happiness. I make my own fishcakes and top with a fluffy dollop of organic Greek yogurt and serve with salad leaves from my local organic farmer. Breakfast is homemade dark organic chocolate porridge or bircher muesli and I reinvent risotto with millet, organic lemons, and watercress – it’s creamy, nutty, nutritious sunshine on a plate. And if I crave a treat, it would be darling, oversized, pink gooey, swirly meringues, which I fill with artisan, sticky clotted cream and drink with bright, golden, organic Darjeeling tea from the Hampstead Biodynamic tea company.
Now, in case you don’t know this already, I love cakes and really good artisan pastries. So what really makes me want to skip through Covent Garden in an evening gown, like Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, is the delight of knowing I can stop at my favourite organic restaurant for a glass of organic fizz and artisan pain au chocolate, after a night watching The Godfather under the stars at Somerset House. Now that is my idea of organic revolution.