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Basket Case: What's Happening to Ireland's Food? [Paperback]

Philip Boucher-Hayes , Suzanne Campbell
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2009
In the boom years, food became Flash Paddy's greatest status symbol. We loved to eat out, yet at the same time, the majority of us continued to throw a pre-cooked chicken and bagged salad into the trolley at the supermarket. Why? Why did food and where it came from matter so little? When did the nation that was married to the land lose its inner culchie? In our recent past food and eating were one of the ways in which we redefined ourselves. The spud went out the window. In came prosciutto and sushi. Irish cooking and Irish chefs flourished but the land it was produced on became something we didn't want to know about - wellies were for music festivals. Our connection with countryside and growing food disintegrated. We failed to relate what was on our plate to how we lived. This is the first book in Ireland to talk about where food really comes from, who decides what we buy and why what we eat says so much about us. It encompasses everything from take away pizza to Irish farmhouse cheese and everything in between: the land, the farmers, producers, suppliers and supermarkets. The authors argue that in our rush to become urban, cosmopolitan and economically progressive, we have forgotten about what we are really good at. Food and farming have been good servants to Ireland - they could be something that make us truly great. 'Basket Case' examines the seismic shifts taking place in this country and asks if we've lost touch with one of the few things we did better than everybody else. Can food, farming and finding our inner culchie save Flash Paddy from himself?

Product details

  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Gill & Macmillan Ltd (1 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0717145794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0717145799
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,325,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Philip Boucher Hayes joined RTE in 1993. He is the Radio Investigative Unit reporter and presents the RTE 1 television series Buyer Beware. Suzanne Campbell produced and directed television programmes for RTE including the food and farming series Ear to the Ground. Through their work in television and radio Philip Boucher-Hayes and Suzanne Campbell have spent many years standing in rainy fields talking to farmers, looking at food labels and eating their way around the world. They live in North Wicklow with their young daughter.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sub David McWilliams 23 Dec 2010
Not great. Mainly written in a poor pastiche of David McWilliams's style, the fairly interesting material on food and retail &c is swamped in pseudo-analysis of Irish economy and society. Not the book on Irish food that we have been waiting for.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and meaty. 17 May 2013
By SuReads
Basket Case is a sincere attempt to tease out the issues in relation to a subject that deserves a lot more public scrutiny and exposure. Farming, food and fallacies.

The food we eat is hugely important, and it would be folly to leave the debate on its future to politicians and food producers. Boucher Hayes and Campbell are right: we each have a duty to inform ourselves. Reading this book is a good first step.

Basketcase exposes some of the horrors of our everyday shopping basket. This is not to suggest that the authors are dogmatic health freaks. On the contrary, they lampoon some of the more fascistic approaches to eating well. They too, we are told, occasionally shop in dodgy places compromising their values in the name of convenience. Even if this is disappointingly discordant with their manifesto, it is, admittedly, realistic and empathetic to the needs of the majority of Irish shoppers. It is clear that Boucher Hayes and Campbell are passionate about wholesome unadulterated food, "but in a way that puts practicality and place of origin at the forefront." This makes their plea accessible and attractive to the average Irish consumer. It attempts to bridge that gulf between whingey organic purists like me, and busy supermarket folk like 90% of our population.
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