The Delia Effect on food product sales is notorious. If Delia endorses it, sales increase - sometimes by as much as 400%. Delia's recent endorsement of battery farmed chicken threatens to undo the good work of the Chicken Out campaign to encourage more people to buy free-range or freedom food chickens. The argument that 'the poor' depend on battery farming suggest that lower income families are not entitled to ethics, or that they have to eat the meat of birds who have lived surrounded by their own excrement. Free-range or freedom foods are an affordable ethical option. Boycott Delia to demonstrate your rejection of such arguments and your support for a ban on battery farming.
Delia Smith didn't promote Battery Farming - she clearly said she doesn't like the way they are looked after in the farms, and her book recommends Free Range eggs anyway. What she ACTUALLY said was that she wasn't getting involved in "Food Politics" so she wouldn't pledge her support to organic, battery etc etc food.
I think, to be fair, it's a brave new world that Delia finds herself returning to cookery writing in now and I must say, I'm rather mystified by the whole thing.
I'm sure we'd all like to lead fantastically romantic, "Sunday supplement" lifestyles, wherein we're able to meander to the local farm-shop, wicker basket in hand, carefully selecting our organically grown and locally sourced produce. But for many, that is simply not possible.
I signed up early to Hugh's Chicken Out campaign and think that the work done by Hugh and Jamie, in particular, has genuinely motivated people to question where their food comes from and to question what they're putting in to their bodies. So why Delia is recommending supermarket own brand products is rather a mystery.
I'm one of those consumers that DOES try to support their local farm-shop and yes, they do exist in Stockton-on-Tees, my fish comes from a local fishmongers that's been trading in Stockton for goodness knows how long and any meat I buy is from a proper butchers and is properly sourced and raised to the highest standards of animal husbandry. But I still sometimes find myself in Tesco or Sainsbury's at 8 o'clock at night, trying to find something to eat.
I eat as seasonally as I can - I don't buy Peruvian asparagus "just because I fancy some" in February as it's just not right and, all told, I think I shop and cook as ethically as the next person. And in to this new age of conscience wades our Delia..........
I can't get a handle on it. On the one hand, her Summer and Winter collections have inspired people to eat seasonally and to find the very finest produce you can afford, and yet you go to Delia's website, and there's a pop up ad for McDonalds - which frankly, I couldn't believe!
Delia said she didnt get involved in the politics of food but also implied that the worst practices of factory farming were relevant because "poor people" need nutritious food. In my view, that is political as well as patronising. I also think by promoting big supermarket brand foods (why **** frozen vegetables rather than the often cheaper unbranded ones?) she has become politically involved. She is too successful to be that naive. Above all, she gives me no confidence that the branded foods she recommends have been chosen for quality rather than cost,- so sadly, I dont want her in my cookbook collection anymore. Not a boycott, just a positive lifestyle decision.
Down with Delia! Has she lost it completely? I work full time and still manage to cook a meal each night from fresh, mostly locally sourced ingredients. If I know I'm going to have limited time I "cook & freeze" on the weekend. Eating what's in season fresh from the farm shop means you get fruit and veg at its best, and what ever did we do BEFORE battery farming, ready meals and importation? I know plenty of people on a tight budget who don't have to resort to eating pre-prepared muck and still manage to stay healthy!
I agree with GQ completely,how can Amazon allow this discussion to go on.Delia is a national treasure and well respected,when( i get the book and i will)i wont be buying it from Amazon i can assure you,its a disgrace!!. Hooray for our Delia!!!. Jean
She is already fully involved in 'Food Politics' and has been ever since she was in the pay of one of the major supermarkets. What a time to sabotage all the good done by Hugh and Jamie. Delia's style is not what we need in the 21st century. Her old books are greatly overrated and she has a way of making things far more complicated and time consuming than they need be. She should go back to retirement before she does any more harm.
It seems to me that many people here want to approve free speech as long as every one says things they agree with. Not everyone is anti battery hen you know, and for many of us the cost of food is more important than where it comes from, and of course what it tastes like. Many posting here seem to think that unless food is complicated and expensive it's not food. This is not the case for most of us and many of us can't afford to put ethics ahead of cost. Leave Delia alone, she does an excellent job making cookery accessible to all. Snobbery, bigotry and politics should have no place in food. Three cheers for Delia
I am certain that many of those who are not 'anti battery hen' would be if they visited (and smelt) a battery hen house first hand. It is far too easy to complain about cost and stick ones head in the sand when it comes to thinking about where our food comes from and how it is reared.
"for many of us the cost of food is more important than where it comes from, and of course what it tastes like."
and that's exactly what's wrong with food culture in the UK. Good-quality free-range chicken too expensive? Eat less of it. Bulk out what you do eat with fresh seasonal vegetables, pulses, and pasta. In earlier books Delia did a great job of convincing people that food quality was important, and it's better for you and the planet to eat smaller quantities of better- quality meat and poultry. I know a number of people who became good cooks thanks to Delia. It's a real shame she hasn't taken the opportunity to further improve national cooking habits when she has so much power to do so. No, I won't be buying it, yes, it's a free country.
What Delia was trying to get across is that if you ask people to boycott factory raised chickens then you have the responsibility to suggest an alternative food within the same price range. She doesn't like factory farming.
I don't understand why no-one is mentioning that this is actually a reissue of one of Delia's very early books, updated in terms of what's available nowadays. I remember buying this in the 1970s and as an inexperienced cook and working wife it was helpful. I then enjoyed going on to learn more from her later books.The aggressive tone and vitriol in some of the replies I have read today leaves me cold. If it gets people interested in making a start, then surely they will move on and develop as cooks? When did we get to be so intolerant and aggressive as a society that we can't debate the merits of a book without being so unpleasantly personal?
I'm not too fond of the smell from an ordinary organic farmyard - manure doesn't smell very nice but it is necessary. For those people who don't have to worry about making ends meet being ethical about their food may be a choice they can make. Don't knock those of us who have to choose ethics or eating.
I totally agree. Having received my copy I think the recipes are good. You might not want to make them form the same ingredients - cookery is after all about adding and subtracting from recipes, and you learn most from experimenting. I can't see why everyone is so anti and aggressive about it. As this lady said everyone here seems to be very intolerant. There are ways of saying you disagree without being nasty about it.
People aren't rotten just because they have other opinions - everyone has been given a forum on which to comment - whether you agree or not is your freedom of choice. By the way, I agree about mouthy Gordon but it makes people sit up and watch something that they may not otherwise and therefore learn. Equally I stand by what I think of Delia - good or bad cook she's milked the market for all it's worth. As you say it's a free country...
You bet Delia won't get involved in ''Food Politics'' - no sales in that - it's a pity she decided, or maybe was persuaded to write this book. I bought her books and watched her on television thinking she could cook, and these were her recipes Now I have the same feeling about Delia I had when I found out that Mrs. Beeton couln't cook either.Another publishing con!.
Spot on. Anyhow the French use loads of tinned food. Just look in any French supermarket - and quite a few upmarket delicatessens over here now and see the range of quality tinned food. If this improves british tinned food as well as revealing the good stuff then as usual Delia has it right. All of us buying her book cannot be wrong!
" For those people who don't have to worry about making ends meet being ethical about their food may be a choice they can make. Don't knock those of us who have to choose ethics or eating."
But hang on a minute. If you are short of money, why would you cook with expensive tinned and frozen products?? I recommend Delia's Frugal Food, published in about 1974 -- I still have the battered copy which I used as an impoverished student to cook cheap, nourishing and tasty meals. And in those days she *did* manage to reconcile ethics and eating well, and wasn't afraid of tackling food politics!