Opinion: Convenience is everything in our brave new world of food
Farmers provided most of the heartening moments in last week's RTÉ documentary How Ireland Eats, a fascinating but ultimately chilling snapshot of our current relationship with food, from the stance of a primary producer and a parent of young children.
The standing of farmers has been fading in the eyes of the consumer, but this programme showed what is still at the heart of most of us - passion for what we do and love for our stock.
We first saw Conor O'Malley out at the crack of dawn checking if a field of potatoes were warm enough to lift.
Then Peter Whelan got emotional talking about slaughtering his obviously well-cared-for pigs, while his comment about how different they would look in a few days, when they've "had a haircut and are in two halves", just added to his authenticity.
We also saw army sergeant Stevie Lafferty prepare a fresh (and probably healthy, nutritious and tasty) meal for 150 cadets on a diesel oven in a field in Cork. We even saw them baking brown soda bread, as his "mammy made".
But after that, I felt myself repeatedly saying a phrase my own mother used to use, "God be with the days when …."
My jaw first dropped when the chef in a 4-star hotel with, presumably, access to the best of equipment, told us that vegetables for a wedding had been prepared the day before. They were "blast chilled down" then "regenerated" for 12-15 minutes in an oven.
Is this replicated at big events in hotels across the country?