Sinead Ryan: 'Food police killing the joy of eating out'
It's Christmas, so I've got food on the brain. And in the fridge. And, mostly, in my mouth too.
Maybe I just have the munchies, but when did the food police take over the running of the State?
There's enough nannying going on without the authorities telling us what we can and can't eat and how everything is now bad for us, save for a few unadulterated Brussels sprouts and a handful of chia seeds.
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There's a push on to force restaurants to inform diners (whether they want to know or not) about the calorie content of what they're eating.
I'm all for healthy options, but when I go out, more often than not it's a huge treat and I'm onto the dessert trolley straight away.
Any chef will tell you everything tastes better with cream and butter. It's an unbeatable fatty filling combo. So, if I order mashed potato I do not want some mushy version using skimmed milk and a bit of marg, for instance. Ditto cake, brunch or lunch, unless I choose it.
A study by Liverpool University found 83pc of dishes in fast-food restaurants were above the recommended 600 calorie limit. I should hope so! What bit of Nando's did they miss?
Listen, if you're going to send in researchers to McDonald's and KFC, let me suggest a short cut: write a paper and file it under 'Bleeding Obvious'.
Childhood obesity is a terrible thing and it should be tackled.
But it is not caused by burger joints, global food giants or chefs doing their job. It is, however, caused by bad parenting. Now, if we can research that problem, the rest will look after itself.
Smug vegans shouldn't need any protection
One group who can't look after themselves, or indeed, keep to themselves, are vegans.
They're looking for protected species status, and legislation being implemented under the UK's Equality Act 2010 may just be silly enough to give it to them.
There's a difference between 'dietary' vegans (even the kind who annoyingly announce their status as they arrive at your house for dinner) and 'ethical' vegans, who think wearing a pair of leather sandals or a woolly pullover isn't just a crime against fashion, but against cows and sheep.
The same lot are trying to ban perfectly ordinary sayings like "bringing home the bacon" and "killing two birds with one stone".
I don't want to flog a dead horse (oops!) but to take the bull by the horns (sorry), they wouldn't need any protecting at all if they just kept their notions to themselves without smugly imposing it on the rest of us.
Brexit chips are down as we digest no-deal threat
Brexit has made food an especially serious issue though. Irish exporters, including our farmers and artisan producers, are crippled with the uncertainty surrounding the catastrophic mess this has become.
Brexiteers, on the other hand, seem inexplicably robust about the notion that they can feed themselves forevermore in the event of a no-deal.
It's nonsense, of course. We all, Britons especially, have become so used to eating whatever foods we want, whenever we want, that we have lost all sense of season.
The deeply offensive comments about, ahem, reminding Ireland what food shortages look like, from MP Priti Patel, hit a raw nerve.
The Famine hasn't been forgotten in the collective mindset. But an interesting statistic from the CSO tells us in 1840 half the population relied on the potato as their predominant diet, eating 7-14lbs a day each. Today, stunningly, we import 20 times more of the product than we export. I blame our Tayto addiction.