When I was eleven, in a marketplace in Delhi I was nipped on the arm by a small frail girl begging, she gestured with her fingers to her mouth indicating her hunger. That image has stayed with me for forty years, I see her eyes when I’m shopping for potatoes. “There is enough food for everyone, but not everyone has enough food.” A child dies of hunger in our world every 10 seconds.
We eat to stay alive, an average human can survive 3 weeks without food, apparently your survival depends on your personality. “That is about the time hunger strikers in prisons tend to die.” There’s a rise in the number of people in the UK relying on food banks to survive and children who skip meals because there’s no food in the house. “Almost 50% of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes.”
What we eat is a political act because it is tied into the globalised food system. From the colonial quest for sugar to the rise of the potato as a stable food worldwide. We live in a world where the commodity price of wheat can be compared to the price for crude oil.
How, where, when and why we eat is also political. We are told what to eat to keep our bodies healthy while the food industry delivers a deluge of adverts for “unhealthy” food. Eating can feed your mind, transform the way you think, there’s a food revolution brewing: incredible edibles and beer making from leftover bread.
My nan taught me to cook, I went to catering college, from consumer to food producer, the politics of what I chose to cook steered me away from catering and into theatre.