Who gives a fig? The demise of a foodie…

William Clement 29 October 2009

Are you post-foodie? If you cringe at someone who tells you they only buy locally-grown, organic vegetables from the farmer’s market, you are probably post-foodie. Rather than heart-warming, you now find it pretentious that a pork chop came from a farm two miles down the road, run by a woman called Ruth who raised the piglet by hand. “Middlewhite pig, you know. We called her Gertie.”

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver are unreformed foodies of the worst kind. Hugh? A TV aristocrat-cum-village idiot, who’ll do as well for cookery as quiz show, and tells poor people not to eat cheap chicken – just get an allotment! Jamie used to be okay when he was sliding down banisters wiv his m8s. But god. How self-obsessed is he now? With his “Ministry of Food” and his magazine, “Jamie”, and his brand of kitchenware, “Jme”. Jme? You crinkle your nose with justified distaste.

But let me put it to you you’re being a teensy bit curmudgeonly- the post-foodie runs perilous risks of wilful ignorance. Worse: sheer idiocy.

Not caring too much is fine, but sometimes you can’t not care. I care about intensively reared chickens. I have an image of featherless, obese chickens in dark barns scalded by the ammonia of their own shit. I don’t even know if it’s accurate, but it puts me off almost as much as their pappy, fatty flesh.

Give me the post-foodie’s blase ‘voguishness’ any day, but that wilful blindness to what’s good – nope, I’m fine, thanks. By good, obviously, I don’t mean morally good, I mean delicious good.

The Recipe

Though melon is traditional, there are better things. In summer try the tiny cherry tomatoes called Sungold. Figs, more appropriate for autumn, are perfect too. There isn’t a better canape. I like to tear the figs to display their insides and scatter with apparent carelessness around a large, attractive board or serving plate, alongside slices of the ham. It looks simple and generous and has none of the primness of titbits in puff pastry.

William Clement