Aileen Colleran’s Blog

Partick, Politics and Passions

Food for thought

Bit light on the blogging front this week, mainly because I’ve been reading rather than logging on, and spending some time in my own ward, which is nice – getting the 62 bus west instead of east.. Am reading “Shopped” and “Bad Food Britain” by Joanna Blythman, as well as “Toast” by Nigel Slater. Books about food and our shopping and poor cooking culture that have really got me thinking again about what we eat and how it affects us. The debate about health and obesity is quite focussed on individual behavour and all the health promotion messages place a heavy emphasis on personal responsibility – which is understandable, but, I wonder, maybe a bit simplistic and missing a key aspect the key cause of poor health – bad diet and how that’s related to the type of food we have easy access to ? The amount of fast, processed and takeaway food we eat in Britain is way beyond what other countries in Europe consume. Rather than blame the punters though, perhaps we should ask , how easy is it for us to buy those fresh, locally grown vegetables, meat and fish that should make up our diet ? Have planning policies and the almost unrestrained growth of supermarkets made our food culture the cheapest but most impoverished in Europe ? I feel very strongly about this – almost because my ward is one of the few areas of the city where you can still shop in local fruit and veg shops, butchers, fish shops, delis, and a farmers market twice a month. It still takes a conscious effort to remind yourself that buying a gigot chop in a local butcher is better than a microwave ready meal of substandard gloop , and that it’s as quick to microwave a fillet of fish with lemon juice and butter than phone the takeaway , but at least I’ve got those choices. I’ve blogged about this before, but Paris is a city that has a healthy retail mix – supermarkets for the boring stuff (cat litter, loo roll , washing up liquid..) , but small interesting shops for fish, meat, cheese and bread (oh, what I wouldn’t give for the enquivalent of the bakery in the Rue Monge , with the best croissants in the known universe and a blackcurrant and almond tart to die for) . There’s a real inequality in that it’s really only in certain parts of Glasgow that people have access to those diverse food retail options – the West End, parts of Dennistoun and Shawlands – in other words the more aspirational and affluent parts of the city. It’s not that Mums necessarily want to shop in I*****d , but sometimes, that’s all there is. 

Which brings me nicely to Tesco and the on-going saga. Well, as I announced in the blog a few months ago, they’ve got their foothold in Partick, on Dumbarton Road. However, the Beith Street megastore is on the back burner as they don’t own all the land to make their planning consent granted by the Scottish government happen- and in the meantime, Glasgow Harbour have a pending application for a superstore (brand unspecified) in South Street in Whiteinch , which should be heard sometime in the New Year.

As to the Farmer’s market, it should be returning to Mansfield Park on Saturday December 13th – I haven’t blogged about the quiet re-opening of the park, and we deliberately didn’t have a big wow let’s jump up and down about the fact that a multi-million pound investment in the ward has come to fruition – but it’s looking good …

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November 23, 2008 - Posted by | Partick, Tesco | ,

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