Investigating every aspect of the food we eat
1971: A year that changed food forever?
Dan Saladino asks if the year 1971 was a turning point for how the world eats?
It was a year of contrasts: McDonalds increased the portion sizes of the beef burger it served with the launch of the Quarter Pounder, meanwhile one of the best selling books of 1971 was full of vegetarian recipes, 'Diet for a Small Planet' by Frances Moore Lappe, which argued hunger could be eliminated from the world if we stopped eating meat and embraced plant-based diets.
In the UK the food industry was innovating like never before and creating new types of processed foods and supermarkets were expanding across the country. Some embraced these changes, whereas others reacted to them, a split that was reflected in the publication of two important books that year. Delia Smith's 'How to Cheat at Cooking' offered tips on how tinned convenience foods could be used to create quick and delicious dishes, whereas, Jane Grigson's Good Things, was a celebration of slower, seasonal and more traditional cooking.
Senior staff writer at Bon Appetit magazine Alex Beggs argues 1971 was a turning point for food and explains how social changes and economic forces helped transform the way people ate in the United States (from the opening of the first branch of Starbucks to cups of instant noodles going on sale). Food historian Polly Russell explains how a similar process was also underway in the UK and how we can see the legacy of that transformation in our food today.
Dan also speaks to Professor Tim Lang about the importance of the Concert for Bangladesh, organised by George Harrison to fight famine in south Asia. He also catches up with Frances Moore Lappe to ask what 'Diet for a Small Planet' can tell us about food and our world fifty years on.
Produced and presented by Dan Saladino
The Joy of Heat
The chilli revolution of the past decade has made the UK a nation of chilli-jam lovers, and windowsill spice-growers. But our desire for the fiery kick of heat-giving food goes back centuries. What is it about us that makes us crave the pain and pleasure of chilli, wasabi, and horseradish?
In this programme Sheila Dillon investigates our love for the hot stuff, speaking to chefs, growers, and researchers who are taking heat to new, extravagant heights.
Presented by Sheila Dillon
Produced in Bristol by Melvin Rickarby
A Nominations Celebration
The BBC Food and Farming Awards are back for their 20th edition, ready to celebrate the people across the UK who are changing lives for the better, through food and drink.
Marking the official opening of nominations, Sheila Dillon chats to this year's head judge, chef Angela Hartnett, about how the hospitality industry's coped over the past year - and the brand new awards categories up for grabs. Because although it's been a time of incredible stress and hardship for many in the industry, there have also been staggering displays of imagination, generosity and creativity; which is why this year's awards will focus on the people and businesses who’ve gone above and beyond during the pandemic.
Nominations are open until just before midnight on Monday 17th May.
For more information on how to nominate for the 2021 BBC Food and Farming Awards, visit: bbc.co.uk/foodawards
Presented by Sheila Dillon; produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
Lab-grown meat: How long before it's on a menu near you?
The first lab-grown beef burger was cooked and eaten in London in 2013. Since then more than 15 types of meat have been re-created by food scientists - including lamb, duck, lobster and even kangaroo. Last year, Singapore became the first country in the world to approve the sale of a cultured chicken nugget - so how far away are we in the UK from seeing cultured meat on the menu?
The companies producing lab-grown meat say it is the answer to many of the world's problems; deforestation, factory farming, antibiotic resistance and carbon emissions. Sceptics say it is too expensive, highly-processed and any 'green' credentials have yet to be proven.
In this programme, Sheila Dillon speaks to some of those at the forefront of developments, and asks if lab-grown meat is the fix the meat eating world has been asking for?
Presented by Sheila Dillon
Produced in Bristol by Natalie Donovan
The Urban Growing Revolution
Planting and growing food has had a massive boost during the pandemic - and that hasn't been limited to those with gardens.
Right across the country, people have been making the most of balconies, rooftops, even window boxes to get their green-fingered fix, as increasing numbers of us enjoy the benefits of interacting with nature and having a hand in producing our own food.
Hot on the heels of her own spring planting project, Leyla Kazim explores stories of food being grown in cities: from individuals re-purposing tiny outdoor spaces during lockdown; to community garden projects providing fresh food and mental health support; through to innovative urban farms offering ideas for our future food security.
Leyla speaks to writer and YouTube gardening sensation Huw Richards; Dr Jill Edmondson from the University of Sheffield, who's collecting data on national growing habits; and a range of first-time growers who've been following her tutorials on social media.
She also hears from Woodlands Community Garden in Glasgow, and the Grow Cardiff city growing project - and heads to Stockport rooftop garden The Landing with chef Sam Buckley from Where The Light Gets In and Jo Payne from Manchester Urban Diggers, to find out just how valuable a green space for growing food in the heart of a city can be...
Presented by Leyla Kazim; produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.
The Magic of Mussels (And Their Troubled Trade)
Dan Saladino finds out how Brexit could wreck plans to turn the mussel into a mainstream food. They're good for our health and the environment so why are producers facing ruin?
From their base in Lyme Bay in South Devon Nicki and John Holmyard grow mussels out at sea. Their pioneering farm, once completed, will be the largest of its kind in European waters, capable of producing ten thousand tonnes of mussels each year. Since January however, they haven't been able to harvest the shellfish which they mostly sell into to Europe. Following Brexit a dispute between the government and the EU has meant the export of much of the UK's live bivalve molluscs (oysters and cockles as well as mussels) has ground to a halt. Dan explains what lies behind this trade dispute and the devastating impact its having on the industry.
Exports into the European Union are essential to mussel farmers in the UK because we eat so little of the shellfish we produce. So why do these bivalves matter? Mary Seddon, a mollusc expert, explains why this source of food was so important to our ancestors and also describes the environmental benefits mussels bring to our coastline.
Belgian food writer Regula Ysewin (pictured) reveals why it was Belgium that fell in love with mussels and also provides a guide to cooking them.
Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.