Archives for posts with tag: palm oil

Photo courtesy of Salsabeel Zeineddin

“Mummy, I have a wish,” said my son with a contrived sweetness.

“Yes, Darling, tell me.”

“That you make crepes for breakfast tomorrow.” It was a school night, and mornings for us are stressfully chaotic.  Crepes are labour intensive.

“Ummmmm…. What would you want with them?” I asked conflicted in desiring to give him what he wanted but feeling selfish and irritated.


This seemed an odd coincidence as I’d just been reading a piece about Nutella Crepes in Gaza, called “Dreaming of Chocolate,” written by a young Palestinian food writer Salsabeel Zeineddin, Read the rest of this entry »



Hubbub is a UK organisation using creative, participatory events to reduce domestic food waste.  Two of their projects are on my mind right now. #PumpkinRescue is all about giving Halloween pumpkins a culinary afterlife.  (I hope to take part in a Disco Soup event in Salford; check out events in your area.) #ExpressYourShelf asks people to prepare meals based on what they have on hand, and take “shelfies.”  Here’s what we got up to last year at this time.

Fun.  Meanwhile, the estimable Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is soon coming out with a new book and tv series on leftovers, “all about creating delicious meals from all those bits and bobs that are leftover from the last meal we cooked, ” says he.

Conversations about “leftovers” are everywhere these days, as concern mounts about food waste and its ecological impact, as well as the moral issue of throwing out edible food in light of local and global hunger– all pretty well summarised in the video posted above.  Food waste is a large and multifaceted problem, with domestic waste being one part of that; I like to think that by not wasting food individuals can save money and be empowered to discuss and act on systemic problems too.  Connecting different levels.

On the whole I’m pretty good at not wasting — except when life and work get busy and I lose focus on the shopping/cooking nexus– but that’s the point.  Not wasting in our world of excess and too-muchness requires a focus and becomes a task and priority in itself that needs to be made easier.

So we might have to do things differently. Read the rest of this entry »

We have a family joke that cracks us up every year. We eat the children’s chocolates and replace brussel sprouts in the golden wrappers. One year my ingenious husband decided to wrap the chocolates reverse-ways, in the leaves of the sprouts which he’d carefully unfurled.  We gave those to the kids.  This is the merriment we create– HO HO HO.

Last year the prank stopped feeling quite as amusing when I began to contemplate child slavery in the cocoa trade, and realised Ferrero Rocher lacks Fair Trade or anti-slavery certification. Quite effectively petitioned by internet activitists, via Change.Org, the company Ferrero SpA has committed itself to  ensure the end of child slavery in its supply chains by 2020. (Read about it here )

2020?  2020?  Surely change can happen more quickly then this, even within the mega-complicated worlds of international agribusiness.  7 years from now, 8 years from the date of the petition– that’s so many childhoods stolen by trafficking and poverty and 16 hour days and beatings and all the horrors– and yes I know children in other parts of the world have to work and I’m not romanticising “childhood” but I do insist that equitable “development” seeks education and social justice as foundations for the hopes of the future.  And when we are talking about the pleasures and magic I seek to give my own children, as their own childhoods, it somehow matters all the more.  7 years: do we let this company off the hook for now, because it states a good intention?  That’s a question– I’m open to hearing interesting opinions.

Here’s a website that discusses lots of the issues around chocolate

So what should we do?  The mega business also produces Nutella about which today I saw a great and shocking graphic

There is so much politics in that map, between countries, labour markets, eco-systems, futures, commodities trading….  Looking at that map I mentally enquired about their relationship to palm oil, such a troubling ingredient in the unfolding story of processed foods, rain forests, climate change, agribusiness…  Apparantly Ferrero is a strong supporter of “sustainable palm oil”; whether this is a total corporate greenwash kind of notion I need to find out. (Readers, please advise!)  In fact, I realise there’s so much I need to learn about palm oil.

I know that all over the internet there are recipes for DIY Nutella, hazelnut spreads, chocolate spreads, raw cocoa spreads, all kinds of deliciousness that one could investigate while keeping a more ethical control over ingredients.  I could even forage cobnuts as the hazel , or acorns to substitute, for goodness sake, and and do a local-foraged-seasonal version!   I am currently contemplating whether I should try to make my own Ferrero Rocher bonbons to wrap in Brussel Sprout leaves. The exercise becomes rather elaborate, and maybe some of the humour gets lost.  I know we environmentalists (along with feminists) are accused of being humourless, and I see this happening in this very blog post!  Oh Friends, help me, it’s all so complicated….

a PS several days later– I’ve discovered a new blog, which I love, and he’s got a homemade Nutella recipe, and this is the one I will try first if I ever decide to give it a go:

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