Letter: Hunger amid plenty
Monday 19 October 1998
Sir: Suzanne Moore (Comment, 16 October) is right to point out how difficult it is to eat enough, let alone well, when you live on benefits or in a "food desert", but there is more to the relationship of poor nutrition and poverty than Suzanne Moore seems willing to admit.
For many people their only source of education (if you can call it that) about food is from the commercial concerns who deploy vast advertising budgets to persuade us that their over-priced, nutritionally impoverished and often disgusting products are good value.
There are few more inviting targets for ridicule than posh people telling poor people what to eat. But is it really right to keep silent while watching those who can least afford it paying for heavily marketed products when they can buy from the same shelf the ingredients for a decent (albeit unfashionably plain) meal at a fraction of the price?
Learning how to shop and cook from your mum (or dad) belongs to the realm of fantasy for many children. Prissy moralising from government ministers will fail, not least because food is intimately related to identity, as Suzanne Moore points out. The case has surely never been stronger for making basic cooking skills - including the economics of shopping - part of every child's education.
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