Food & Drink: Gastropod

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Indy Lifestyle Online
YOU MAY have seen Sainsbury's latest 'celebrity recipe' television commercial, in which Sue Barker makes a low-fat turkey and apricot bake. Keen- eyed shoppers might also have noticed a triangular blue symbol on the packaging of Sainsbury's own-label products. These developments are facets of the chain's frightfully worthy Healthy Eating Initiative, officially launched last week.

This has been formulated with advice from the Nutrition Task Force, the body implementing the proposals of the Health of the Nation White Paper. These put forward a specific target for the reduction of fats in the national diet by the turn of the century.

So far, probably the most useful aspect of the Sainsbury's initiative is the introduction of clear recommendations for the daily maximum intake of calories and fats: women should consume no more than 2,000 calories and 70g of fat; men no more than 2,500 calories and 90g of fat.

The Gastropod is intrigued by the significance in all this of the number five. Not only do Sainsbury's advocate a five-point plan for healthy eating, but its first step is to vary one's diet by eating from a range of five food groups. Step two is to include at least five pieces of fruit and veg each day.

The Pod finds there is an interesting parallel with the current posters for Pal dogfood which, it is claimed, 'keeps your best friend fit five ways'.

MEANWHILE, an experiment in dietary modification is being conducted at the Food Policy Unit of the University of Bradford. Dr Ann Hobbiss has recruited 100 volunteers who have all agreed to spend three months eating good food.

Her theory is that people are bombarded with messages about what they should not eat, which are interpreted negatively because we all resent having to forgo pleasure. By concentrating on 'positive' foods and making sure the nutritional needs of her volunteers are adequately catered for, Dr Hobbiss is hoping that they will, naturally, become less inclined to scoff 'junk' foods.

DURING the past year, without leaving London, the Gastropod has tasted the food of Goa and Kerala, Bombay and Bangladesh; now I am off to Rajasthan. The Red Fort restaurant in Dean Street, London W1 (071-437 2115) has been transformed into a lookalike of the Pink Palace in Jaipur for a Rajasthani Food Festival (to 23 October).

As this is the first time authentic Rajasthani cuisine has been seen in London, the Gastropod is not sure what to expect, although the game section of the menu - including venison Nizami and rabbit Khatta - sounds promising. Readers should mention the Gastropod when booking a table for dinner next week, Monday to Friday, and get a discount of pounds 5 per person.

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