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If you want to eat well in England, eat three breakfasts
Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)
Year 6 | Sunday 28 May 2017

Beauty and the Beast

15 September 2014


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"Don't judge a book by its cover", "Beauty is only skin deep", "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", "All that glitters is not gold", "Appearances are deceptive", "All cats are grey in the dark". These are just some of the phrases and sayings that we learn at a young age to be taught the lesson that we should never judge the external part of a person, but look to what we find inside, as that is the important part. We are told that just because someone has a great appearance, this may not make them a great person inside.

However even if we learn these lessons about how to judge, or not judge other people, it seems that when it comes down to food, these phrases never come to mind. How many times do we, or see others, in the supermarket sort through the selection of fruit or vegetable of our choice just to find the "best", and by "best", I mean, precisely by judging them on their external appearance. Any slight imperfections will immediately be ignored by us, or will have already been automatically rejected by the supermarket.

Then, as seems to happen more and more often, we have a spell of bad weather; too much rain or not enough sun, and farmers find themselves in the difficult situation of needing to sell their "imperfect" produce.

This happened in the autumn of 2012, and looks to repeat itself also this autumn in many parts of Europe due to the terrible spring and summer around the continent. In 2012, many supermarkets decided to accept these less-than-perfect specimens and put them on sale as part of their "basic" food range, but in actual fact, if we think back to what we were taught when we were young, why shouldn't we always find these types of food?

Fruit and vegetables, just like people, do not always grow perfectly. They don't always look beautiful, but certainly, what is important ,is what is inside and how it tastes. And if we are to believe the wise old farmers who have years of experience behind them, they are the ones who say that it is in fact the ugliest fruit and vegetables that are the tastiest.

Of course, we can only buy what is available. If supermarkets only stock "perfect" food, they obviously think that that is what customers want. So perhaps it's time to let them know that we no longer want to judge an apple by its peel.