In this digital age, there have never been so many routes to conversation. But, with this technological overload, we’re seeing a backlash against the virtual and a desire for the ‘real’. Whether it’s in music, hobbies or food, authenticity is king and we’re going back to basics.
The Great British Bake Off has enthralled the nation and awoken a flurry of baking enthusiasts. Pickling is the new foodie pastime. Knitting is becoming more tweet-worthy than Zumba. Some bands have revolted against auto-tuned pop and proudly playing real instruments like acoustic guitars, banjos and accordions.
Has this new trend of hobbies changed how we think about food?
Absolutely. Restaurants are also harking back to yesteryear. Ducksoup in Soho is inspired by the neighbourhood restaurants of France: the menus are handwritten and changed on an almost daily basis. Music is played on a record player, not on CDs. Across the country, bread is ‘artisanal’, cafés note with pride that their cheeses are locally sourced and there’s a trend towards old favourites like roast dinners.
Time is taken to select the best, most authentic ingredients from farmers’ markets and specialist shops. Imported ingredients allow us to recreate authenticity at home. It wasn’t that long ago that Elizabeth David struggled to find pasta or parmesan in the UK, yet now we’d be hard pressed to find a larder without it.
We’re reconnecting with the land: Simon Rogan has spear-headed a foraging movement, his followers all hoping to find fresh garlic scapes by the canal or samphire by the sea bed. And even in the city, us urbanites are cultivating our kitchen window herb gardens, determined that the only pesto which will pass our lips will be that made with our own fresh basil.
And in reply to your Facebook message; “No, sorry, I can’t come out this weekend. My sourdough starter has finished proving so I’m spending Saturday making a loaf.”’