Heart Of The House

A fascinating talk by Carolyn Steel – “How Food Shapes Our Cities”

Why you should listen to her:

The question of how to feed cities may be one of the biggest contemporary questions, yet it’s never asked: we take for granted that if we walk into a store or a restaurant, food will be there, magically coming from somewhere. Yet, think of it this way: just in London, every single day, 30 million meals must be provided. Without a reliable food supply, even the most modern city would collapse quickly. And most people today eat food of whose provenance they are unaware.

Architect and author Carolyn Steel uses food as a medium to “read” cities and understand how they work. In her book Hungry City she traces — and puts into historical context — food’s journey from land to urban table and thence to sewer. Cities, like people, are what they eat.

The fact that so few of us in Britain know how to cook has widespread implications all along the food chain. People who don’t cook don’t support local markets and food shops, don’t invite their friends around for dinner, don’t control what they and their families are putting in their bodies, don’t understand the impact of their diet on the planet. Yet, alarmingly, the one space that might encourage more of us to cook – the domestic kitchen – is under threat. Two hundred years ago, only the wealthiest homes had kitchens, but now that we’ve all got them, we don’t seem to know what to do with them. Are kitchens the true heart of the home, a place to socialise and entertain, or semi-redundant service spaces in which to heat up ready meals?

As fewer of us cook from scratch and we eat out more and more, domestic kitchens in Britain are shrinking. Yet the way we build homes today could determine whether or not our children even have the choice of whether to cook for themselves – whether, in effect, they will have the choice to take control of what they eat.   Read more ….

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