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Old 8th Jan 2008, 13:52   #1
BiNS
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Default Re: Decent Telly

Anybody see the first part of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's expose on intensive / free range chicken farming last night? I hope it doesn't get too showbiz when Jamie Oliver gets involved but last night's episode was good, down to earth stuff done in HFW's own non patronizing, non-aggressive style. Hinting heavily at shocking stuff to come in parts 2 and 3, the series has started to paint a bleak picture of the industry, and particularly the big 4 supermarkets. Expect to pay more for your chicken very soon.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 14:08   #2
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Default Re: Decent Telly

Yup, I saw it, viewing it as the more earth end of what appears to be C4's chicken season! I think Jamie's going to be more of the processing end of chicken while Hugh deals with the rearing. But that's only on the basis of one preview for Jamie and last night!

I liked that Hugh is actually trying both rearing methods in order to explore them as fairly as possible. I was horrified that the industry expert he has working with him - forget his name - received threats that he'd never work in the industry again if he portrayed either side negatively.

I was also interested to read in a paper, regarding Jamies forthcoming chicken venture that only Waitrose and the Co-op responded with positive 'yes, we'll come to the debate' answers.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 14:09   #3
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Default Re: Decent Telly

Yup, watched it with fascination, though the first episode as you say, BiNS, was pretty low key stuff. I do think HFW has much less natural ability to give the impression of a common touch than Jamie Oliver or even Gordon Ramsay (though I admit I've never watched any of his shows before), so it wasn't that surprising that his public meeting was so poorly attended.

Kudos to the farmer, John Kirkpatrick from Northern Ireland, who is helping him set up the intensive and free range farming areas, even after effective threats by telephone from a 'reputable' poultry company known to him (there are only a couple of well known ones in NI, so that narrows it down a bit).

When shopping at the weekend we bought free range chicken for about the second time in our lives, knowing that after HFW's shows this week, we'd probably not fancy looking at an intensively reared bird. It's expensive, so it's just as well that another TV cook - the pouting Nigella - has turned us on to chicken thighs as being in many ways superior to breasts - they're a damn sight cheaper too.

Watch the rest tonight and tomorrow. Is Jamie actually in this show or is his thing separate? I know there's something called Jamie's Fowl Dinners on Friday.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 14:22   #4
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Default Re: Decent Telly

From the trailer I saw it looks like Jamie makes a sweary appearance at Hugh's barn, though it appears he has his own part of the project later in the week which looks like it's going to be the one that turns stomachs, (or good honest folks into vegetarians).
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 14:22   #5
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Default Re: Decent Telly

I watched this too. HFW did a series last year (I can't recall the name now) in which he took several junk food addicts and taught them how to cook quicker, better, cheaper meals with 'real' produce instead. There was one 'chicken' programme in that series, which showed the horrors of battery farming. I don't think that TV can really convey how horrible battery farming is; what convinced me on that occasion was the effect that it has on (relatively unsentimental) cheap-chicken addicts, most of whom changed their ways after the experience.

I've been a free-range chicken convert for about a year now, and we've just received HFW's Meat book for Christmas, and after reading that we decided to go (mostly) organic on all our meat.

I do think there's a sea-change needed in how we view food (and I'm not a wishy-washy organic lover - I believe in it in terms of meat, but I'm not so convinced of the merits of organic veg which I think is just an exercise in showing how middle class you are in the queue at the supermarket). It would certainly be better if we ate less meat of better quality and ate more veg. And personally, I enjoy buying a free-range chicken for £7 and roasting it on a Sunday, using a leftover chicken breast for risotto on Monday, and the rest for sandwiches on Tuesday, which is exactly what we did this week.

Hmmm, that turned into a bit of a rant, but I'm fairly passionate about food, and meat in particular (mmmmmmm... chicken)... So, to bring it back on topic:

This whole C4 season thing with Gordon, Jamie, and HFW - is that just a way of marketing their separate programmes, or is there some kind of interaction between the three outside of the adverts?

EDIT: Oh, I see that BiNS has just partially answered my only on-topic comment.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 14:44   #6
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Default Re: Decent Telly

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeccaK
It would certainly be better if we ate less meat of better quality and ate more veg
Absolutely. I doubt I'll ever be vegetarian, but Mrs Self has developed a knack of making meals which I don't realise were meat-free until some time after I've finished. Not that they're full of quorn mince or anything.

I don't know about Jamie's show but HFW's aim is not to make people into vegetarians. He believes in eating anything that walks, swims or crawls, provided it's had a decent quality of life first. That makes sense to me.

I'll be interested to see how HFW actually convinces the people on the estate that free range is the way to go, bearing in mind that many of them are single parents or on benefits and seriously strapped for cash. If a whole free range chicken costs £7 (and that's agreed between Becca and HFW last night!) then that's almost three times the cost of the cheapest whole chicken, where Tesco sell two for a fiver.

When we were looking at chicken in the supermarket, we found that a two-pack of free range chicken breasts was about £4.50. Make them organic, and it was closer to £5.50. The equivalent in intensive (sorry, 'barn reared, healthy living') chicken breasts was about £3.50 for two. Indeed, you'd rarely even pay that much as mostly chicken breasts are in packs of four and discounted as a loss leader on semi-permanent 'special offer' to maybe £4 or £5. So you will pay maybe twice as much for chicken breasts (we rarely buy whole chickens) if they're free range or organic. We're fortunate in that we can afford to do that, but it still sticks in the economic craw to voluntarily pay twice what you have to, when you can pretty easily put the animal welfare issue to one side of your mind. I say all that not remotely in defence of intensive farming, but simply to reinforce how hard it will be to persuade people who do have to shop to a strict budget that it's a change worth making.

For more information on free range poultry rearing, visit www.supportchickennow.co.uk.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 15:08   #7
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Default Re: Decent Telly

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Originally Posted by John Self View Post
Absolutely. I doubt I'll ever be vegetarian, but Mrs Self has developed a knack of making meals which I don't realise were meat-free until some time after I've finished. Not that they're full of quorn mince or anything.
I've recently made much the same discovery. Boyfriend is a confirmed veggie, and I'm getting to grips with eating less meat. Also, without wishing to sound smug and terribly middle class, I'm trying as far as possible to make sure that the meat I do buy is free range/organic.

I didn't see this prog, but I'll keep an eye out for it On Demand.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 15:16   #8
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Default Re: Decent Telly

Also HFW's own campaign site Chicken Out!
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Old 10th Jan 2008, 1:01   #9
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Default Re: Decent Telly

When it comes to people consciously picking free range chicken products, how do you tackle the problem of eating things with eggs in, like cakes? Do we even get cakes that say on the packet that they are made using free range eggs?

Quote:
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I doubt I'll ever be vegetarian
Nor me. I love meat, usually eating chicken or beef. But I'm not averse to eating the more exotic animals. (Once tried to source llama meat.)

I haven't seen any of these chicken shows, but I did watch Kill It, Cook It, Eat It on BB3 where they showed the process from pen to plate as regards veal. I didn't have any reaction to the slaughter, probably because I expect it and can make that connection between calf and cellopphane wrapped cut.

But it did answer the one question I'd (sort of) always wondered.All around the countryside we see loads of cows but its rare to see bulls. So many get sold abroad for veal, where its more popular; about five percent, the ones that don't quite measure up for Europe get slaughtered for whatever meat they have and go into your burgers and kebabs; and about twenty-five per cent get shot, with some carcasses going to zoos as feed, the rest being incinerated. That latter lot get shot because it costs more to raise them than the income from selling.
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Old 10th Jan 2008, 1:42   #10
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Default Re: Decent Telly

I think we're probably going to end up buying free-range when it comes to whole chickens (not that we buy many at all), and possibly chicken pieces. But free-range eggs are so expensive when we use rather a lot (and son eats a lot). We try and buy more local meat from a butcher some of the time.
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