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Don’t want ultra-processed food? Game is the answer

It seems to me that every other programme currently airing on Radio 4 deals with the cataclysmic epidemic of ultra-processed food in Britain. This must have caused a degree of consternation in many, otherwise the river of similar programmes on the radio and television would have quickly run dry. What I have garnered is that these ultra-processed foods are ones which contain ingredients which one wouldn’t expect to find in the average kitchen cupboard, I don’t mean beluga caviar or witchetty grubs; no, it’s the presence of “preservatives”, “emulsifiers” and “stabilisers” which is so unwelcome. The other concern is how us Brits compare to the rest of Europe when it comes to ultra-processed food, with a report showing that over 50% of household purchases in the UK were of ultra-processed foods, compared to 14% for nos amis across the channel. 

With this hullaballoo around moving away from these ultra-processed foods, which some claim are particularly damaging to our health, I can see a great opportunity. An opportunity to champion game for the table. Alas, game often lurks in the background on the national stage of the delicious and healthy foods which we produce in the UK, but if we could persuade more people up and down the land to enjoy more game the benefits would be innumerable.  

As most country people know, game is protein and mineral rich, lean and above all delicious, and this is the key to my point here. According to my radio listening, the unwelcome ingredients in ultra-processed foods make it particularly morish and prevent one from feeling full, on the other hand, natural, protein-rich meals sate one with a more sensibly sized portion and provide good nutrition as opposed to empty and overabundant calories. Game is therefore the perfect choice to wean people from their addiction to doughnuts and re-formed chicken nuggets onto something which will see a benefit to not only themselves, but also to fantastic conservation efforts and the rural economy. 

The shooting season is now over, but venison and woodpigeon are still very much in the larder and on the menu, not to mention the stocks of pheasant and partridge which many will have in the freezer. If you haven’t yet decided what to cook for Easter Sunday, perhaps ring up your local game dealer or butcher and order a haunch of venison. If you know someone who either hasn’t had the opportunity to enjoy game, or simply doesn’t know about it, then perhaps invite them around for supper and show them the light by cooking some game. If you’re preparing a picnic for an Easter point-to-point, leave the supermarket sausage rolls on the shelf and de-frost some pheasant for some delicious pheasant sausage rolls.


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