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Sober Life
by Sinclair Newton



Sober Life

I THOUGHT I would share with you some of the Press Releases that come my way as a foodie writer. They go from the really awful to the even-worse-than-that-awful and reading them is nothing like as exciting as being an ecology writer like what José P Ribas is on another electronic whiz-bang page on ibizahistoryculture.com.

I promise this will only be an occasional feature, otherwise I could just fill up the column with food guff from people who are forever trying to promote someone who is trying to market something new to eat or cook with.

This is from Tesco, or should I say from Tesco Corporate Affairs at New Tesco House. I like that and may use it in the future, as in "New Ibiza History Culture Finca".

Here's the unexpurgated version and I will think of a reason to comment upon it as we go along...

"The cult of the celebrity chef has spread to the nursery - babies have become Britain's latest gourmets."

It seems to me there was no indecision there. It must be true because it says it twice. I'll say it again: babies know the difference between din dins cooked by their mother and tinned dim sum.

And who says this? The babies? Their mothers? Or just the Corporate Affairs Department? Read on...

"Parents eager to give their young ones the same standard of cooking they would choose for themselves are behind rocketing sales of increasingly sophisticated baby meals creating a market worth millions of pounds," says supermarket Tesco".

I put those Italics in there as I pondered whether this was just wishful thinking, or the dreaded reality that it was probably true. (I'll do it again the next time there's an amazing, justifiable claim).

"Infants - many just months old - are now being treated to culinary baby food creations which would do justice to Marco Pierre White or The Roux Brothers, Tesco's sales figures show.

"Said Tesco baby food buyer Neil Burton (Just watch how he speaks in perfect tabloid sentences): "Ten years ago, the average baby would be tucking into a jar of mushy peas or pureed chicken and vegetable at tea time.

"However, the recipes used to make a lot of our top selling baby food now read like the menu from a top Michelin- starred London restaurant. (My hyphen).

"The influence of today's super chefs is so powerful that it has moved haute cuisine out of the restaurant and into the nursery.

"Good food and good cooking is now regarded by many parents as essential for their children, right from the moment they are born. A new generation of British food lovers is being created in the cradle."

Isn't he good? Well, for a baby food buyer he is.

You can see what's coming next, can't you? Any minute now he's going to say that introducing babies to exotic tastes will encourage them to be more sophisticated when they grow up. Just watch.

"As well as reflecting their own taste in foods, Tesco's research also reveals that mums and dads hope the sophisticated baby food will help their children develop a more varied palate in later life.

"Introducing them to rich tastes and good food from a very early age may educate their tastes, encouraging them to choose healthy eating foods (sic) and good cooking when they are older.

"Future generations of children may well munch up their greens with delight and demand smoked salmon and olives in their lunchboxes.

"It's a bit like playing tapes of French conversation to your unborn baby in the hope that some of it will sink in. You don't know whether or not it's going to work - but it has to be worth a try!"

Do you see what I mean? "Tesco's own research" is putting top spin on a rise in sales of fashionable baby food and before we know it they're talking about crossing the placenta barrier.

The person responsible for this corporate affair is probably Andy Nash whose name is on the (faxed) handout.

At least he redeems himself at the end by saying: "The following dishes can be found (mashed up) in the current range of baby foods at Tesco," before listing the full Menu a la carte por Le Petit Gourmand.

And I suppose he has got his words published somewhere even if it's only here.

Sinclair Newton