The tweet made me smile in a “funny cause it’s true” kind of way and then frown in a “that’s not great” kind of way. Pictured was a lonely looking vegan food truck at last week’s Dublin Horse Show. There was just one customer, (presumably) happily purchasing their non-meat burger or [purposefully incorrectly spelled] “chickin” bites. Perhaps this was just a quiet time for them, but this was notable as despite there being 50 food stalls and nine on-site restaurants, there were long queues at every other fast food joint, from the ladies day marquee near Herbert Park to the last stable in Simmonscourt, almost constantly. The food offering at the RDS was billed as “something for everyone and for all budgets. From healthy and vegan options like Cali Cali and Mean Greens, to family favourites like Eddie Rockets and Fish Shack. Or you can treat yourself to bubbles and seafood at the Champagne & Seafood bar.” If I were to take issue with that blurb from the website, it would be that human nourishment has been reduced to three main options:
1 “Healthy vegan” – which I don’t trust nutritionally.
2 A deep fried option – which at best is a treat and at worst devoid of nutritional value.
3 An option that many people can’t afford.
Just in the door from the event myself, the tweet caught my eye, as, having witnessed the queues for food at the Tullamore Show the previous week, I went to the horse show – like I was brought as a child – laden down with pre-packed sandwiches, fruit and bags of Tayto. Now I am not suggesting the contents of my cooler bag was all that healthy either, but I had some peace of mind and no queues to navigate. That said, let’s be honest, it’s an awful nuisance in big crowds, and there will be [was] no appreciation of it from children who really want a burger and chips. You can end up being the “worst mother/father/granny/auntie ever” with any suggestion that a ham and cheese is a better option.
Glorious weather and a massive win for team Ireland in the Nations Cup served to create a fabulous atmosphere (see our picture diary p32-33) in the RDS. After two years of COVID, people were in celebratory form and tasty convenience most likely outweighed nutrition for most but this is not just an issue for the RDS. It’s the same at everything. Accessing healthy food when dining at events, concerts or festivals can be really challenging. Even if you try to go for the “healthy” option, it is not always clear cut because you have no control over what is added in the preparation. So, if we go back to the original tweet and pose a question – if there were more good-quality, tasty, omnivorous, healthy options, would they find themselves just as lonely as that vegan food truck? Most likely, yes! Taste is psychological. The mantra “when you’re out, you’re out” will prevail.
Another food learning this week. I was delighted to be asked to judge the granola categories in the bakery tent at Tullamore Show. By the end, having tasted every fantastic entry, I had granola overload. Neven’s recipe on P16 might just tempt me back to my favourite breakfast but I wish I had met Mairead [Lavery - who was on another section] in advance more so than after. Her advice – showing me her bag of waste food – not actually eating everything is advisable. The wisdom of experience.