Travel and Food – Food and Journalism

by martinhesp

Why write a blog when you are a staff newspaper writer, which is a job that gives you ample opportunity to sound-off? That’s what I’ve been asking myself ever since blogs came into this baffling new world – but I think I have an answer.

If you are going to prattle on about something everyday and non-specific – but at the same time all-embracing and universal – then you need some kind of special channel of communication. Travel and food both fit this description, although I am lucky enough to have my travel articles printed in the paper my big interest in food seems to escape my daily writing duties.
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For some reason, I don’t get around to writing about food enough – even though it’s one of my favourite things to do. I could and should do more food related articles.
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There are millions of people who think about food a great deal of the time – which, I guess, is why there are so many blogs dedicated to the subject. Most seem to be about eating out, or about new recipes, and so on…
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But as a roving journalist for a daily newspaper I am in a rather privileged position – I get to meet all sorts of folk who, in some way or another, have a relationship with food.
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As an ordinary member of the public you might be daunted, for example, to walk over to a busy trawlerman landing his catch – but being a journalist somehow gives you a licence to be nosey.
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You can say: “Hi, I’m a journalist for the Western Morning News – what’s this weird fish in the corner of the box?”
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I’ve never met a fisherman who has objected to this – indeed most seem to welcome the interest. In my own case I like to imagine they think: “This bloke is just doing his job – he’s paid to be interested in what other people do.”
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It doesn’t matter that I’m not a specialist food editor. What matters to me as a general feature writer is that I am paid to rove about the place, and paid to ask questions about interesting things.
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My own interest in food – and especially my own interest in the gleaning of fabulous food – allows me to sometimes be in strange out of the way places, taking time to explore my favourite subject.
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There are times when the job will find me in some obscure harbour, where I meet the aforementioned trawlerman just home from the Atlantic. A t other times it will be way up on some remote moorland talking to sheep farmer about a rare indigenous breed. There are meetings with traditional butchers in old market towns, cider-makers in lonely parts of the Levels, seaweed pickers on empty rocky coasts…
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Last week i spent a morning at a remote brewery in the Blackdown Hills and was made hugely welcome by the wonderful McCaig family
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And then there are my own discoveries – a glade filled with chanterelles, a tree bent with cherries, a hedge groaning with blackberries…
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Lastly there’s my own cooking. I’ve been making my own dishes since I was a teenager still at school – so that’s 40 years of messing about with cuts and joints, purees and fools, pots and pans and all manner of gizmos both useful and ripe for the next car boot sale.
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In my blog I would like to share not only the many travels that I’m fortunate enough to enjoy, but some of the food and drink too. I hope there will be an interest…

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