- -  Day # 85  + +

EU > United Kingdom > Newcastle

What`s cookin`

Newcastle, UK (View on map)

Ask Europeans to rate the other members` cooking culture and England is likely to end up in the lower ranks of the competition. They frequently fall victim to the French joking about their taste, while the obesity problem suggests that an English diet may also be harmful to your health. A good reason to ask people in Newcastle: what are you having for dinner tonight?

Derek (23):

`People are starting to get more aware of the need of healthy meals`
Dwight (29) is on a diet and will only eat meat balls with sauce tonight. He is attempting to lose wait and has chosen the `Go Lower` regime to achieve his goal of losing 12 kilograms (2 st). The diet has him eat carbohydrates in the morning and proteins in the evening. Richard (20) takes it a step further. He has eaten nothing but a sandwich roll today and will not have anything for dinner because his salary is not in yet.

Saving time
Many of the people I speak to go for the quick option. Shora (23) will eat grilled fish fingers, Thomas (21) is thinking of beans on toast for economical reasons and Sophie (21) will prepare potato bake. Potato bake being potatoes with creamy sauce from a jar, prepared in the oven with mushrooms.

While Sophie is having dinner at home with her boyfriend, Oli (20) will eat dinner in a hall where dinner is prepared for them. Oli guesses that it will be another regular thing tonight like lasagna with potatoes or chicken. Rob (28) will make dinner of whatever is in the fridge at home, `probably something with vegetarian spaghetti bolognese`, which is called spagbol by those who are in a hurry.

Most of the people I speak to take no more than ten minutes to cook their dinner and no more than ten minutes to eat it. Paul (20) will use those ten minutes to prepare stir fried chicken and noodles for himself and his friends. Helen (20) takes a little longer to cook. She is vegetarian and lives with her boyfriend who eats meat. But since he doesn`t know how to cook, Helen usually cooks two different dishes. Tonight, it will be lasagna from the oven, constructed from separate ingredients. She expects the preparation to take about one hour. `I don`t mind, because I like cooking`, she explains. Dinner will be enjoyed around the table, but with the television on.

Laura (19) straightaway admits that she cannot cook. Her meal for tonight will be pub food, which can be any basic piece of meat or fish with chips. Her favourite food is tuna sandwich, but tonight is one of the two or three social days of the week. After dinner she will go to the cinema with the same people she had dinner with.

Regular patterns
Derek (23, photo) tells me that, in spite of what most people were telling me today, are getting more aware of the need of healthy meals. Product advertisements and information on packaging has become much more precise and detailed, allowing everybody to take in the necessary amount of vitamins, not too much fat and more importantly nowadays, the right type of fat. For those who cannot get it all in via their regular meals, there are supplements for about everything and they are very popular: Creatine Caps, Amino Tablets, Cod Liver Tablets, Vitamin Supplements, you name it.

Food supplements and fast food seem to be more readily available than fruit and vegetables, probably because people prefer to read `deli`, `jummy` or `indulge` on their meals. Add the preoccupation for drinking to it, the demotivated approach to sports. You will then understand why Britain is scared of having to deal with even more health problems in the future.

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