Select: some of the best food stories of 2016

A selection box of surprising snippets, little known facts and tasty morsels

 

Select, Aoife McElwain’s weekly column in The Ticket every Friday, gave us plenty of food for thought in 2016, investigating food culture and tradition and unearthing plentiful nuggets of fascinating information.

In March, we learned the story behind corned beef and cabbage on St Patrick’s Day, and why millions of Americans erroneously believe that dish is Ireland on a plate, and yet nobody would dream of serving it here on our national day.

Misleading food labelling has been a recurring theme throughout 2016. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland in September issued guidelines on food labelling, specifically the use of the words artisan/artisnal, farmhouse, traditional and natural. But there are still far too many fake farms in supermarket food labelling, and back in April McElwain drew attention to the issue, with a column on emotional food branding.

How Tony the Tiger and the Honey Monster sweet-talked us into breakfast, delved in to the origins of the cartoon characters that draw millions of children to the (sugar-laden) breakfast table. And during Food Month at The Irish Times, McElwain revealed how Coco Pops support her mental health.

In August, McElwain drew attention to studies that suggested that the type of music playing in a restaurant might affect the amount of money we spend on food and drink. Jazz, it seems, tends to loosen the purse strings most effectively.

Supermarket psychology, and how retailers get us to spend more prompted the confession that the writer is “a supermarket designer’s dream customer”, as, like many of us, she is susceptible to the subtle and not so subtle tactics employed.

Perhaps the most glorious Select food fact of the year came in Trump’s KFC bucket and the politics of eating. But it wasn’t the bronzed one’s love of a family-sized bucket, nor his habit of eating steak so well done it “would rock on the plate” that raised eyebrows. No, that distinction went to George Bush Sr, and the unfortunate story of “the only documented time a US president has ever vomited on a foreign dignitary”.

Moving swiftly along ... take a look back at last suppers and death row meals, including one for a single olive, pit included. And if ever you find yourself staring down the long arm of the law, you could perhaps opt for an “I was hangry” plea. It’s a real thing, you know.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.