The 10 worst food crimes

All of these fall under the banner, ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’. These are not foods i simply dislike – the list would be much longer – these are an affront to what food should be. There is no reason for any of these, to be anything other than a memory.

Instant tea granules

I can see the allure of instant coffee, no more faffing with coffee grinds, filters and endess paraphernalia, but instant tea? You need something more instant than a tea bag? Really? How pushed for time are you? Can’t we all agree that the teabag is pretty much all we need when it comes to tea technology. Good, now let’s move on and never speak of this powdered poo-in-a-jar again.

Overcooked pasta

Occasionally, very occasionally, people can be forgiven for taking their eye off the cooking ball, and ruining a meal through negligence. Is there any real excuse to overcook The Easiest Food In The World To Cook™ though? Pasta [dried, not poncy middle-class fresh] takes between 8-12 mins to cook, depending on shape, is that really too long a time to spend in front of the stove?

Sampling a piece every couple of minutes, is all you have to do to prevent a wonderful, sensual food stuff from becoming like wet toilet paper.

Meat substitutes

I’m not a huge fan of selective eating. I believe the less we cut out of our diet and the more we mess with the remaining food, the worse off we are. Which is why ‘fake’ meat troubles me so much. If you don’t eat meat, then why would you want something that pretends to be meat, especially when it’s been processed, to within an inch of its existence, to look like meat? If you abstain from animal flesh on the grounds of health, I can promise you that eating heavily coloured and flavoured shaped soy protein isn’t going to be any better for you. If you abstain due to ethical reasons and you eat it, then you’re just weird!


Do you know what carob is? Apart from being ‘the stuff they use in health food shops’? It’s a pod of a tree that’s dried and ground up and owing to its slightly sweet nature they use as a chocolate substitute. Why? Unless you’re a dog, it’s no better for you than chocolate? Even vegans can eat chocolate, and if they can eat it, anyone can! Carob may have had a place in the ancient world, but then so did slaves and building pyramids. We’ve moved on to freedom, obituaries in the newspaper and delicious melt-in-the-mouth chocolate.

The beans of the pod are called locust beans as in locust bean gum – just incase you’d ever looked at a label and wondered how many beans there were in a locust.

Instant mashed potato

This country is blessed in many ways. Whilst we may not have terraces of olive trees, or be able to pluck a mango from a branch, at the point of perfect ripeness, we do grow a mean spud! Not just a few, no – millions of tonnes of the little buggers. Given this fact, along with, being able to buy this particular British crop all year round and it’s relative low cost, why do we even make instant mashed potato? What signals do you give out, when you promote people’s laziness as a strength? Too lazy to peel a potato and pop it in boiling water? Want to eat something with the texture of mud and the taste wallpaper paste? Have we got the very thing for you!

It’s shit. I’m afraid, that’s the only word for it.

Caffeine free Diet Coke

Diet Coke – nutritionally bankrupt, it’s only saving grace, the small amount of caffeine and the sensation of drinking out of a cold can. Caffeine free Diet Coke – nada, zip, zilch, nothing. They have finally found a way of taking ALL the fun out of drinking pop. To drink CFDC is to announce to the world that you don’t care anymore, that you have lost any ability to separate the pointless from the worthwhile and the mundane from the extraordinary.


When it comes to chickens, mankind has shown its agricultural vulgar side. Once the preserve of a Sunday treat, it’s become so ubiquitous that people have all but forgotten that it was once an animal. The production methods are wrong, the breeding methods are wrong and anyone who ever buys chicken, that isn’t at least free-range, is wrong.

Microwave burgers

If something takes 30 seconds to cook, there is nothing more that needs to be said.

Chocolate flavoured coating

Something happened after the war, when British food slowly rebuilt itself from the ruins of rationing. Steps were put in place to introduce new technologies, to make the most of readily available ingredients, whilst the world got back to normal. Everything ticked along nicely and people slowly became more adventurous, using exotic ingredients to replace the replacements. Everything had it’s natural, built in obsolescence. Except chocolate flavoured coating! This amalgam of vegetable oil and cocoa should have died along time ago, but it’s still there – taking up valuable shelf space and dishing out disappointment in equal measures.

Pineapple on pizza

If you sliced carpaccio-thin sections of fresh pineapple and steeped them in contrasting and exotic flavours, then used them as the only topping on hand made dough, I would think you’re making an effort to be interesting and different. But, open a tin of chunks and bung them on a flaccid, insipid, tasteless disc of chewy-cheese topped dough, and I won’t be hiding my disdane. There is no reason to put pineapple on pizza, in fact I’ll go as far as say all fruit should be banned from the list of toppings. I know tomato is a fruit and I include that too!

15 comments on “The 10 worst food crimes”

  1. Nicholas Buckland's comment - added on 26th of March, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    You had me at every point screaming “Yes!!!” in agreement at my iPhone and then you had to trip up and fumble at the finish line. Pineapple is sometimes (although not always) welcome on a pizza. A refreshing juxtaposition of taste to counter balance some salty ham! (much in the same way that French Toast with maple syrup should ALWAYS have bacon on it – try it, you’ll experience a taste sensation)

  2. Ben's comment - added on 27th of March, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Surely with meat substitutes the only thing that matters is if you like them? I have often noticed this habit of meat-eaters insisting on telling vegetarians what they should and shouldn’t eat if they want to be consistent as if they somehow have earned the right to issue edicts on the topic. I hate quorn but love Cauldron sausages. They taste like sausages (nicer in my opinion as they don’t contain fat or gristle) and that’s great because I liked sausages. The reason I stopped eating them wasn’t because I disliked them but because my liking them wasn’t enough reason to turn away from the process of supplying them to my plate. The bonus of non-meat sausages is they don’t involve an ingredient taken from an animal that suffered great fear and pain in order to indulge my trivial preference for consuming its flesh. Why should that bother you so much? And why is it weird?

  3. benD's comment - added on 27th of March, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks for the comment Ben, I’ll see if I can deal with your queries.
    I’m not in the habit of telling people what they should or shouldn’t eat, my opinions are just that, opinions. I feel the same about meat substitutes as I do about instant tea and pineapple on pizza, which is not to say that people can’t or don’t enjoy them, just that I find them an affront to ‘real’ food. Eating meat is a personal choice, one that humans have been making for over 80,000 years, and, as touched upon in my Chicken entry, I don’t agree with intensively reared meat and personally believe that it is an (ultimately) unsustainable system. Also I have problems with foodstuffs that are over processed, and believe that the more you process the ingredients, the worse they are for you.
    As for why is it weird? I’m always bemused to why people want to consume things that pretend to be something else? Artificial sweetener, alcohol free beer, crabsticks etc. But maybe that’s just me!

  4. Ben's comment - added on 27th of March, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I suppose it’s because my only objection to sausages is that they contain animal flesh and not their taste per se which I always enjoyed greatly in my meat-eating days. So if I find something that tastes quite like a sausage but doesn’t have that fundamental moral problem for me then I’m pretty happy. If somebody likes the taste of beer but doesn’t want to get drunk it seems quite sensible to drink alcohol free beer. OK, you can have crabsticks. For me – and I’m trying very hard not to sound like the classic preachy vegetarian – it is far weirder to deny a creature liberty and life and inflict suffering and pain upon it for something as trivial as liking the taste of its flesh when there are so many delicious alternatives. I don’t think we’ll ever agree there but thanks at least for the courtesy of your response. I will leave you with one thing though. Big Macs? Burger Kings? I think the process of producing those kind of leaves weird in the starting blocks.

  5. sophie dakin's comment - added on 31st of March, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    caffeine free diet coke is a drink not a food. just to be pedantic. surely if you are going to include drinks, soya milk is right up there.

  6. sophie dakin's comment - added on 31st of March, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    regarding the whole denying an animal the right to life and liberty thing. being a vegetarian is actually the most pointless thing in the world. either eat animal products or be a vegan, being a vegetarian but still eating eggs and (far worse) drinking milk is just a futile exercise in feeling virtuous. just saying.

  7. Ben's comment - added on 2nd of April, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I don’t drink milk or eat milk-based products, sophie, because as you say it is probably as cruel as the meat industry. In fact free-range meat probably causes less suffering than that endured by dairy cows. I actually like (sweetened) soya milk on cereal – what can I say? But your argument still strikes me as really absurd. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing (it can probably never be) but I have only admiration for people who make at least SOME effort to take the suffering of other sentient beings into account when making food choices. Your approach is tantamount to be saying if you can’t be perfect you might as well not bother trying to be better at all which we wouldn’t accept in many other areas where moral choices are involved. Instant mashed potato is a crime worse than eating cute little baby lambs while they’re still alive though. I’ve never drunk powdered tea.

  8. Ben's comment - added on 2nd of April, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Having said that my kids Easter Eggs are all lined up and it’s all I can do not to rip off the shiny wrappers and snap off that brilliantly curved sweet milk chocolate!!! It was always my favourite kind of chocolate because of the differences in shape and width I think especially around the seam of the egg – feeling virtuous palls in comparison I can assure you.

  9. PinkPatentMaryJanes's comment - added on 6th of April, 2010 at 9:57 am

    You know, I just had to check in the tea and coffee section of my local supermarket just in case an atrocity such as tea granules had actually made it onto Aussie shelves. Phew, not as yet. What a horrifying concept!

  10. sophie dakin's comment - added on 6th of April, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    my point is that if people still drink milk which is an industry that causes untold pain and suffering on animals, why try and be morally superior by not eating their flesh? not a really absurd argument at all actually, just pointing out the hypocrisy of moral vegetarianism. nothing i said infers that if you can’t be perfect don’t bother, people should just think their choices through fully. on that note.. love your consideration foranimals but maybe do a bit if research on how environmentally and people friendly soya milk is? and i am curious..which other moral choices in life would you compare not eating meat to?

  11. Ben's comment - added on 6th of April, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I don’t know, I guess your argument rests on a premise that you present as a fact – namely that all vegetarians are trying to be morally superior. Your all-or-nothing argument is one that is adopted both by meat-eaters and vegans alike and I don’t really share it. If you think, for example, that our treatment of chickens, calves and sows is particularly scandalous and choose not to eat them as a result, I don’t think the fact that you may not be 100% consistent and still wear leather or drink milk invalidates that decision. I don’t (usually, see below!) eat milk-based products but I do eat organic eggs even though I know there are still some issues involved that make me uncomfortable but are not nearly as great as our horrific treatment of pigs for example. I also know that there are environmental issues with soy milk but when I compare the small amount I drink to the suffering inflicted by the dairy industry I can kind of live with that. We all make some compromises – I see nothing hypocritical per se in somebody who at least tries to reduce the amount of suffering they cause. I’d prefer people not to eat chickens at all but I wouldn’t condemn as a hypocrite somebody who drew the line at factory farmed chicken and would say they were making an important contribution to reducing suffering if they only buy free range. But then I ate a bit of Easter Egg so I’m going to hell with the cheeseburger crew.

  12. Ben's comment - added on 6th of April, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Although I would agree that I personally would find it odd if somebody refused to eat shellfish but would still drink milk. That doesn’t make much sense.

  13. sophie dakin's comment - added on 7th of April, 2010 at 9:09 am

    i don’t think all vegetarians are trying to be morally superior at all, as i said before i am just trying to make people think about their choices.

  14. Ben's comment - added on 7th of April, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Oh right. It’s just that you mentioned them feeling (unjustifiably) morally superior in each of your posts. Out of curiosity are you a meat-eater or a vegan? I agree about thinking about choices. Personally, and not wishing to offend the creator of this witty and entertaining blog (fine for you to do that – your sibling perogative) I think eating factory-famed meat (which all flesh-eaters do in spite of their protestations about happy meat) is to particpate in an enterprise of such enormous and unnecessary cruelty – from the separation of infants from their mothers to their transportation and ultimate death – that I find it really alarming how so many nice, sensitive and kind people that I know can be so utterly unmoved by it and deploy either indifference or mockery as their stock responses.

  15. Debbie's comment - added on 8th of May, 2014 at 5:39 am

    And I have been searching for instant tea and cannot find it anywhere. I have come across a recipe to make my own chai latte and it calls for instant tea. I just wish I could find it!