The Delia effect

Small bowl of salad (green leaves, carrots and purple radish sprouts)

When Delia spoke to the masses and decreed the poor can eat battery-farmed chickens, did their sales rise?

The “Delia effect” describes the unprecedented sale of certain ingredients after being recommended by TV cook Delia Smith. Her influence is so vast that “Delia” has entered the dictionary.

I am pleased to report that sales for free-range poultry have soared.

This follows the high-profile campaign on TV’s Channel 4 by two other famous cooks, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver. They called for higher standards of chicken welfare for all concerned, chickens and their eaters alike.

Sales of free-range poultry rose by 35 per cent in January (compared with January 2007) while sales of standard indoor birds fell by 7 per cent, according to market research company TNS. In response, Tesco doubled its order for higher-welfare chickens.

I mentioned what Delia said to my hairdresser.

Sharp intake of breath. “How can it ever be alright to eat a battery-farmed chicken?” she said.

Listen, she is an apprentice hairdresser so it was gratifying to hear being short of cash does not mean skimping on food quality.

Of course, you have to be a bit canny and cook from scratch. But that’s how most people in the world eat, and why so-called peasant food (such as pasta dishes, stews, curries) tastes so good.

Today’s picture is of a salad made by Chloe, with organic leaves, grated carrots and sprouting radish, that accompanied brown rice and lentils with fried onions, mushrooms and egg, that her dad Mike made. (PS the vase may be corporate but the beans were organic).

This princely meal that cost us about £1.50 each. I rest my case.

2 responses to “The Delia effect

  1. Mercedes Núñez

    Hi Elisabeth
    Have just discovered your page, absolutely great! I want to aplaud your hairdresser (I’ve heard her profession is in the top ten for happiness) Common sense and compassion for living beings are fantastic ingredients for happiness, as is what you put in your belly. I’ve always been amazed how British people, who profess to love animals so much, can be happy to eat factory farmed animals, there is enough information out there to know how hellish their sad short lives are.
    Let’s hope the younger generation continues to get inspired by dynamic earthy cooks who use real, ethical and locally sourced ingredients and give the likes of Delia’s sterile packets and sad souless tinned meats a very wide bearth. I certainly shall!



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