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Our Food

Programme Run: 4 x 60 Minutes
Production: BBC
First Transmitted: 2001 HD available

An incredible edible journey through the origins of our food. Our landscape, our climate and our history define what we grow and where we grow it. Journalist Giles Coren goes in search of the foods that make us who we are. From the cattle of North Wales that were once walked all the way to London, to sweet toothed Henry VIII's cherries, food is about much more than what we put on our plates.

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Our landscape, our climate and our history define what we grow and where we grow it. In each episode, journalist Giles Coren explores a different corner of the British Isles in search of the foods that make us who we are. From the Black cattle of North Wales that were once walked all the way to London, to the cherries of Kent that can be traced back to a sweet toothed Henry VIII, British food is about so much more than what we put on our plates.

Giles is joined on this journey by botanist James Wong, historian Lucy Worsley, archaeologist Alex Langlands and horticulturalist Alys Fowler. They’ll be discovering how our soils and seas have shaped our tastes and traditions.

Episode One: Norfolk

Local, seasonal foods sit alongside large scale commercial agriculture in a place with no motorway, no high speed rail links and no major airport. Isolation has allowed both tradition and enterprise to thrive. Giles learns to tell the difference between a male and female crab when he gets a taste of life as a Cromer fisherman, while Lucy Worsley uncovers the Mexican past of the traditional turkey. The team also discover how the humble turnip changed the way we farm.

Episode Two: North Wales

Giles and the team head to North Wales, a place defined by nature and harnessed with sheer hard graft. Food here is about making the best of the basics. Giles learns why Welsh Black cattle were once walked hundreds of miles to English markets and discovers that mussel farming can be a very muddy business. Alex Langlands heads to Snowdonia to find out why sheep are one of the few animals to make the most of the mountains. The team also learn about saffron’s place in British history and what makes Welsh sea trout so incredibly special.

Episode Three: Kent

Kent is the garden of England, rich with orchards and fruitful harvests, but it’s also on the doorstep of continental Europe, a source of new tastes and ideas. Giles gets a taste of what British beer was like before the arrival of hops, while Alys Fowler uncovers the real roots of English cherries. The team also discover lavender’s long history as a flavour as well as a fragrance and learn the secret of some mysterious buildings on Romney Marsh.

Episode Four: West of Scotland

Food was once all about survival in the West of Scotland’s wild, remote landscape. Now it’s about exporting that produce to a wider world. Giles learns how the deep sea lochs of the West are perfect for salmon farming. In just forty years Scottish salmon farming has become a billion pound industry. James Wong discovers why the warm, wet climate of the West is so good for wild mushrooms, while the rest of the team find out how potatoes once meant the difference between life and death.

 


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