Monday, 18 February 2013

Progress sometimes means going back to basics

I am reasonably au fait with history I know that things change of the course of time and as we progress things get better. Well that is the concept we all strive for the gold standard so to speak. There was a time as a new parent I could not put a clean nappy
on our daughter but with practice I improved and I never speared her with those enormous nappy pins and even now years latter I could change a terry nappy. We have three children and I must say for our last born things were to be much different. Firstly he was a male of the species but nappy wise he never knew the great lump of terry towelling, trends had changed he had disposable nappy’s. This was progress no more buckets full of Milton solution no lines full of pristine white nappy’s hand washed in Lux soap flakes, that was progress and costs off set by time saved. The nappy illustration can be repeated time and time again over the recent history with new innovations making life easier for families.
Bringing us bang up to date the here and now our latest time saving devices are ready meals. Now you all know where I am going don’t you, yep “I am off and on about horses chasing round a plate or across Europe”. No I am not going to decry ready meals what I am going to say is not all progress is good for you. I cannot remember much about my early life but we did not have electricity so even if they had been available in the early 1960’s my mum had no way of storing a findus lasagne or birds eye burgers. If we had meat it was delivered fresh from the butchers, I can still remember Alfie the deliveryman, we knew the butcher my dad saw him at the livestock market buying his beef  as my dad sold his lambs. A.J. Barkaway is a family run butchers. I know Chris the son who now runs the show. I can remember at Christmas time they used to buy show winning bullocks and the local newspaper would have a photo of the beast and its rosette ‘best in show’. That Bullock was born in Kent the furthest it traveled was to the livestock show and from there to the abattoir and then onto AJ Barkaways family Butcher. If that beast moved more than  fifty miles from the time it was born to the time it ended up on the plate I would be amazed. Not as amazed as I am at the distance beef is traveling fifty years later.
 But real butchers like Chris Barkaway don’t chase around the continent to get their stock. Chris buys his beef from a farmer near Pluckley in Kent the animals then go to a small slaughterhouse in nearby Bethersden. I spoke to Chris and he told me he has always been keen on food miles and is proud he sells locally reared meat the same as his father did. He is the fifth generation of Barkaways all butchers all selling first class meat to local customers.
The reason I have written this post is not as an advertisement to A.J.BARKAWAY but as a warning. A warning, use the services of people like Chris. He and butchers like him can trace the source of their beef. They can advise you what to use and you can ask them how to cook it. They want you to come back again and again and will advise you how to make your own ready meals from scratch with the finest quality meat. We have forgotten the skills our parents had! Sometimes progress means looking to the past and doing thinks the old way, the right way.


  1. Great post Don! I am so glad to hear of family run places like Chris' and sad to say we don't have any here, but I would drive an extra few miles if we did.

  2. Great post Don! I am so glad to hear of family run places like Chris' and sad to say we don't have any here, but I would drive an extra few miles if we did.

  3. Or alternatively you can become a vegetarian, just like more and more young people these days.


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