There is a deep irony in the fact that, as we become ever more fascinated by food, by cookery, and as we reach deeper understandings of the impact diet has on life-long health, basic cookery skills are not as universal as they once were. The reasons are myriad: Too many of us do not have the time or energy to cook, parents cannot pass on skills they do not have, and one-stop shopping almost always limits options in a kitchen.
Convenience food — or junk food, if you prefer — is a brick, if not a cornerstone, in our food culture, and no matter how that truth is sweetened, our consumption of food cooked by someone else constantly grows, especially in urban areas.
Some of this food is not bad, but too much of it is health-threatening, life-limiting, and, if not addictive, then powerfully habit-forming. Therefore, it is hard to understand why government agencies are not more active, more intrusive, in managing this evolution.
The Irish Heart Foundation has recognised this and opposed plans to build a fast-food outlet in north Dublin.
The charity wants overturned a decision by Fingal County Council to approve a 125-seater outlet within 300m of a national school. The IHF should not have to take this action.
Legislation should preclude the building of fast-food restaurants within a set distance of any school, at least a 10-minute walk away. After all, there’s not much point in educating a child if we do not step in to challenge threats to their health.