Postcard from the (food) desert

I write with some alarming news. Fresh food shortages facing east Yorkshire threaten this blog – well food shortages and lack of internet access threaten the amount of blogging I can currently manage anyway.
Having being based for the past week in the small town of Howden I can this weekend report on the culinary disaster that faces its inhabitants. From the deep-fried breakfast bacon to the supplies of only processed vegetables, this town seems to be in the grip of an anti-Jamie Oliver backlash.
But what is it all about? The place is surrounded by good agricultural land, near a major fishing area and a food-producing part of the economy of this country – so why no fresh local produce?
My request for fish “without batter or breadcrumbs” was first greeted with blank stares before being assured that there was no call “for that sort of thing”. A plea from a colleague for potatoes rather than chips, fries or wedges was received like a request for knitted swimsuits and the chance of getting anything “organic” or “free-range”? Sorry which country do you come from?
Faced with this freezer-to-microwave version of hell, some of my fellow students on a training course in this unlikely location seem to think this is a “northern thing”. It’s like screaming into the night to try and persuade these southerners that not everywhere is like this in the north – or even in Yorkshire for that matter.
But sadly that’s the impression vistors will get as long as we all put up with these pockets of hopelessness.
So I’m heading back to Howden for a second week determined to find something edible – if only so that I can forcefeed any southern-based journalists I encounter in a (probably futile) bid to give us in the north a decent press when they return to their bases.
My life through food will be continuing on my return but, in the meantime, please post any recommendations for good restaurants in the east Yorkshire area here.

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