Anyone who, in an honest spirit of enquiry, has watched many of us eat and drink will have been frightened at the sigh. A large part of the population has become simultaneously gluttonous or rather it chooses terrible things to consume and terrible ways of consuming them. How far should the Government be responsible for the hea1th consequences of its own population' s lack of taste and self-control?
We should not overlook far deeper and more revealing aspects of the national diet, however. Most people prefer not to think about these, because they reveal society in a state of profound decomposition. If you examine the national rubbish, as I do wherever I walk, you discover that it is composed mainly of the wrappings of junk and fast food. We eat on the street to a degree almost unknown anywhere else.
But why should this be? A sociologist told me that half of our homes no longer have a dining table. Flats in which there are no dining tables are also flats in which not much in the way of cooking fresh ingredients goes on. The microwave is the cooker, the saucepan, the casserole dish, and the entire batterie de cuisine in fact; and everyone in the family eats not as a social activity, but almost furtively. Meals are nasty, solitary and short.
In other words, one of the most elementary but important and enjoyable of all social activities, eating together, is now restricted to a considerable proportion of the population.