Should ginger nuts be available on the NHS? | Letters

Although the Treasury select committee wants to move responsibility for UK official statistics from the Cabinet Office to the Treasury (UK policymaking ‘jeopardised by rubbish official statistics’, theguardian.com, 29 February), the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) thinks this is the wrong move. Strengthening the independence of statistics is laudable, but bringing them under the purview of the Treasury would achieve the opposite perception and would be counterproductive for the government. There would be the constant question of whether the Treasury had influenced the figures.Mike HughesChair, RSS national statistics advisory group• Great news about ginger nuts returning to our shelves (Crumbs of comfort after ginger nut famine, 27 February). I am undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and have been craving ginger nuts since my treatment began; also, my sister-in-law is pregnant and needs them to relieve nausea. Should ginger nuts be available on the NHS, and flood protection at the United Biscuits factory in Carlisle be a government priority?Philippa CookBristol Continue...

Is the Sunday roast over – or just getting posher?

The £7 Wetherspoons roast dinner will be served for the last time on Sunday, and sales of roasting joints are declining. But in gastropubs and restaurants, Sunday lunch is the new Saturday nightWhen historians come to pinpoint the decline of British life and its once great institutions, they may not look at the death of the NHS, or the demise of the BBC, but something more imminent: the day Wetherspoons served its last roast dinner. That would be this coming Sunday, by the way.To judge by the reaction on social media, it is a sad state of affairs, and one which even the pub chain’s spokesman doesn’t seem to understand: “It would make more sense to say sales [of Sunday roasts] are plummeting therefore we decided to take it off, but it’s not the case in our pubs,” says Eddie Gershon. The pub company updates its menus a couple of times a year. “Some meals go on, some come off, and the company decided they wanted to concentrate on their core menu that they serve throughout the week, rather than one specific meal that is only served on a Sunday.” Continue...

Is Coronation Street about to turn into a soup opera for healthy eating? | Gareth McLean

Yes, soaps influence our views on issues from sexuality to mental health – but this time there’s a Google-sized obstacle to sneaking fruit and veg plugs into dramasPresumably working on the basis that what’s good for Tracy Barlow is good for thee and me, the government could soon be enlisting Coronation Street residents to help change national attitudes to healthy eating – and help us all live longer and happier lives as a result. Apparently, in an attempt to stave off an advertising ban on junk food before the watershed, commercial broadcasters have offered to “sneak covert plugs for fruit and vegetables into dramas”. Hence, Tracy Barlow might soon be extolling the virtues of cauliflower rice while Gail Potter-Tilsley-Platt-Hillman-McIntyre-Rodwell amorously eyes up aubergines in the corner shop.There are two obvious ironies here. One is that, given the government’s ruthless slashing of the welfare state, stealthy privatisation of the NHS and callous cutting of public services, I sort of assumed that it wanted you and me dead, and was pursuing a venomous vendetta quite at odds with wanting us all to lay off saturated fats and sugar Continue...

BrewDog’s open-source revolution is at the vanguard of postcapitalism

By sharing their recipes, the Scottish-based brewery shows a modern understanding of intellectual property. This approach won’t destroy capitalism, but it does challenge its dynamicsFor me, the beer revolution began early. It was the late 1990s – at a beachside eaterie in Santa Cruz, a gaggle of hacks specialising in the Unix operating system were being plied with sushi and chardonnay. But my friend grabbed my elbow and steered me away from all these distractions towards the deserted bar. There, cool and glinting, was a tap marked Sierra Nevada.Back then, craft beer was utterly and astonishingly new. It was hoppy, it was electric. Somebody had bothered to drain their bank account and tinker with actual hops and malt in their backyard to make it, setting themselves against the power of the vast industrial breweries. Continue...

How to eat: croissants

Tesco’s customers may prefer the straight version, but should you add butter and jam or ham and cheese? Are they best hot or cold, and should you eat one or three? How to Eat is going deep on the croissantTrust us, this blog was scheduled long before the unpleasantness, but given the amount of confusion that a certain supermarket’s decision to straighten a morning pastry has caused, it is timely (indeed, of great relief to the nation) that How to Eat will now definitively settle what constitutes the perfect croissant.Please do not get too twisted up below the line. Ensure you can prove your point. Flaky, pain-ful arguments will not butter-up your fellow contributors. They will make you look like a cronut. Continue...