To tackle a conspiracy theory, you have to find it first | Brigid Delaney’s diary

Technology has liberated the spread of information and enabled like-minded people to come together to share their views. But it can make them harder to argue with tooWhen researching my book Wellmania (available in all good book shops, and some bad ones), I spent many months immersed in online fasting communities. Their system of belief was whole, coherent and logical – to them. But their beliefs about toxins, the digestive system, cellular biology and the spread of disease in the body were totally unrelated to the philosophies and findings of modern medicine. And often dangerous. Related: AMA accuses Pete Evans of endangering lives with unscientific health advice Continue...

At parliament, it’s only a matter of time before we are presented with jerk ice-cream | Comment

At Westminster, the culinary options are bleak. You have two choices: heavily subsidised and bad, or chronically overpriced and bad.This, in theory, is the story of my lunch: at one o’clock, I head to the office fridge, retrieve a small Tupperware box containing the remains of last night’s dinner, head over to the office microwave, pop it in for three minutes, and then head outside to enjoy it in the sunshine.Unfortunately, it doesn’t always – the word “always” here can be used interchangeably with the word “ever” – pan out this way. The first hurdle I tend to fall over is last night’s dinner. Continue...

A nice bit of squirrel: should we chow down a diet of invasive species?

Last year, the Shambala festival made headlines by going meat-free. This year, it relaxed the rules for a feast of grey squirrel skewers and crayfish. Should the rest of us follow suit?At Shambala festival, during the hottest bank holiday on record, peace and love is about to turn sour. I am standing next to author Louise Gray, who is here to talk about wild alternatives to mass-produced meat. The cricket brownies are baked; we have been skinning squirrels and marinating them in satay, then decided to unwind by checking out a punk-reggae band in a nearby tent. That is when the singer announces his feelings about her presence there. “Last year this festival was 100% meat- and fish-free. Now they’re saying we should eat pests and squirrels,” he spits. “It’s 2017. If you’re still eating the dead bodies of animals, you need to check your fucking privilege.” The crowd cheers. I am worried we are about to be ethically eaten alive.In the wake of The Ethical Carnivore, her award-winning account of the year she spent eating roadkill and animals she had killed herself, and investigating abattoirs, Gray received death threats and abuse. Images spring to mind of balaclava-clad activists chucking red paint and righteous invective. “If it comes down to it, I am not with you,” I tell her, gallantly. Continue...

Fake off! Meet baking’s masters of illusion cakes

On Tuesday, Channel 4’s first batch of Bake Off contenders wowed Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood with cakes resembling sandwiches and watermelons – but they’re nothing compared with these hyperreal delightsIllusion cakes – cakes that look like something they are not – must have seemed the perfect trick to divert the eye from The Great British Bake Off’s own recasting. (Was it really Bake Off?) Illusion is a burgeoning area of baking, although its practitioners prefer to think of their creations as “hyperrealistic” and themselves as cake artists.Emma Thomas, a “curator of cake” (she is “employed to bring together cakes as you would do art for an art show”), says hyperrealism is a reaction to the tweeness of the sugarcraft movement. You know the kind of thing: cute puppies and friendly mice and sprays of roses. Hyperrealist cake artists don’t do friendly mice. They are more likely, in a nod to early hyperrealist cake artist Debbie Goard, to do dead rats. Continue...