You've gotta love BBC3. It gives us Brits the chance to watch comedy messiah Seth Macfarlane's cartoon sitcoms Family Guy and American Dad, and it introduced us to the ultimate in make-over shows - Snog, Marry, Avoid? If ever there was a programme of contradictions, this is it. Bucket-loads of fake tan, miles of hair extensions and hundreds of pairs of eyelashes nestle alongside minimalistic ensembles, we're talking little more than nipple tassels and a thong here. At least what they spend on fakery they save on clothing bills!
The last couple of years have seen the introduction of some more hard-hitting shows, taking an investigative approach to current issues. Last year, the strong-stomached Julia Bradbury took six volunteers to witness the journey that farm animals make to our plate, to see if an awareness of the processes involved in turning a living creature into a hunk of meat impacted on their beliefs and lifestyle choices. Kill it, cook it, eat it made for an interesting watch, and although I am a die-hard meat-eater, it did made me consider the history behind the food I so often consumed. Although I would love to buy produce that is free-range, or which states that every care has been taken to ensure the animal lived a happy life and was killed in a humane way, the reality is that being a student, price is the number one factor when it comes to food shopping. When I'm in a better financial situation and can afford to splash a little more cash on stocking up the larder, I will definitely make an effort to buy better quality meat, which I can enjoy without any moral qualms. While I do temporarily have urges to ditch the carnivorous diet entirely, I never feel entirely satisfied with a meal unless there is an element of meat in it. Salad, just a healthy snack, add a bit of chicken and I can justify that as a meal. I can't see myself ever becoming a veggie. I need the extra protein in my life!
The second series of the show, Kill it, cut it, use it, focusses on what happens to the stuff we don't eat. So after the butcher supplies us from those delectable lamb chops and beef burgers, and we buy our leather handbags and sheepskin boots, what happens to the bits that haven't been used? This programme answers this question in an honest (and at times gruesome) way.
Last week's programme focussed on the cow. Besides from leather, there are a whole range of products that I never would have guess come from our humble farm friend. For instance, if you're excited for Wimbledon then you may be interested to know that tennis rackets are strung with strings made from cow guts. I guess they do have four stomachs, so have some to spare...
We all know that a McDonald's can be a life-saver after a night out but cows really do play a part in saving our lives, as a protein from their hooves is used in the foam which puts out fires. So we don't end up barbecued, instead of the sausages.
This week we got to see how Ba Ba Black Sheep's bits are used in a variety of weird and wacky ways. The rise of the (dreaded) Ugg boot has seen sheepskin adorning the feet of women and men across the globe. And we all know how comforting a wooly blanket can be, especially on miserable rainy evenings like this one. More surprisingly is that when we lather ourselves in moisturiser we are actually rubbing wool-grease into our skin. Even more shocking is that most fabric conditioners, soaps and detergents contain 'Lanalin', an extract from crushed and heated sheep remnants. Including the heads. So next time you put a load on, imaging the happy face of a little lamby staring back at you. Surely enough to put anyone off doing their washing! (Hint hint mum, I refuse to do laundry any more on a moral basis)
There's a lot more to be learned from this show, recommended viewing after dinner, definitely not during.
It's terrible how far removed we are from our food, we pick it up from the supermarket in a neat little package, free of any gory blood or guts to deal with. More people should be educated on exactly where their food comes from, so they can make a fully informed choice about what they choose to put in their mouths, and so that they don't take for granted what they have. I am glad to see that we aren't just wasting the bi-products that come from our meat, and it's amazing to discover all the everyday items that comes from a humble cow or sheep. In such a wasteful society, it's nice to know that there are some elements in which we are being resourceful and considerate with.
Next week - pigs! Hmm, bacon sandwich time me thinks...
This picture made me LOL