Foodie Festival Season 2017

It’s food fairs and beer festival season and you know what that means? Yes! A food festival round up.  My favourite and one of the largest in the area is the Banbury Food Fair (Sunday Aug 20, 2017). Food to try, food to buy, drinks of all kinds, demonstrations, games, music, competitions, the floral and produce show … something for everyone. It gets bigger and better each year and admission is free. Seriously, how could you not love this sort of stuff:


And if food festivals are your thing, this whole area is where you want to be for the next few months. Other festivals a mere hop, skip and jump from here:

And because I am not at all bothered by accusations of favouritism, I will wrap up as I began – with the Banbury Food Festival. Wanna get a taste of what it’s like? Check out:

  • What I Learned at Banbury Food Fair 2016: As always, there were samples galore to try. Once we’ve nibbled your way through the first batch of booths, had lunch and then nibbled and snacked our way through the rest – the idea of dinner often never occurs to us. But it’s not all about actually eating. It’s also about chatting with people about the food they have brought, prepped, turned into art or just enjoy. It’s an incredibly social occasion and with over 120 vendors, a day full of cooking demos and foodie’s everywhere – I always learn a lot.
  • Banbury Food Fair 2015 in Photos: Food, people who love food, people who are selling food, talking about food, preparing food. Bliss.
  • Banbury Food Fair 2016 in Photos: Modern Parlance Photos got some behind the scenes time at the demos, snapped the stalls and we got a chance to with the chefs.
  • Dogs of Banbury: Food Fair Edition: because dogs love a day out as well and they really love the smells coming from the various stalls.


I don’t know about you but after all this talk of food festivals, I need something to eat. I’m gonna mark all these on my calendar and raid the fridge. Suggest you all do the same.

Fab Foodies in the Studio!

As you may or may not know, I do a regular segment – Deborah Dishes on Food – for the now monthly ‘Jones on Food and Travel’ show on Banbury’s community radio station, Puritans Radio. This past Monday was particularly Fab Foodie relevant since my segment guest was my co-blogger and peanut butter fiend, Patrick! I’d given him the board outline and timings but little did he know he would be subjected to the new Fabulous Foodie Questionnaire! Check out clip below for his answers. (Runs 30 mins).

If you’d like to listen to the whole show, you can find it as well as previous editions at Jones on Food & Travel at The Banburian.

Social Media-Driven Snacking

I have heard it said that the internet is all about cats. I won’t refute that suggestion – I mean, how could I? Considering how my better half & I pummel everyone with pictures and tales of our felines, to do so would be the HEIGHT of hypocrisy. But in among all the cat memes and LOLcats – there’s a lot of food material as well. And that’s what I am thinking about today – specifically I am thinking about foods that seem to come into being to serve social media.

What do I mean?.

Would freakshakes, for example, been anything more than an isolated incident or a culinary blip if social media didn’t exist? I mean, seriously – apart from being perfect for grabbing attention on Instagram, what have freakshakes got going for them?

I might say the same about those appalling rainbow bagels. I mean, why would you develop such a thing EXCEPT for the visual impact?

So I’m now pondering ways that social media (not just Instagram but the rest too – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, etc.) has has impacted the development of food and food trends. Not just the appalling ones such as freakshaes and rainbow bagels – but things like the craze for macarons? Surely some of that is down to how colourful and beautiful displays of macarons are and how many pictures of them can be found everywhere.

Any thoughts?

Food … in the Eye of the Beholder

Not relevant to anything but I was just struck anew at how absolutely beautiful cocoa pods were.

And that got me thinking about the beauty of food in general. Frequently I see my facebook timeline fill up with art as people try to find a balance for the stress, bad news or uncertainty that the news (endlessly reposted and retweeted before our eyes) can bring. I can see the appeal of that but I’m a food person so I went looking for pictures of food that served the same purpose for me. here are some of what I found.

Black forest pavlova: there’s something almost decadently gothic about it.
Pomegranate seeds: like edible rubies
carrots: in the eye of the beholder

There are so many foods – raw, fresh, whole dishes, presentations, etc – that show just how amazing and breathtaking (as well as delicious) food can be. I’ll be hunting up more soon.


Feb: So Many Food Holidays, So Little Time

February may be a short month but it is in no way short of culinary holidays and foodie observances, including but not limited to:

  • Cherry Month – considering how many types of cherries there are, we may need more than a month to celebrate them all properly. And really, who wouldn’t extra time for cherry pie, cherry sorbet, cherry sundaes, chocolate covered cherries, dried cherries (excellent in summer salads not to mention in trail mix) and cherry preserves. Maybe we should – within National Cherry Month – declare a day for the top 20 or 30 most popular species? Someone get on that, right away! Thanks.


  • National Grapefruit Month – I have a confession. I am not a huge grapefruit fan. I know lots of people are and there are heated debates among them regarding the superiority of pink vs white grapefruit but to me it’s just too sour. I have heard that in South America they are often cooked which renders them a bit sweeter. I may consider trying that this summer. Has anyone else tried it? How is it?

  • Hot Breakfast Month – I know, I know. No one has time for breakfast. Heck, I work at home and even I am hard-pressed to remember when my last hot breakfast was. But I can tell you what it was because when I do hot breakfast at home, it’s because I am craving softly scrambled eggs (the kind that take ages but are so worth it), a well-toasted and thoroughly-buttered (with unsalted butter) plain bagel, shredded potatoes-n-onions and orange juice. Bliss.


  • Macadamia Nut Month – since macadamias are often found in some of my favorite cookies (as in any cooking with chocolate chips in them), I approve heartily of celebrating them. I did wonder if we actually needed a whole month. It seemed to me, in my nutty ignorance, that a day would be more than sufficient – until someone pointed out that macadamia nuts are excellent for the diet (they lower bad cholesterol being high in monounsaturated fatty acids). So, instead of the cookies (which I tend to have around year-long) why not indulge in a handful of macadamias a few times a week for the month. It can’t hurt and it might help. But hey – do not give any to your dogs. Macadamias are toxic to our canine friends.


  • Snack Food Month –a month? With SUCH a wide variety of snack food available for us to enjoy and celebrate, I personally would need a whole year or at least half a year.

Seriously? With all that we may need that leap day every year.





Birthday Lunch

Went out for an early birthday lunch – a significant one at that, the big five-oh – so I didn’t stint myself.

Mushroom risotto, shorthorn ribeye and sticky toffee pudding.

Radio: Food Worth Traveling For

I am quite often found – on a Monday morning – down at the Puritans Radio studio talking with Peter Evan Jones about food on the ‘Jones on Food and Travel’ program. This Monday was no exception and this week the topic was food worth traveling for.  CNN Travel made some bizarre choices – including ketchup (not a food, in my opinion, much less a food worth traveling for), buttered popcorn (another head scratcher) and potato chips (honestly?) which is what prompted this segment.

What food is so good that you would tackle traffic, airport lines and baggage restrictions to reach it? And yes, my better half – I mentioned the tapas from Bar Pinotxo in La Boqueria in Barcelona. 🙂 When do we leave?

If you’re a fan of food and/or travel, the show is on every Monday from 10-12 (UK time) and I will be posting links to the whole program as well as my segments for those who prefer to catch it later on. This week’s whole show can be heard at





Food: To Participate or Watch?

“All of that has led us here, to a strange and mostly uncharted territory where being passionate about food and being passionate about cooking have become two very different things.”

I think the above is true for huge swathes of people who describe themselves and think of themselves as being ‘into food.’ And while I think it is true, I also kinda don’t get it. I recognize the truth of the statement but I don’t understand how one can be TRULY interested in food without being interested in cooking because I’m both.

This doesn’t mean I am a good cook – I’m not. But I am interested in the process and the history of it in addition to being interested in food. I like eating food – hell, let’s face it (and my waistline), I love eating food – but I am interested in MANY things about food. Where it comes from, how it is prepared, how it changes from place to place and time to time, what it represented, etc. I watch cooking shows because of all of that – and frankly, I like watching people cook. At home or on TV. Also – some good tips can be winkled out of them.

Happy Cookie Day

Oh the weather outside is  … well, actually it isn’t frightful at all. It’s rather brisk and chilly, yes. But bright and sunny. Never mind the song then. What else can we talk about? Oooh, it’s December 4th – Cookie Day! We can talk about cookies. What is your favourite cookie? By which I mean either to eat or make (or both).