New book is food for thought

Just Regional
May 12, 2020 3 mins read

“I’m not a writer, I’m just interested in stuff,” says Judith Ellis.

But the former North Walsham vet, who lives in Aylsham, has just written her third book – this time on the things we eat and what goes into our food. And she hopes it will raise money to help local foodbanks.

“I have written two books, both on maritime history, but this is called The Red Herring Book of Food Facts,” she said.

Diagnosed with pancreatic problems which meant she had to stick to a low-fat diet, she started to look into food on the supermarket shelves, finding out more about the ingredients and what any health claims actually mean.

“I’m one of those people who is a bit of a nerd at heart and I like to get to the heart of a subject and learn all about it. I’m never happier than when I’m learning.”

Judith Ellis, who has written a book about our food and what goes into it.

She has put this interest into a small, but fascinating, book which delves into the language of food labelling – “something could say it’s reduced fat but all they’ve done is go from 40 to 30pc”; the dairy products – “yogurt, crème fraiche, fromage frais, quark … what are they all?”; cooking oils – “what some of them give off when heated”; and other areas of our food and health including the difference between allergies and intolerance.

“It’s about proteins, and carbs, allergies and intolerances – all the things that we eat every day but don’t always know exactly what it is.

“A lot of the information out there is misleading. A lot of people think they are eating healthily but they are being misled.

“I am interested in the science behind this,” said Judith. “Talking to friends, I was amazed how many of them, all educated intelligent people, didn’t know all this. I had to find out.”

Initially she planned to print off a few copies for family and friends but in the end, with many of us turning our hands to home cooking more and more during the lockdown, she has had it printed by Barnwell Print, of Aylsham, to raise money for the Trussell Trust, which provides foodbanks for families in need.

“When I looked at the figures of people using foodbanks I thought ‘why not try to make some money for them at the same time?’. If it does take off, I would love to expand it with other contributions.”

The book has only 54 pages, so it is quick to read, and it has been illustrated by Janine Pope, with little red herrings popping up throughout. The cover was designed by Niki Medlik.

Judith hopes that the book will be picked up by food shops and independent supermarkets and put on sale locally, but in the meantime, it can be bought online for £6.50 including postage (£5 without).

To buy it or to inquire about stocking it, visit www.thebookstudio.co.uk.

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