food & drink

The Brexit diet

The Spanish are no different from other Europeans, so it gives them a shot of Schadenfreude when they hear about Britain's difficulties extracting itself from the European Union.

It is incomprehensible to them how what they, and most of the world, always considered to be 'The Mother of Parliaments', could find itself in such a mess.

However, what makes them shake their heads in sheer amazement is the apparent inclination of many island dwellers to cut all ties with the EU at whatever cost.

If the country were self-supporting in food, it may be different, but since 60% is imported - and most of that from Europe - where is Britain supposed to turn? It seems that most supporters of a hard Brexit have little idea of the mechanism that puts food on their tables.

A hard Brexit, reason Spaniards, means that the cost of imported food will increase, in some cases putting certain things out of reach for many people. The only option will be to increase the production of home-grown items, even though this is not the complete answer.

Britain has more than enough dairy products to survive, and hopefully cheese makers will start replicating continental varieties. Bread will never be in short supply, nor will lamb, although mutton will make a comeback out of necessity. The chicken, beef and pork normally seen in the shops is a mix of imported and home-grown that has traditionally resulted in a wide selection, so the most likely outcome is that the British would have to start learning how to enjoy some of the less desirable cuts of meat that were previously exported.

Most of the cod comes from Norway and Iceland, although hopefully the post-EU extended fishing zone should compensate for any supply difficulties.

Most shellfish currently goes to the continent, so that will in the future have to be consumed at home. No hardship there.

Potatoes and eggs will never run short, but broccoli and many vegetables, such as tomatoes (now nearly all foreign-grown), would only be in the shops when in season. Likewise strawberries and raspberries.

Imports of wine would reduce because of price increases, but beer and whisky are assured for life.