Facebook 'foodie' groups versus the credit crunch

Article published on May 22, 2009
Article published on May 22, 2009
The world’s most famous social networking site has answers to the crisis which are making a hole in youngsters’ pockets. Plus a recipe for pangasius with peppers in this edition of the biweekly gastronomy column

There is a crunch, and the palate is suffering. You just have to look at Facebook: groups of fans of the eternal favourite Pasta with tuna are going crazy ! Among the groups getting the most hits in Italy are We of the tuna pasta, the refuge of 'those who open the fridge and never find anything, of those who are halfway through the week and have already spent 20 euros (£18) on Runner Pizza or such like'; then there is the very economical pangasius, a fish from Vietnam and Thailand and processed in Europe in the form of a frozen fillet which, according to its detractors in the group I don’t eat pangasius – 'has no greater nutritional value than a glass of water', and hits by fans of the very light (especially on the wallet) – noodles.

Students don’t eat just pasta

There are those who rebel, like the three Mancunian creators of the group More money for students, now. We are tired of eating noodles, or those who look for another way, like the Londoners of Food for students, proud of 'eating in style, and not only beans on toast'. Though strapped for cash, many just give in and throw themselves to the mercy of hypercalorific, but cheap (and let’s admit it – comforting) junk food. 'I eat it until my lips go numb,' confesses Mark from the English group Salty sweet popcorn.

'Is a baguette junk food?'

Even the French are not kidding around: the group Junk food numbers one hundred and enters into collective café littéraire debates like: 'Is a baguette junk food?' Individuals like the daring France, who confesses to the others in the group: 'I love luxury junk food. A good hamburger, a lovingly made kebeb, pizza with tasty toppings; am I maybe a junk food snob?' Less introspective, even if definitely pie-in-the sky, is the tone of the supergroups with over 500, 000 (especially English) fans, like Petition to convince McDonald’s to do home deliveries: 'Imagine, after a night out, getting a warm McDonald’s hamburger directly to your home, instead of the usual soggy pizza or cold chips.'

Constantly spoiling the party for the high calorie devotees is the large tribe of low-fat extremists, advocating anything from yoghurt to alcopops. Temptation is never far away though for those wanting to hit back, such as the Coalition for the low-calorie cheeseburger – the virtual diet version of the right to happiness, and there are those who dream the impossible in the group I wish Nutella had no calories.

Recipe for pangas with peppers for 4

4 pangasius fillets, 2 red peppers, 1 stem of celery, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 200 ml white wine, oil, chopped parsley


Bake the peppers in the oven for twenty minutes

Allow to cool before peeling

Put in a liquidiser with half a glass of oil and some salt until it reaches the consistency of a smooth sauce

Steam cook the pangasius, adding the carrot, celery, onion and the wine to the water

When cooked, serve with the sauce and sprinkle with the chopped parsley

Bon appetit!