The Grain Chain

Archive for June, 2011

Pasta is the world’s favourite food

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Pasta, in all its shapes and sizes, is loved the world over and can now call itself the world’s favourite food. In a global survey by Oxfam, pasta has overtaken other staples such as meat and rice to be the most widely eaten food as it soars in popularity in countries such as Brazil and South Africa.

Italy remains the number one producer and consumer of pasta.

Each region of Italy has its own variations and specialities. The most popular shapes are conchiglie (shells) and farfalle (bow ties).

By Italian law, all pasta made there must use durum wheat. This wheat is different to the wheat grown to make bread flour; having a higher gluten content and typically being more golden in colour hence the yellowy colour of pasta. has a whole section on the science of baking. Aimed at 11-14 year olds this section aims to uncover the science behind the remarkable natural processes involved in making bread rise including the role that gluten plays.

You may also like to indulge in the world’s favourite foodstuff and get cooking. We have a quick, simple, tasty and nutritious recipe for tuna pasta bake that should feed a group of four.

Drought declaration in East of England may reduce crop yields

Friday, June 10th, 2011

A drought will be declared later today (Friday 9 June) in parts of the East Midlands and East Anglia.  The Government says that certain parts of the surrounding areas are experiencing their driest spring conditions since 1990.

The Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, will hold a ‘drought summit’ today involving farmers, water companies, the Met Office, and business and environmental groups to review the impacts of the weather and discuss strategies.

Farmers in the Fens have offered to irrigate crops at night which would reduce evaporation thereby using less water.

The National Farmers’ Union says the drought could reduce yields of wheat and barley in affected areas by up to 20 per cent; but added that this was unlikey to change food prices as these are determined globally. has a number of complementary resources to this story.  They are all free of charge, easy to download and mostly available in an editable format.  Why not explore with your students how their food is grown; how farmers manage productivity today with sustainability tomorrow; the contribution farming makes to the economy; and the UK wheat market.  Housed within two sections on sustainable development, these resources are written for 11-14 and 14-16 age ranges. 

Also, for the 14-16 age group we have developed a podcast where teenager Katie explores food prices and food shortages.

The best things in life really are free

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

A recent survey of more than 2,000 people across the UK found that the simple things in life really are the best.  Laughter was rated the most important pleasure – and it doesn’t cost a penny.  Sharing great food with good friends closely followed with 21 per cent of people describing it as their favourite pleasure.

Here at we aim to please.  Our site is full of easy-to-follow, easy-to-cook and great-to-share recipes for all occassions.  From breakfast and brunch items such as pancakes and summer berry compote; perfect party food including cheese straws and fairy cakes, main meals like the sensational spicy bean burger with coleslaw and delicious desserts like sweet choux buns also offer a range of curriculum linked, free resources which aim to teach children where their food comes from, the nutritional value of grain-based food and the skills required to cook with them. 

Resources are linked to the curriculum in all areas of the UK; and are easily accessible by both subject (geography, design & technology, and science, mathematics etc) and by age range.  Take a look today!