The Hemsley Sisters Talk To Us About Sugar, Good Fats And Cowspiracy
The Debrief: 'We’re not telling anyone to do anything they don’t want to do we’re just telling people that good food can be really uncomplicated.’ Say Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley
Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, the delightfully sunny, healthy food sister ladies who made us all buy spiralizers last year, are back.
Their return comes as my spiralizer makes it's return to the back of the junk draw after it spiralized a healthy chunk of my thumb into my corgetti. Dick move spiralizer, dick move.
Now, following their second successful book, the Hemsley sisters have their own telly show. It’s on Channel 4 and it’s kicking off this evening. It's great and basically consists of the sisters making their delicious dishes for their equally delicious friends and family, talking to their delicious food suppliers and chef friends whilst hanging out in the kitchen of your dreams surrounded on all sides by more on point houseplants than you can shake your delicious stick at.
‘Haha, it’s not OURS!’ Says Jasmine, the older of the two, when I compliment her on the marvellous kitchen. ‘It’s a bit bigger than both of ours!’ She laughs and I realise that phew, just like you and me, the Hemsley sisters have fallen prey to the curse of the teeny tiny city-dwellers kitchen. The houseplants though? The houseplants are theirs. Excellent houseplant game ladies.
The Hemsleys shot to fame back in 2014 when their cookbook, The Art of Eating Well became a number one bestseller. People went bonkers for the sisters' gluten and dairy free lifestyle that makes much of 'good' fats and propelled things like coconut oil and avocados to the top of the A-list food chain.
Their success has not come without criticism. Just last week, fellow chef Ruby Tandoh went on a tirade against the girls, calling them out for what she called 'wellness quackery'.
We spoke to the girls before Ruby's comments were made but they made clear to us that they're proud of the impact they've had in helping people to eat healthily. 'We often have conversations with people and they're like "this is how I should have been eating, no-one's taught me how to cook and I feel like I've been fooled into thinking that cooking and healthy eating is hard, boring and tasteless and misery making." It's a lovely thing to change peoples' opinions of it all.'
'We're not telling anyone to do anything they don't want to do.' They said. 'We're just telling people that good food can be uncomplicated.'
So, what other gems of wisdom from the food world can the girls impart to us?
Hello Hemsley sisters! What the hell can you not believe people are still eating in 2016?
I find it bizarre that kids are still drinking fizzy drinks when we KNOW how bad they are for us! Sugar’s just become this kid’s good that’s eaten in avundance. It’s stopped being a treat and it’s changing the way our tastebuds work and it’s changing the way our energy works. If you’ve got a sweet tooth from eating lots of sweets then maybe green veggies aren’t going to be appealing.
Do you still find people looking at you funny when you talk about good fats?
The fat thing is very funny. We were putting coconut oil in our gorgeous, vegetable, colourful, brght noodle pot and one of our directors couldn’t handle it, she just saw white fat. She was like ‘I KNOW! I just don’t understand! I’ve just been brought up to believe that fat makes you fat!’ That myth is being dispelled now I think we finally understand that good fat is natural fat; whether it’s plant or animal fat it’s got to be as unprocessed as possible.
What’s something foodie you’ve noticed a lot of people paying attention to recently
People are connecting that the cheaper cuts of meat as long as they’re from a good source, are just as delicious for you as leaner meats. I know a lot of people who are very squeamish about anything on the bone or with fat or with skin but with all these nose to tail restaurants in the UK, we’ve got supermarkets promoting the forgotten cuts and things like belly of lamb, lamb shoulder and other stuff which had lost popularity suddenly coming back into fashion.
Where do you stand on documentaries like Cowspiracy that tell us eating meat is troublesome for the environment?
Programmes like that are really important for opening our eyes to what’s going on out there. What we do is find farmers who are raising cattle in the right way, who are using every part of the animal. We waste so much food because of wanting to be perfect so whole batches of fruit and veg are turned away by supermarkets because they’re imperfect and we also know that we waste 50% of the food in our own homes! It’s important to embrace food like chicken livers again and use the slow cooker to make one pots because the meat goes much further. Making bone broth is good too because it’s a good source of pre-digested protein that’s super easy for anybody to digest and it’s made of what usually has been thrown away by butchers.
Feeding cows on grain is just the worst idea. Not only for health and wellbeing of animals and in turn, us, but it doesn’t make environmental sense. It’s extremely damaging as it’s growing huge amounts of crops and turning them into refined flours. We’re destroying acres and acres of rainforest to grow the stuff!
Give us a hack that we can actually use in the kitchen. Like, how can I save fresh herbs because I tried to freeze then and they went to mush. MUSH I tell you.
Don’t freeze them! We’ve been guilty of that too. We just say use the whole lot at once. Just pop it into your blender and turn it into a pesto with any nuts and seeds or anything you’ve got left over. Sometimes it can be parmesan, chedder or a bit of red pepper or garlic. Mix with olive oil and you end up with this lovely jar that keeps in the fridge for about a week if you keep it topped up with olive oil or pop it in the freezer.
Eating Well With Hemsley & Hemsley is on Channel 4 from Monday 9th May at 8PM
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