Featuring Max Jones from Up There The Last
Wouldn’t it be a shame if we forgot all about the food conserving techniques of the past? For as long as humankind has existed, the conserving of food has been necessary. But with the arrival of modern supermarkets, we have lost our personal connection to this concept. Where we used to rely on our senses, we now rely on use-by- and sell-by-dates that get given to us by the industry. We have forgotten how to use our basic survival skills.
The upsetting prospect of losing all this knowledge is what drove Max Jones to start his Instagram ‘Up There The Last’. A place where he shares his journey of discovering traditional food conservation techniques, accompanied by his own writing and photography. His reason for capturing these techniques? “Once those centuries of wisdom surrounding food have disappeared, they can never be brought back.”
Learn by doing
Max’s journey starts at a cheese company where he worked as a cheese maturer. After a customer refused to understand why the cheese there was so much more expensive than in the supermarket, he felt out of control of the situation. He understood, but how do you convince others? “I am a person who learns by doing. I decided that it was really important to try and inform people about where real food comes from, because as soon as you know about it, there is a whole other wealth there.” So, he went to the cheese maker in the Alpine meadows to film a video of the process. One that could be shown to customers so they could form their own opinion.
This mindset has now led him to move over to Ireland, following a story about Sally, the last person in the world exclusively smoking wild salmon. She simply refuses to work with farmed fish. “I just went to Ireland in kind of a panic reaction. I wanted to learn as much as I could before she stopped and I wanted to try to get as many people to understand her techniques and knowledge as possible, so that it didn’t disappear.”
He started his Instagram Up There The Last as a way to share conserving techniques and processes like Sally’s salmon with the general public. “It just seemed to make sense to try really hard to maintain any form of tradition, because we are about to lose a good two generations worth of knowledge. We would have to relearn it all. And that’s talking about relearning things that have been happening for thousands of years. That’s terrifying!”