Friday, February 5, 2016

Compost





Welcome all to 2016. Big ish this time as I have been slack.
 
The pic for this issue is of a Sri Lankan egg hopper. The name is a corruption of appam, Hindi for the same thing, usually a toddy-fermented batter of rice made into a bowl shaped pancake and eaten with a variety of things from sweetened milk or coconut milk as a breakfast dish in Tamil Nadu to Syrian Christians in Kerala eating it with a meat stew. In Sri Lanka it’s a breakfast dish often eaten with fish curry and a seeni (sugar and fried onion) sambol. But my interest is in the particularly Sri Lankan variation, the egg hopper (at least I can’t find this variation described for Southern India). To make this, once you have swirled the batter around the bowl shaped hopper pan and set that back on the fire, you crack an egg into the centre and cover the whole as you do when making plain hoppers, so the egg and the batter cook together. Tastes vary as to how firm the egg should be. You then can use a plain hopper to dip into a softer eff a la toast soldiers, or pull the firmer egg hopper apart, or top it with sambol, or fish curry or whatever really.
 
Reading Another Anglo-Indian Cuisine: Te Cousins of Curry, Featuring ‘A Few Nice Pies’  by Blake Perkins in PPC 104 (an article with I have some issues) set me wondering about the origin of this practice. I am trying to think of any other dish that resembles it i.e. one where an egg is cracked directly on to some other substance, not just batter, and cooked with it in this manner. Does anyone have any suggestions?
 
 
Project Boomerang
It’s kicked off well with a robust discussion about this year’s MLA ad for Australia Day which, for those who haven’t caught it, is an action epic featuring Australian SAS type men rescuing Australian’s overseas and bringing them back to share lamb chops on the barbie.
 
If you’ve not seen the critiques, here are a few links:
http://www.adnews.com.au/news/lee-lin-chin-stars-in-mla-s-australia-day-epic
 
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/12/the-real-problem-is-not-the-lamb-ad-but-the-militarisation-of-australian-nationalism
 
http://m.dailylife.com.au/news-and-views/dl-opinion/how-the-australia-day-lamb-ad-contributes-to-everyday-cultural-erasure-20160113-gm5dj5.html
 
In a discussion thread amongst a few of us made the following observations:
Alison -  Speaks to the broader issue of trying to invent tradition.
Colin - I would argue that as an advertisement it works - how many times did they have to pay for TV screenings before it went viral on the net. How many people have viewed the ad and how much is it now costing to be 'aired'.
John - And without getting into all the political and racial arguments, that's the only thing the MLA cares about.
Juan Carlo - Exactly. From that perspective, the ad works and fits well into their strategy of controversial Australia Day ads.
Paul - Agreed, Colin, in terms of its virality, but will it get anyone to put lamb on the bbq if they weren't before or indeed buy any more lamb than they did before at any other time in the year? Love to see what the sales figures show.
And of course, being a dyed in the wool Catholic I look forward to a great campaign around Easter and the munching into the Paschal Lamb :)
John - My contacts in MLA tell me that it works its bum off. Lamb sales leap over the fence.
 
Our discussion took us to curious places as it usually does.
 
From Colin:
While we are in the ad watching mood
 
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bHhCP5ad-zM&ebc=ANyPxKpPhuMa24EZ1QGZpcM8aVhz8As1Udte4QiJd8ndACYTraHpcntQg0PIvGkqvdEmIn80mHhRnWxdnNxHLAAxSB3MMtF_gQ
 
And from Juan Carlo:
On the subject of charcoal and ads, this insight from Ben Grubb: https://twitter.com/bengrubb/status/687441094485737472
So what was the response of others of you?
First taste of chocolate
 
Ta Maria and Ross for the link to this quite delightful and in its quiet way agitprop vid.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEN4hcZutO0&nbsp
 
Cabbage Cores for Sale at Baldor Specialty Foods in New York
 
And thanks for Helen for this story to add to my collection on reducing food waste. I hope these ventures are not just fads but become a permanent part of the industrial scale food chain.
 
‘Baldor’s processing facility Fresh Cuts works with 40–50 types of fruits and vegetables daily. Its workers chop, dice, and peel to create 1,400 different products, such as carrot sticks and shredded Brussels sprouts. At the end of the day, the business is left with copious amounts of organic matter, such as brussel sprout bits, mango peels, and the outermost ring of the onions, which can be tough to eat.
Until very recently, all Baldor’s food waste moved from conveyer belts into large pipes that line the walls and cavernous ceilings of its production facility. All pipes led to a dumpster out back, and all that food waste got trucked at Baldor’s expense to the landfill, where, in the process of decomposing, it would create the dangerous greenhouse gas methane.’
 
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1942810-cabbage-cores-for-sale-at-baldor-specialty-foods-in-new-york/
 
How the Perennial’s Sustainable Mode Will Break the Restaurant Mold.
 
And thanks again to Helen for this link.
 
‘For the ingredients that need a little more room to roam than the West Oakland compound allows, Myint, Leibowitz and Kiyuna have identified local farms that not only raise their livestock in a clean and humane way, but are also on the cutting edge of carbon farming practices that leave the land in better shape than they found it.’
 
http://sf.eater.com/2016/1/19/10784686/the-perennials-san-francisco-opening
 
Fruit and Vegies. Why Do They Cost So Much and Who Gets What
 
No prizes for guessing the answer.
 
‘John Dollisson, chief executive of Apple and Pear Australia, said the average farm-gate price for all apple varieties last year was $2.57/kg while the retail price was $4.20/kg. In terms of profitability, 2015 was one of the worst years on record, with some growers – like some of the valencia growers – unable to cover production costs, he said.
"We want to work with retailers much more closely to develop strategies that ensure a fair share of profits to both growers and retailers and, importantly, a fair price for consumers," he said.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/fruit-and-vegies-why-do-they-cost-so-much-and-who-gets-what-20160115-gm6kf8.html?eid=email:nnn-13omn655-ret_newsl-membereng:nnn-04/11/2013-news_pm-dom-news-nnn-smh-u&campaign_code=13INO009&et_bid=26031996&promote_channel=edmail&mbnr=MTA3Mzk4Njg
 
Farmer’s Market versus Supermarket
 
‘If time, budget – and let’s be honest, weather – allow, the outdoor environment and personal interaction at the farmers market makes shopping more fun than a chore (although you do have to lug what you buy). Local, seasonal, fresh and unprocessed is always best, but at least here in Portland, it’s nice to know that the supermarket is not anathema to eating healthfully and well.’
 
Colin forwarded this to me.  The take home message for me, as I pretty much knew, is that I make choices about buying at the Farmer’s Market for reasons not always to do with the quality of the produce, but for values I can enact in purchasing there. Mind you, I will still never find the variety of vegies in the supermarket up the road to what i find on Hapi’s stall at Addison Road, and certainly will not find the bits and bobs that would otherwise be tossed away or ignored but which Hapi pops into a tray to tempt me with.
 
http://www.pressherald.com/2014/05/11/farmers_market_vs__supermarket_/
 
The lucky country? Social space and community gardens in Australia
 
‘Recent research in Australian cities is telling a different story. Unlike the experiences in Boston and Detroit, forms of alternative food systems (e.g., community gardens) are, for the most part, working within existing neoliberal structures, as opposed to a Lefevbrian appropriation of space... This is particularly the case where local councils have yet to recognise the social use value of space, nor consider it on par with economic use value when making land use decisions. Respondents emphasized that the main barrier to community garden groups in starting up or maintaining established activities was working with local councils. Although some city officials are sympathetic and supportive of neighbourhood efforts to start community gardens on public lands, these are considered as community initiatives and are assessed by officials on a case-by-case basis. In Sydney, such assessments use criteria developed, largely, by planning departments at inner city and suburban local councils.’
 
Hmm...I will have to toss Lefevbre into my next encounter with Marrickville Council. When Marilyn and I suggested to Council some years back now that we would rather have a garden, if not a vegie garden, on our nature strip instead of buffalo grass to replace the concrete they were finally digging up they had no guidelines for what we wanted to do but did ont oppose it as long as we kept the footpath and roadway clear. I guess that counts as ‘working within existing neoliberal structures’ though the Council wouldn’t see it that way. Apparently they now have developed a set of guidelines now for others wanting to do what we did, which is nice to know. Oh, and there is parsley and lemon verbena wilding the garden strip these days too J
 
https://ugecviewpoints.wordpress.com/2016/01/26/the-lucky-country-social-space-and-community-gardens-in-australian-cities/?platform=hootsuite
 
 
The problems with food media that no-one wants to talk about
 
‘Too often an immigrant cuisine is anointed “the next big thing” only after a certain kind of chef comes to the fore who can check the right media-favored boxes: the white guy who spent a year in Laos and already inked a book deal; the hipster with a five-panel Supreme hat whose trio of kimchi is considered “edgy”; the flashy international superstar with a fine-dining pedigree. Even as our tastes broaden, the way we want those stories packaged—along with whom we deem worthy to play the lead role—is still very selective.’
 
I admit I haven’t read a Delicious, or Gourmet in years, and to say I skim through Good Food is to suggest I spend more time on it than I do, and I barely subsribe to any online food media. But then, I don’t expect to get much but fluff from them and I don’t know that we should any more if we ever did. Frankly I get more interesting foodway writing from New Scientist, the Guardian daily and at times The Conversation.
 
Ta to Colin for this link
 
http://firstwefeast.com/eat/problems-with-food-media/
 
Ten Bush Foods e book by Kado Muir
 
Ta to Colin again for the link to this nice little book J
 
http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fus2.campaign-archive2.com%2F%3Fu%3D0c2ce4420879d11b5be9b47b9%26id%3Dff72bdea3c&h=PAQFRBRCr&s=1
 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Compost



Suddenly there are three upmarketed pub within ten minutes walk of me. Well, the pubs have been there all the time I have been here but in the past year each has gone through major makeovers to attract the increasingly younger, childed families now in the area, and young craft beer heads.

They have also all upped the ante on pub food but without going the whole gastropub route. The pic above if from West Village which used to be the White Cockatoo. It's called a Stockman's Board, and yes, it's a remodelled ploughman's lunch.

As Adelaide swelters, South Australian man cooks a steak in his Holden Monaro
Couldn’t resist kicking of this holiday Compost with this. John Newtown, does this finally meet your criteria for an Australian food invention J


The secret ingredient in Geoff Beattie’s rich dark fruit cake
‘Geoff looks up once more to that face in the portrait on his wall. “I believe she sees it,” he says. “I believe she sees everything we do in this house. She sees us here. She sees everything I make. She sees everything I do.” And his secret is here. For 24 years he’s been cooking for her. It’s always been her. And she deserves nothing less than perfection.’
Ta to John Newtown


Cry me a cocktail: the unpalatable rise of body food
‘Experimental food artistes Bompas and Parr are offering a workshop teaching London punters to concoct bitters containing real human tears. Music and candles will be provided to make participants sad or wistful – whatever it takes – and then the resulting tears will be blended with neutral alcohol and various herbs to create the perfect Christmas gift for an acquaintance you wish to frighten. ‘

Makes me wish Gay you had made those sausages out of her own blood.


Winemakers turn to wild fermentation
If wild ferments give so much better results, you might wonder why winemakers ever moved away from them. There are reasons. Pure yeast cultures were developed to make winemaking easier, with more predictable and consistent results. This was and still is the best way to mass-produce large volumes of inexpensive wines. Pure yeast cultures (just one strain of yeast conducts the entire fermentation) provide greater reliability than wild ferments (in which there could be hundreds of strains). Wild ferments can produce strange, even bizarre, aromas and flavours. It seems to make sense, though, that single-yeast ferments produce simpler wines.’

A mate of mine is brewing his own beer and making sourdoughs down in Vic and I wondered again about indigenous yeasts in Australia that must surely have got into early alcohol and bread making in Oz. I went on line and found this article. Does anyone out there know of any research that has been done on indigenous yeasts?


Remote Indigenous Gardens Network
‘RIG Network is a national, cross-sectoral networking, research and outreach initiative. We link people, projects and resources to support better practice and undertake projects to help build better local food production initiatives that can deliver social, health and economic benefits to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.’

Don’t know if any of you follow this mob but it’s a great project.


Alimentum
‘Since 2005 Alimentum has been delighting readers with stories, essays, and poems that use food as a kind of must to inspire memory, ideas, humour, joy, melancholy and reflectoion.’

Barbara Santich put me on to this site. It’s a mixed bag with some quirky pages like the Jukebox (songs about food) and Recipe Poems. Nice to dip into.



Friday, December 4, 2015

Compost



Mazi Mas
John Newton and I had a terrific meal at the 5th Mazi Mas Sydneydinner. It's a team of four women who work with partner organisations to support women refugees and asylum seekers get experience and training in hospitality.

Our meal was a combo of Persian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan and was absolutely delicious with highlights for me being Ghormeh Sabzim a Persian stew of lamb and fenugreek leaves, Gow Maluwa, a Sri Lankan dish of cabbage sautéed in unroasted spices (mainly coriander) and fresh green chillies, and handmade squishy and crunchy gaz i.e. Persian nougat. Mind you, the Kachay Qeemay Kay Kabab's were also right up there with these, as was the Persian saffron ice cream which accompanied the nougat (both pictured above), and the Chicken Karahi and the Kashke Bademjan (roasted eggplant with walnut and whey).

It was great to chat with the women as they brought our courses to the table about the food, their experience in Mazi Mas and what their plans are - not all of which involved taking up commercial cooking as a career.

Check out their website mazimas.com.au

We plan on going again J

Food, Interrupted
The problem with food is we care too much. Take the example of Diane, a 48-year-old office manager who took part in a study of eating habits in 2010. She believed food was entirely about pleasure and imagination, a matter of “what I like and what I fancy,” she told an interviewer. She obsessed over the variables that might interfere with her enjoyment—as a gourmet might critique the texture of a sous vide chicken breast or frown at the seasoning of a broth. The temperature of her food was particularly important. Diane invited the researchers to a café nearby so they could see her navigate the menu, or rather navigate its dearth of appetizing options. When dinner was served, she ate rapidly but didn’t finish. She would only eat a cooked meal, she explained, when it was still piping hot. So Diane was a picky eater.’

I’m going to make a big call here and say that to call Diane ‘a picky eater’ and to suggest, as the content of this review does, that it was all to do with her food upbringing, is to leave serious questions of Diane’s mental health unexplored. I look forward to reading Bee Wilson’s new book ‘First Bite’ having enjoyed ‘Consider the Fork’, but I hope it is more substantial than this review suggests.


Gut Thinking
On the other hand, Diane may also be suffering from a particularly barren gut microbiome that is leading her to choose only foods her gut microbes want to eat.

‘But we now know the gut itself, and also the microbes inside it, manipulate what we crave, painting a much more complex picture of the forces that determine the way we see food.’

An excellent article that continues my fascination as life in and on Planet Paul. Chloe Lambert writing in New Scientist 21 November 2015.

I have a pdf copy of the article if you are interested.

In search of Ibn Battuta’s melon
From John Newton:
‘Paul – Aramco world is an online magazine published by the no doubt wicked Saudi Arabian crude oil company. Nevertheless the magazine is magnificent and this issue contains a wonderful story called Ibn Battuta's Melon. Not sure if it's possible to separate the story from the rest of the mag, but scroll down to it.’

Indeed a quite wonderful article on the search for said melon in places with too few vowels in their names. I so want to try qovun qoqi, dry rolled melon studded with black raisins. And all praise to the melon vendor woken at 3am to produce the most likely candidate...me, I’d have had some harsh words for the local who thought it important enough to wake me from a hard earned sleep to satisfy some crazed foodie’s craving for a melon, no matter how famous it was.



Chinese food and the joy of inauthentic cooking
‘While many of his professional peers may hope to “transport” their diners to some obscure corner of Asia, Talde writes, his food, inspired by taquerias, gyro shops, diners, burger spots, and Chinese takeout, “is meant to remind you that you’re home, in that strange and awesome country where we live.”

Thanks to Alison Vincent for directing me to this smile making poke in the eye of authenticity which as we know is a flawed and ultimately useless concept...we do, don’t we?  One of my fave lines in Shakespeare is from King Lear when Edmund declares ‘Now Gods, stand up for bastards’. I am happy to stand up  for bastard foods even when they go horribly wrong for out of them have come such treats in Sri Lankan cuisine as my dad’s lamb should smore and my mum’s Milo wattalappam J


A woman is making bread with yeast from her vagina and live blogging it
‘For most women, a bout of thrush usually results in a couple of days of insatiable itchiness and a trip to the chemist.But one woman, feminist blogger Zoe Stavri, rose to the occasion (as any good baker does) and used her excess yeast to, ah, make a loaf of bread. You know what they say? When life gives you thrush, make sourdough.’

I’m pretty sure that’s not what my women friends would say. I haven’t followed this story further; I kinda feel weirdly prurient though my interest is in hearing how the bread turns out [Sure, they say, and you used to read Playboy for Gore Vidal’s essays on US politics]. If anyone out there has been following it, I would be pleased to hear an update. There was some discussion along the lines of ‘yeasts ain’t yeasts, Sol’. Can anyone throw light on that question?

The myth of ‘easy cooking’
‘Food editors are, for the record, acutely aware that their (mostly female) readers want sophisticated meals but feel that the complex recipes offered by chefs are incompatible with their harried lifestyles. So, they make efforts to simplify and streamline, without ever admitting the one thing that cooks really need to hear: that real “easy” cooking, if that’s what you’re after, is far too simple to sustain a magazine and cookbook industry. It relies on foods that can be purchased at a single point of sale and involves a bare minimum of ingredients and a small repertoire of techniques. It leans heavily on things your mom taught you. There are no garnishes of thyme leaves in simple weeknight dinners, and no appetizer salads. Homemade breakfast smoothies are many things, but they are not an “easy” alternative to one of those squeezable yogurt things that you can eat with no hands in the car.’


The argument isn’t new, but it’s wittily made. What interested me tho was that I read it at the same time as I read a critique of ‘smart’ homes  - those ones where fridges talk to you and so on – which argued quite cogently that homes are really being made ‘smarter’ for men as what domestic labour is left will still generally fall to women (in the heteronormative household, that is) - http://bit.ly/1lAWI50



Friday, November 20, 2015

Compost






Radish pods, yes, unlovely and something you won't see in Woolies or Coles but you will see when Hapi from Farm to Feast brings them to the Addison Road Markets - great to knock back as they are or strew them through a salad, stir fry or pasta.



Follow This Simple Guide on How to be Gluten Intolerant
With apologies to all of you who are actually gluten intolerant.


Recipes for Racism?: Kitchen Cabinet and the politics of food
‘“Food is something we all have in common,” Crabb said at the opening of her episode with Wong in 2012, but what it means to cook, share and consume food differs radically depending on who and where you are. Whatever Crabb and her white dinner date choose to put on the menu – steaks on the barbie for Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott, samosas for Scott Morrison or Chinese for Anthony Albanese and Chris Pyne – their performative consumption of those foods will affirm their identities as Australians, patriots of the rugged land of plenty and aficionados of all cultures, so long as those cultures are contained within consumable dishes.’‘
Crabbe’s show has come in for a round of criticism of late for its subjects. I’m not a fan of the show but also think some of the criticism is drawing a long bow. This piece interested me because of its food-as-cultural appropriation and, in this case, allegedly racism-washing angles. Again I think it draws a long bow but it does raise questions of at what point does eating ethnic become racism-washing?

When I posted it on Facebook, Juan Carlo’s comment was: ‘Brings to mind Pauline Hanson's great quote that she wasn't racist because she ate sweet and sour pork!’


Will political change endanger Myanmar’s rich cuisine?
‘At least all these places are bringing something new to Myanmar, broadening culinary horizons. In a “coals to Newcastle” scenario, Rangoon Tea House provides a “sexier take” on Burmese cuisine, serving deconstructed mohinga, our national dish, for 10 times the price of elsewhere (to a soundtrack of jazz). Its owner has said that “Burmese restaurants in Myanmar lack refinement and restraint” and has even accused local cooks of putting “plastic in their fried food to make it crispier”.’

Can an SBS foodie program be far behind. L


Quiet Revolutions
‘It turns our farming was invented many times in many places and was rarely an instant success. In short, there was not agricultural revolution.’

An excellent article in New Scientist that broadens the definition of farming to include a wide range of practices by bands of hunter-gatherers who ‘tweaked’ their landscapes through burning,  small scale cropping of wild cereals and yams etc., as we know was part of indigenous practice in Aus.

I have scanned the article for anyone interested.

A Seismic Shift in How People Eat
‘For legacy food companies to have any hope of survival, they will have to make bold changes in their core product offerings. Companies will have to drastically cut sugar; process less; go local and organic; use more fruits, vegetables and other whole foods; and develop fresh offerings. General Mills needs to do more than just drop the artificial ingredients from Trix. It needs to drop after bad for its the sugar substantially, move to 100 percent whole grains, and increase ingredient diversity by expanding to other grains besides corn. Instead of throwing good money lagging frozen products, Nestlé, which is investing in a new $50 million frozen research and development facility, should introduce a range of healthy, fresh prepared meals for deli counters across the country.’
Sure, they will just find new ways to screw the consumer as they always have, shifting with demand while continuing to find ways to maximise profit – that’s what they are good at which is why the are ‘legacy’ food companies. Thanks to Sarah Benjamin for the link to this article.

Move over meat: how the UK can diversify its protein consumption
‘One of the main challenges to diversifying diets in the UK is a lack of knowledge of how to prepare meals without meat, according to the report.’

Gosh, that’s a surprising statement J


The Battle of Olives
‘The legendary olive trees of Puglia produce some of the finest oil in the world...That’s why the spontaneous death of these trees, presumably by a foreign bacterium called Xylella fastidiosa feels like a black plague.’

A terrifc article by Barbi Latza Nadeau in Scientific American Nov 2015 which focuses on the clash between sceintific effort to identify causes and effective measures and growers mistrust in the face of radical proposed measures and their commercial and identity livelihood.

I have a scanned article for anyone interested.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Compost









Yes they really sold these in Melbourne for the AFL. No, my source didn't taste them so I cannot report.

Handfed
A delightful project I was thrilled to be involved in .



Betty Crocker’s Absurd, Gorgeous, Atomic Age Creations
Consarn it!! The NY Times site won’t let me copy some of the many delightful bits of this article, so I can only recommend it as highly entertaining. And the embedded video is like the best of amuse bouches.


Ripe and Ready: How ‘evil geniuses’ got us hooked on avocadoes

‘In one small fruit, you can see a glimpse of how the modern food industry works – year-round availability, improved retailing, the elevated status of so-called “superfoods”, the influence of social media and millions spent on marketing.’

In Sri Lanka you see avocadoes in abundance as you did back in my childhood days, except we never ate them as a salad veg or with dressing swimming around in the centre. I only ever knew avocadoes as avocado cream for dessert or as avocado juice. It’s been interesting on my food trips back to Sri Lanka watching guests’s responses to seeing avocado up there with orange, apple, and pinapple at the breakfast juice end, of fluffy whips of avocado sitting next to vanilla ice cream.


And then there was also this story.



Almond milk: Good for you - very bad for the planet

‘Alpro’s almond content is just 2% – the biggest ingredient is water, followed by sugar. Like most others, it also contains additives such as stabilisers and emulsifiers. The amount of sugar is less than the natural sugars found in cow’s milk, so it has fewer calories, but there is also less protein – 0.5g to the 3.5g you’ll get in the same amount of cow’s milk.’

(Sigh!) This is the more depressing stat in this article for me than the amount of water it takes to grown an almond. I would bet very few of those who have switched to almond milk bother to check out what it is they are consuming.


American Dude and His Mum Mock White People’s Hummus in a Surprisingly Likable Parody
This is a really dumb header for a very funny, very clever vid.



Michelle Bridges calls people who grow their own food 'freaks'
I had no idea who Michelle Bridges was and I have even less interest in knowing anything further about her.




Friday, October 30, 2015

Compost



This week has been one of those where the cacophony of confusion about what is or is not healthy to eat, what will or will not make you a supermodel, what will or will not make you the sexiest lover on earth – okay I made that one up – has driven me past drink. So, at the risk of offending someone somewhere, my choice for pic of the week goes to this clever food hack - well, I think it’s a food hack, or maybe it’s a bleeding heart hack, or maybe it;s a hack of a hack, it certainly is to me a heck of a hack.

It came via Facebook with this request with which I was happy to comply: Post this ribbon to support Fearmongering Awareness. And then, eat your damn bacon. It's not going to kill you that much faster than anything else.

Best Before?
‘The bottom line is that although aspects of today’s food production, processing and storage might make what we eat a bit less nutritious, they are also making foods more available and that is far more important’. (Chloe Lambert, New Scientist, 17 October 2015)

What level of nutritional decline is being spoken of here? The article cites a US survey of 43 crops which found a decline in six key nutrients since 1950: Vitamin C down 15%, Iron down 15%, Vitamin B@ down 38%, Calcium down 16%, protein down 6% and phosphorus down 9%. So a challenging conclusion to me that I am still grappling with and will need to consider along with research on whether in fact availability is leading to any increase in quantity to offset loss in nutritional content.

The article makes some other challenging statements, for example citing a 2012 study that found that in terms of minerals in vegies the difference between organis and inorganic is pretty small, and that frozen fruit and vegetables can be more nutritious than what’s on the shelf in the supermarket as they have ‘been in suspended animation from the point of harvest...Peas can lose half of their Vitamin C in the first 48 hours after harvesting, but if frozen within the 2 hours of picking they retain it’.

I have scanned a copy of the article for anyone interested.

And I would love to be linked to articles that make counter arguments.

Native rice may hold key to food future
Australian native rice may contain valuable genes that could help buffer the world's rice crop against the damage wrought by rising global temperatures.’

Harvesting the seeds for analysis and experimentation is apparently not without its risks – in this case crocs lurking in the flood plains where the wild rice grows, just waiting for a bit of Yummius botanicus humanus to drop by. Only in Australia, eh.


And there are other dangers than the crocs...

We need to stop Australia’s genetic heritage from being taken overseas
‘Most of Australia’s mineral heritage has been sold cheaply as unprocessed ore. Our international customers increase its value many-fold through innovative manufacturing. Then we buy it back. Should we follow the same path with our genetic heritage so that one day Australian farmers will be forced to buy from overseas agricultural companies new drought-tolerant crop varieties sporting Australian genes? Or should we build genetic IP in Australia for the sustainable benefit of Australians?


Hainan Chicken Rice in Singapore: A short history
‘The first chicken rice vendor was Mr Wong Yi Guan 义元 who in the 1940s peddled his Hainanese chicken in the Hainanese enclave with two baskets slung on a bamboo pole across his shoulders. He later moved into a coffee shop along Purvis Street thus starting Singapore's first Hainanese chicken rice stall. Mr Wong's stall was known as "Commie Chicken 產雞" and he had the nickname "Uncle Commie 產叔".

Ta to John Newtown for pointing me to Johorkaki Singapore Food Travel Blog http://johorkaki.blogspot.com/ which boasts 260million+ views on Google. It’s mostly a review style blog from my quick look around, including of his foodied travels in other countries, like a food and wine tour group through the Swan Valley in WA.

Jean Duruz, I wonder if you know this blogger?

Porridge in the Panopticon
‘The lip-smacking ‘Devonshire Pie’ trailblazers the neglected combo of gooseberries and tripe – or ‘bleached stomach’, as the editors gloss it. ‘

Ta to Helen for the link to this review of Jeremy Bentham’s Prison Cooking. A collection of Utilitarian recipes. No, it’s not a joke, it really is by Bentham; recipes for use in his Panopticon, an experimental prison which failed, not however because of the food. The book is available from the Transcribe Bentham project.

The review is at http://bit.ly/1S5IDrs

Food Festivals Are Fundamentally Bad
“The last time charitable giving has been used so cynically and blatantly to excuse morally suspect behavior was the selling of indulgences by the Catholic Church — and that caused that Protestant Reformation.”

Another contribution from Helen. I haven’t been to any event in the Sydney festival in a very long time – can’t afford it, so I don’t know to what extent the critique here applies and would be interested in responses. Does any income generated go to charities? How heavy is it reliant on brand promotion, placement and sponsorship? I’m pretty sure it hasn’t ever boasted anything like: ‘"In seven years, we've served 33 tons of meat and enough beer to fill three average-sized swimming pools.", nor "more than 40 of America's best chefs, who travelled a combined 40,370 miles to participate in the event" which seems a stoopid figure to be spruiking even if it isn’t food but the chefs clocking up the miles here.


Grafting fruit tree branches on city trees to grow free apples
‘The sterile, ornamental fruit trees of San Francisco will be returned to their “roots”, thanks to a group of urban agriculture activists known as the “Guerrilla Grafters”. The city’s barren population of apple, plum, and pear trees lining parks and street corners will begin to bear new life—and the fruit they produce will be free for all–if grafters get their way.”
Now this  kind of food hacking I can absolutley understand J I love how they only graft where people living or working near the trees agree to be stewards.


The Psychology of Overeating. Food and the culture of consumerism
This book investigates how developments in food science, branding and marketing have transformed Western diets and how the food industry employs psychology to trick us into eating more and more – and why we let them. The first book to introduce a clinical and existential psychology perspective into the field of food studies, this is key reading for students and researchers in food studies, psychology, health and nutrition and anyone wishing to learn more about the relationship between food and consumption. ‘

Thanks Colin for drawing my attention to this book and giving me a headache.


The Archive of Eating
Thanks to Colinalso for this much less brain taxing link to a lovely article on the compendium of Barbara Ketcham Wheaton, which, frankly, puts all my half-hearted attempts at various indexings of recipes to shame. I do hope someday some library does put this wonderful resource on line.


Food Paradoxes: Equity, Access and Excess
The 3rd Australian Food, Society and Culture Network Workshop has called for papers.

This one day symposium examines contemporary politics and paradoxes of food in the context of equity, access and excess.  In a world where increasing poverty and disadvantage contribute to hunger and health disparities, we are seeing the systematic collection of surplus food that is re-circulated and distributed through local networks, food charity services and food banks.  At the same time social issues like obesity are interpreted as symptomatic of excess and a mismatch between biological and social environments, and over-consumption of readily accessible processed foods.  Equity, access and excess are thus nodes of complex cultural systems that contribute to current practices of how we eat and the everyday performances and representations of food politics.  This symposium invites papers that focus on the dynamics of food equity, access and excess from a variety of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. The overall aim of the symposium is to open broad discussion that explores and potentially draws together the relationships between these paradoxes and politics. Postgraduate and early career researchers are especially welcome.

To submit a paper please send your abstract (250 words) and contact information to the Network Convenors – Associate Professor Teresa Davis (teresa.davis@sydney.edu.au) and Associate Professor Megan Warin (megan.warin@adelaide.edu.au) by November 30th 2015.