Saturday, November 8, 2014

This week's compost

Red Hen Recipes- Rewriting the Online Recipe from "Seed to Fork"
‘Red Hen Recipes is a user-generated recipe website that allows supports people in tracing a single ingredient from where it was grown to how it was cooked and eaten. If you participate you will fill out a short registration survey (15 mins) and use the online software to create a Red Hen Recipe- this might mean anything from visiting a farmers' market or farm, growing herbs on a balcony, to cooking in the kitchen.’

I have contributed a recipe and I am looking forward to the follow up interview. Why not give it a go?

Illegal foragers are stripping UK forests of fungi
 ‘The growing popularity of foraging for wild food may be part of the problem, says Sue Ireland, director of green spaces for the City of London Corporation, which manages Epping forest: “In rural areas, foraging is fine if you are picking for your own personal use.” But the difference with Epping Forest is that it is on the doorstep of the millions of people in London and can even be reached by tube train.’

Legal foraging...kinda sounds contradictory. I can’t see my mate Charlie-across-the-road and his Portuguese, Spanish and Middle European annual mushroom foragers registering for a licence. Granted, as far as I know, they mostly forage for home use and not for sale. Granted too that as far as I know there are only a few fungi types that are foraged in Oz and that the pressure on them is probably not as great – it is somewhat of a hassle to get to the pine forests around Orange for example. But there is still something damned if you do and damned if you don’t about this story to me that is unsettling.

Every fish you eat is an environmental mystery, but would you pay more to know the truth?
 ‘I used to have an open mind about sustainable seafood. After countless boat journeys, visits to numerous fish farms, wholesalers, retailers and restaurants while filming What’s the Catch?, a seafood documentary for SBS, I’ve now got a very strong opinion on eating fish: if you don’t know what’s on your plate, if you can’t be sure you aren’t part of the annihilation of the ocean, then don’t eat seafood.’

I’m looking forward to the program. I’m not hopeful, though,  that many people can handle the truth let alone pay more to know it.

Peking duck fans targeted in animal welfare ad blitz in Chinatown
Animal welfare activists have launched an advertising campaign with images of sick and distressed ducks at NSW farms, targeting Sydney's Chinese community, who they claim is fuelling the demand for duck meat.
Animal Liberation wants to raise awareness that millions of the birds are suffering on Australian farms because they are routinely deprived of water to swim or bathe in, it says.

"Water deprivation is one of the most severe welfare concerns within modern farming practices because ducks are designed for a life on water," campaign manager Emma Hurst said.... Jonathan Yee, owner of the sprawling Emperor's Garden Restaurant at the paifang entrance into Chinatown, said it was unfair to target Chinese businesses because duck was featured in many cuisines. "The ads should be in other suburbs, because duck is not just in Chinatown. To have it where one cuisine is predominantly based, that's quite biased," he said.

I had no idea of the practice being described and do find it damnable. I do, however, also register the concern of Jonathon Yee at the targeting of the campaign in Chinatown, or indeed at the Chinese community as a whole if that is the substance of the campaign.

Shut up and Eat. A foodie repents
‘If shopping and cooking really are the most consequential, most political acts in my life, perhaps what that means is that our sense of the political has shrunk too far—shrunk so much that it fits into our recycled-hemp shopping bags. If these tiny acts of consumer choice are the most meaningful actions in our lives, perhaps we aren’t thinking and acting on a sufficiently big scale. Imagine that you die and go to Heaven and stand in front of a jury made up of Thomas Jefferson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Your task would be to compose yourself, look them in the eye, and say, “I was all about fresh, local, and seasonal.”

Provocative in the best way. Lanchester doesn’t quite repent, but does ask questions that resonate with me, as I too, become a person who promotes ‘fresh, local and seasonal’ knowing that I am privileged and so can make these choices. However, I take some comfort from going that small step further when I can to also talk, post, write about the wider politics of feeding the world and take actions when they present themselves even if it is as minimal as signing an online petition. I am a community development worker in my other life and I know how necessary it is to give people opportunities to do what they can with their personal and social resources to add to the quantum of change.

Thanks to Ross and Maria Kelly for bringing the article to my attention.

Are seaweed snacks the future as the tide turns on meat consumption?
 ‘A 2010 Wageningen University study estimated that a seaweed farm covering 180,000 square kilometres - roughly the size of Washington State - could provide enough protein for the world’s population. And scientists at Sheffield Hallam University have previously concluded that seaweed granules could replace salt (pdf) in cheese, bread, sausages and processed food such as supermarket ready meals. Even though seaweed is constantly being touted as a superfood and has captured the imagination of trend chefs, there is generally still an aversion to eating it. Part of the problem is it’s a food that’s often been associated with poverty.’

Oh, gawd, here we go again...overpriced ‘superfood’ coming to a trendy restaurant and providore near you any second now. Anyone wanna come kelp raking with me at Bondi?

 Chilaw fish market
 I love Sri Lankan town and village fish markets – raw, immediate, prolific, and enough sand and grit to horrify Australian Council Health Inspectors.