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.
‘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 王义元 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 共產雞" and he had the nickname "Uncle Commie 共產叔".
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.