Friday, June 17, 2016

Compost 18 June 2016

This weeks image is my new acquisition - Finger Food by Aysa Vaughan.

Cask from the past: archaeologists find 5000 year old beer recipe
Their analysis revealed that broomcorn millet, Job’s tears, lily, yam, barley and even snake gourd root (Trichosanthes pilosa) went into the beer. What’s more, they say, the type of damage to the starch grains, together with chemical analysis of the residues, suggests the drink was produced by methods familiar to modern brewers. “The beer was made by going through three processes, including malting, mashing, and fermentation,” said Wang.
But despite cracking the beer’s recipe, the archaeologists admit they can’t say how its flavour would measure up to a modern pint. “I really have no idea,” said Wang. “That is beyond our research methods.”
Not the kind of archaeologists I went to uni with then, more’s the pity. And they don’t reproduce the recipe.

Welcome Dinners project: ‘We would have no wars if we had more of these dinners’

"There are lots of reasons why Australians aren't connecting," Elsley says. "We believe it's not so much about racism but that people worried about doing the wrong thing by each other. Like, what if I don't cook the right thing, what if it's not halal. So what we do is make people feel safe about coming together by getting our volunteer facilitators to help unpack some of that. We help people connect through their food."’

Sure, the idea that having dinner together ever stops wars is hyperbole. But I think those of us in this Compost bulletin list would applaud this project and its capacity for the enactment of everyday multiculturalism. And at a time when the Ministers of the current Government make extraordinary statements and get away with them by and large, a project that refuses to accept that xenophobia should be our default option is worth supporting and promoting.

Dude food versus superfood: we’re all cultural omnivores

The attributes that omnivorous foodies look for in lowbrow cuisine are “quality, rarity, locality, organic, hand-made, creativity, and simplicity.” Therefore, a freakshake and a green smoothie can both be valued in the eyes of foodies as they are hand-made, creative (in the case of the freakshake), and organic as well as simple (the green smoothie).’
This article annoys me, not least for its throwing around of key terms that remain unhelpfully undefined – high brow, low brow in particular – but also because it fails to suggest why people engage in the behaviour it sets out to identify (and I don’t think it does that well at all) apart from the pretty meaningless statement that ‘The culinary elite are keen to shrug-off the “food snob” tag, showing that they appreciate inexpensive foods that are in some cases ethnic, but authentically so.’

A Melbourne Love Affair

‘The arrival of American troops in Australia during World War II heralded a marked increase in the quality of Melbourne’s local coffee brew. Melbourne’s coffee companies were unable to keep up with demand, so the American military imported modern roasting, grinding and packaging machinery to Australia.’

I refuse to believe that Americans had anything to offer coffeewise.

Which thought led me to wonder about the origin of the term ‘java’ for coffee.

Does anyone in this ebulletin list know whether ‘java’ referred to in US slang was in fact ‘strong, black and very sweet’?

Certainly the Java Jive singer wants the coffee hot and sweet...

...but also seems to want a ‘slice of onion’..and then it becomes really weird with the seemingly outré introduction of soya Boston beans, soy beans
Green beans, cabbage and greens’. Or am I just not getting the sexual references?

'Deconstructed coffee' served at Melbourne cafe to Jamila Rizvi sparks social media storm

"I walked into a new cafe in inner north Melbourne, and ordered a flat white without looking at the menu," she told 774 ABC Melbourne. "What showed up was a little chopping board with three miniature beakers, like you would have in a science class, one with boiling water, one with frothy milk and one with a shot of espresso in it." She said she waited for 20 minutes for a cup to arrive before realising it was not going to come.
One of my all time fave coffees was in Mexico City where when I order a cafe con leche they served me a glass of hot milk and a hot glass of black coffee which I then dropped into the milk and watched mesmerised as the coffee swirled up through the milk and finally diffused all the way through. The was in 1988 - well before anyone had heard of deconstruction

Tastes like moral superiority: what makes food ‘good’?

In similar ways, our snobbery toward frozen and processed foods may well be blinding us to their potential advantages. Depending on issues like season and storage and transport methods, some frozen foods might in fact be more nutritious (as well as more convenient) than their fresh counterparts. As the food historian Rachel Laudan argues, processed and industrialised foods are not automatically bad, although quality matters:’
I have happily given in on this one. Frozen peas are fab – I use them extensively in things like a pea, cashew and cauliflower curry, or in my vegie mix for Sri Lankan patties. Frozen grated coconut is this housecooks saviour; do you know how hard it is in Aus (a) to find coconuts for fresh grating and (b) finding said ‘fresh’ coconuts that are not seriously on the turn; the frozen works very well in a mallung or coconut roti, though it has to be admitted that it does not make for a perfect pol sambol.

Delusion at the gastropub
‘Food is personal. It’s sensual, it’s nostalgic, it’s political. But contrary to the slogans of our officious foodie overlords, food is not everything. Viewing our foodie status as a badge of honor makes sense only if we’re prioritizing food advocacy—from promoting sustainable farming practices to reducing food waste to embracing and popularizing more sustainable crops to making healthy food more affordable to the poor—over our indulgence in wildly expensive plates of exotic fare. Before we dive into another dish of bluefin or veal brains or carrots with a 15.2 Brix reading, we should consider how we’ll look fifty years from now to the inhabitants of an overfished, polluted planet: decadent, callous, delusional, and above all, deeply unsavory.’
Maybe it’s just me, but this article strikes me more as a predictable cheap shot dummy spit than anything else. Maybe it’s just that I think she takes a very old and clichéd view of what a foodie is – wealthy, fad following, frivolous. Sure, capitalism knows a buck-making zeitgeist when it sees it, but to dump on all artisanal food makers or the homey doing what they can to counter Big Food as being schmucks without considering whether said artisans and homeys also engage in the wider issues she bandwagons in that last sentence is shallow journalism.