Sunday, September 4, 2016


Apologies for the slackness in getting this edition out - PNG and other things got in the way and there has also been something of a dearth of interesting stories from my usual sources (not the human ones, I rush to say).

The pic is of my Dad's Day brekkie of charcoal bread soldiers, eggs (which were too hard for dipping) and some sides  - posted here as it has sparked a tad of discussion about the point of charcoal bread. For my money (and I didn't pay anyway) as a look it's fun, as a taste it was meh.

And a last minute reminder that Food and Words 2016 approacheth rapidamente. I am looking forward to being the interlocutor of Biota's James Viles on his bow and arrow hunting for the private table.

Love the Fig

‘For the wasp mother, however, devotion to the fig plant soon turns tragic. A fig’s entranceway is booby-trapped to destroy her wings, so that she can never visit another plant. When you eat a dried fig, you’re probably chewing fig-wasp mummies, too.’

Helen Campbell as right, of course I enjoyed this article: a model of writing for me, packing a heap of fascinating info in a coupla thousand words with just the right touch of lightness and fancy.

Dinner, Disrupted

The site won’t let me copy and paste an excerpt for you but I recommend reading for its parallels with somewhere not too far from where you a reading this enewsletter. Ta Helen Greenwood for the lead.

The Movement to Define Native American Cooking

Another article I will just have to recommend as I can’t cut and paste a tidbit for you. Ta John Newton for this one. I found it fascinating to compare the indigenous foods descibed here with those in Oz. John will kill me for saying this but the berries look a whole lot more appetising than wattle seed J

Instagram and the Pornification of Food

‘Food and cooking were popular long before the internet, and remain as much in legacy media, especially TV. But there is no American cooking show that doesn’t have at least a whiff of narrative, the pretense of an ongoing relationship between the host and the audience as the former introduces old recipes, develops new ones, pits contestants against one another in a battle of skill, or explores the local color that informs this or that regional cuisine. With food porn, especially as found on Instagram, the cuisine is stripped of narrative and reduced to the visual, and then reduced again — like a hearty consomm√© — by repetition, including subsequent, nearly identical images. Although there are plenty of visual recipes for classic dishes or old standbys, there are just as many that function as filler, in which the food being “made” can only be described as such by its loosest definition (Can slathering a store-bought cookie in Jif creamy peanut butter actually be termed “making food”?).’

As a soft core food pornographer this article of course appeals to me. I had no idea that the sites mentioned existed and am not particularly tempted to head for them now if for no other reason that I would feel downright prurient if not just plain grubby. I’m not sure he’s decided where he stand on porn porn though for all his defence of whoredom, and I think that leads to confusing and unsatisfying conclusions to the article.

The wastefulness of modern dining as performance art

‘No matter where Honey and Bunny work, though, there’s always the possibility that audience members will pause, smile, and then go home and forget the whole thing. The problem with being a clown is that “nobody has to take me seriously,” Hablesreiter says.’

The title is a misnomer as there is nothing in the article that is about waste. It’s about a couple who perform ‘food design’, some of which  I find fun or quirky but some of which I find (on the basis of the videos embedded in the article) banal. The quote I have above sums up the problem for me in what is reported. If there is nothing that leads people to interrogate what they have been surprised, shocked, intrigued, horrified by, then is what they do just a wank? For example the performance they did where they re-arranged supermarket food shelves in terms of food miles: the article doesn’t indicate if there was any discussion with the customers about what food miles meant. Am I being a grouch? Very well the, I am a grouch.

Ta to Colin Sherringham for the opportunity for me to grouch.