Friday, October 7, 2016

Compost 8 October 2016

Some of us went to the Time Out forum on The politics of bush food now and were underwhelmed. A read of Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu and John Newton’s The Oldest Foods on Earth had way more to say about the politics and placed the debate in its historic context which, it may come as a surprise to some of the other panellists at that session, did not begin with Rene Noma.

I shouldn’t go to those events. I am clearly not the demographic of ‘cool’ that wants to have a feel good night about how ethically aware they are...well at least till the next food ethical cool thang comes along.

On to happier fields:

Super Size. The dizzying grandeur of 21st century agriculture.

‘Our industrialized food system nourishes more people, at lower cost, than any comparable system in history. It also exerts a terrifyingly massive influence on our health and our environment. Photographer George Steinmetz spent nearly a year travelling the country to capture that system, in all its scope, grandeur and dizzying scale. His photographs are all the more remarkable for the fact that so few large food producers are willing to open themselves to this sort of public view.’

Startling and sobering. The vid of harvesting organic baby beans is a salutary reminder that demand even here leads to extraordinary scale.

It’s the taste we’ve been missing

‘Every culture has a major source of complex can’t taste carbohydrate. The idea that we what we’re eating doesn’t make sense’.

A terrifically interesting article on our ability to taste starch as a flavour in its own right. I’ve often wondered about how I could fit some of what I taste into the Holy Four + One, particularly some spices I am sometimes reduced to having to describe as tasting musty. So it’s exciting to see a breakthrough into a possible official designation of a sixth and perhaps more.

The article is in New Scientist 10 September 2016. I have a scanned copy I can send on to anyone interested.

Sifting through LAC’s Cookbook Collection

‘In this episode, we sit down with Erika Reinhardt, archivist at Library and Archives Canada, to discuss LAC’s cookbook collection. We discuss how culture and technology have shaped these books and recipes over time, and the impact they have had on our relationship with food and cooking throughout our history.’

Thanks to my librarian mate Julie for finding this.

Seed: the untold story
‘The Untold Story follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds.’

One to look out for I reckon.

‘ The gay restaurant is a throwback to that time long ago before the American palate had been Bourdained’.
The Death and Life of America’s Gay Restaurants
Mike Albo

‘Jarry  is a print magazine that explores where food and gay culture intersect. More than just a magazine, Jarry brings together a community of gay chefs, eaters, artisans, writers, photographers, artists, and industry influencers, and celebrates the art of gay domesticity’

Colin S got me on to this journal which had first ish in Sept 2015 naturally I had to subscribe ‘for the stories’ I can only wonder why it took so long J

Cacao Biology. Chocolate Culture and Superfood
‘Only the merchants’ fear of losing  cacao was greater than their fear of the potentially dangerous newcomers, triggering a panicked recovery of what the strangers so thoughtlessly fumbled. It was the first lesson in what cacao was worth.’

Kathryn Sampeck in her arcticle in Revista, the Harvard Review of Latin America, Fall 2016 focussing on ‘the biology of culture’.

Courtesy of John N.

Is Colonialism the Worst Restaurant trend of 2016

As the Guardian reports, a recently opened restaurant in Brisbane, Australia has sparked outrage with its bizarre marketing push. Called British Colonial Co., its website originally explained the concept as “inspired by the stylish days of the empirical push into the developing cultures of the world, with the promise of adventure and modern refinement in a safari style setting.’

There is a branch in Darlinghurst which I have to confess I have been interested to sample – both for the food and the context. I also am not sure three restaurants makes for a trend. However, Helen or anyone else who wants to have a colonial adventure...please email me surreptitiously.

Review: Bugs on the Menu at the Environmental Film Festival

‘Bugs are on the menu in Canadian filmmaker Ian Toews’ documentary screening at the Environmental Film Festival Australia this month. The film promotes that the view that bugs can provide a more sustainable way of food (particularly protein) production for an expanding human population.’

You know me well enough by now to know that I take this kind of statement with several handfuls of salt. Hey, I want to eat bugs along with the rest of em and am looking forward to Cambodia in February with just that in mind. But simplistic solutions like this I reckon will the sound of millions of cricket in their urban farms in the streets of Petersham.

Australian food history timeline

Ta to Jacqui Newling for alerting me to Jan O’Connell’s time line. A great place to fossick in. I am a tad disappointed that Jan hasn’t used Aussie cookbooks as source material tho – or at least hasn’t listed them.