Saturday, November 12, 2016

Compost November 2016

Sorry about the long time between newsletters. I could say I have been busy putting together my paper on Doris Lessing's take on war and food security in her sci-fi works for the Aus Gastronomy Symposium coming up in December, which is true. But also there has been a dearth of anything worth the adding to the compost bin.

Anyhoo, here's some orts.

Click plate: how Instagram is changing the way we eat
 ‘Once these Instagram-friendly foods go viral, they can completely change the way we eat. Breakfast, for example, has shifted from a decidedly unphotogenic cereal or marmalade on toast to the bright hues of avocado toast (there are nearly 250,000 #avocadotoast hashtagged photos on Instagram) and smoothie bowls.’

Really? It’s the sort of article that begs the question of who the ‘we’ is that is being spoken of here and how you judge when something is completely changed or is just a fad or the result of clever marketing. It’s annoying that the article cites no research for its heftier claims like the following:

‘Posting food on social media can reframe the ways that we interact with food on a fundamental level. When we document the food we eat, taking time to relish, share and even be proud of it, we also destigmatise it. Although #cleaneating, weight loss and #cleanse food photographs on Instagram have created a shaming, toxic subculture of foodphobia and guilt, there is a still greater faction of foodie social media that rallies against that nastiness. People in recovery from eating disorders are able to chronicle their recovery and celebrate each morsel of food that they are able to eat. In the absence of positive depictions of plus-size people in the mainstream media, social media affords fat people a place where they can subvert the expectations of embarrassment, shyness and prescribed dieting foisted upon them by a fatphobic world. Posting your meals online – whether they are healthy, unhealthy or none of your goddamn business – can be a freeing act.’

Reducing food waste could put birds and animals at risk
 “So what is the implication of removing that waste from the system?” he said. “There may be some species then that face a significant decline in their populations.”

No, but really, some days you just feel like giving up. Nothing anyone does can do anything but screw up something so why bother, eh.

With the familiar cavendish banana in dnage can science help it survive?
 ‘Virtually all the bananas sold across the Western world belong to the so-called Cavendish subgroup of the species and are genetically nearly identical. These bananas are sterile and dependent on propagation via cloning, either by using suckers and cuttings taken from the underground stem or through modern tissue culture.
The familiar bright yellow Cavendish banana is ubiquitous in supermarkets and fruit bowls, but it is in imminent danger. The vast worldwide monoculture of genetically identical plants leaves the Cavendish intensely vulnerable to disease outbreaks.’
Again, really, do we want to protect a monocultural market bonanza or would be rather get other varieties to market and increase the genetic pool and hence the capacity for fighting diseases without the intervention of expensive Big Science solutions.

“Silvia’s Italian Table” is a 30 mintues instruction in self-hatred
 ‘When Silvia isn’t wearing a garland in her long, amazing hair or sensually kneading dough-penises that recall the idyll of a bullshit peasant past, she is talking with Australians of note to a weekly theme. The format, which borrows as copiously from Annabel Crabb’s Kitchen Cabinet as it does Nigella Bites, might work to provoke conversation if anyone was permitted to say anything other than “I prefer the simple things” and “I believe in being true to myself”.

One of Helen Razer’s more bust-my-side-laughing sprays where I could have grabbed any para and posted it. But I must get nback to sensually kneading dough penises.

Why can’t Australians cope with a British Empire themed restaurant
‘Great Britain has on its history the indelible blot of not only having had an empire like the Germans and Japanese, but of having had an empire that – thanks to two generations of Marxist-derived indoctrination in schools and universities – is now known to have been just about the greatest force of evil in the history of the universe. There’s no point in saying other empires have been worse. Australians can’t argue rationally where the British are concerned. Of course many British loathe their empire as well. But in Australia the hatred instilled by post-colonialist history courses is compounded by the chippy republican anti-Britishness long present in this country, inherited from Irish immigrants of the nineteenth century.’

And speaking of hilarious sprays...though I don’t think the writer would see it that wat.

My question, which Charmaine and I will resolve, is whether the food is any good. I know, I know, shallow bloody crypto Marxist foodie that I am.

Liquid assets: how the business of bottled water went mad
 There was Life, Volvic, Ugly, Sibberi (birch or maple), Plenish, What A Melon watermelon water, Vita Coco, Coco Pro, Coco Zumi, Chi 100% Pure Coconut Water, Rebel Kitchen Coconut Water and coconut water straight from the nut (“you have to make the hole yourself”, explained a shop assistant). Also: an electrolyte-enhanced water pledging to hydrate you with 40% less fluid than ordinary water (Overly Fitness), a birch water offering “a natural source of anti-oxidising manganese” (Tapped) and an alternative birch water promising to “eliminate cellulite” (Buddha). There was also a “water bar” – a tap in the corner of the shop – that, according to the large sign hanging from the ceiling, offered, for free, the “cleanest drinking water on the planet”, thanks to a four-stage process conducted by a “reverse osmosis deionising water filter”.

Squid’s out – are there any you can still eat?
 ‘Despite a growth in popularity, squid is classified as an unprotected species and is not currently subject to quota restrictions – but the methods used to catch it can have an impact on other species. New ratings produced by the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide suggest that some species should be eaten either rarely or not at all. So which squid is the most sustainable? Here is our guide to the calamari to consume ...’

Anyone know which species are mainly consumed here in Oz?