Crimes Against Fungi

At my local supermarket in Bangkok, I am presented with the choice between imported expensive products with horrendous food miles or local Thai products suffocating in polystyrene and clingwrap. I usually go with the Thai stuff, but I am constantly shocked by the amount of packaging my Thai supermarket "Villa" (or Willa in Thai) believes is required by a humble lemon. Not that most western products are packaged any better - however I have definitely noticed that Thai people have a penchant for suffocating not only vegetables but most foods in cling wrap. This tends to occur more in upscale places where a general obsessive compulsion to appear "hygienic" and therefore "modern" prevails. (Perhaps a story for another time).

Anyway, it's annoying especially when they do it to mushrooms. The other day I bought some cute Thai grown button mushrooms that were much fresher than their imported counterparts but yet again suffocated in plastic.

I bemoaned this while pulling the mushrooms out of their plastic and pondering my ecological footprint in the various countries I have lived in. As opposed to interpretting it as an environmental crime as I did, Hock instead annouced with a grave face, "it is a crime the way they treat mushrooms in this country".

Crimes against mushrooms aside, I know that the freshest, cheapest and most ecological way for me to acquire my food would be to go to the local fresh market each day but I'll be screwed if I'm going to get up at 5 am and no, unlike most expats we don't have a maid.

One thing that always annoys me about the whole slow food organic whole food wankery (aside from the price and the obvious social justice issues proceeding from that) is that the proponents never seem to understand the full implications of their food politics on the housework demands for women....who the hell do they think will end up having to shop, prepare and cook all this slow food? As much as I care for the wellbeing of my mushrooms, i care more about my time and my career. I know that I could solve this by hiring a cheap maid from the countryside to go to the market for me, but this again is not free from moral considerations. So my ethical dialemma as it stands is that if I continue to purchase clingwrapped mushrooms I inevitably send the market signal that the "modern expat women likes her mushrooms clingwrapped". Which obviously I don't (and no there is no point in complaining to the Thai staff, in case you were wondering. As a general rule Thai staff tend to see it as their job to protect the company and their bosses from the unreasonable demands of unscrupulous customers and tend to be culturally averse to making suggestions to superiors in order to avoid making the devasting mistake of having the boss loose face).

At this point in time I just don't have time to seek out alternatives and this is the annoying thing about slow food or any other eco-political food movement, most ways that you look at it tends to equal one nil the environment versus women's status. I wish it didn't have to be this way but right now in the stakes of Maytel versus mushroom, Maytel wins - sorry mushroom I just don't have the time to care.


Suffocating Mushrooms in a Nature Setting


    Plastic wrap aside, the arrangement of the mushrooms is rather lovely.


    isn't it just


    and yr sub heading made me laugh...


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