Food Quote of the Day

We’re bacon people

Michelle Obama on ABC and "The View"

Despite Obama apparently expressing an appreciation for Michael Pollan's Open Letter to the president, Michelle Obama reaffirmed the family's" Joe The Plumber" sensibilities. Ahhhhh bacon, now elevated to the level of "every-man" political discourse

Fuji Review

Fuji is a Thai-owned chain restaurant serving Japanese food in Thailand.

It's supposed to be the archetype of the Japanese food as Thais like it.

I had a grilled mackerel set meal sometime last year, and it left me with no impression, so I didn't go back,,,, until recently.

In between my trips to the mountains recently, I just had one night stay in the city.

After rushing through running errands, I ended up in a shopping mall, and it was a dinner time. I was too tired to be creative. So, I just went into Fuji and ordered a tendon set and hot green tea.

It was, actually, pretty good.

Nicely trimmed shrimp tails, not so instant-tasting miso soup with enoki mushrooms and tofu, no sugar in green tea, and nice onion tempura.

But of course, I had been eating the country Thai food for a week right before I went to Fuji, so it might have factored in that my pickiness for Japanese food was very low, in favor of Fuji.

One funky thing was it came with kimchi, which is spicy Korean pickle, not Japanese style tsukemono. I guess ready-made kimchi in jars are much easier than maintaining Japanese nukazuke, which is a particular pickle usually accompanies tempura in Japan. That's okay, ready-made kimchi is probably much better than bad nukazuke. Fast-fermented fake tuskemono's are one of those things not worthy of eating.

Another funkiness: travel thermo mug used as a hot green tea server.

Of course those mugs are not made to pour the content out, so you make a little mess on the table. I like it that it keeps the tea warm though.

With the upgraded impression of Fuji, I went there again at a later date.

This time, I ordered a Fuji bento set with tempura and chawan-mushi.

Not as good as tendon. I think it was too meaty overall for me.

Good: shrimp tempura, grated daikon raddish in tempura dipping sauce (important details), ginkgo nuts in chawan-mushi, inari-zushi, ito-konnyaku, enoki mushroom and tofu miso soup.

Not so good: imitation fake crab in sushi rolls (why can't they just use cucumbers if the cost is the issue?), bread crumb fried mackerel, cold chicken teriyaki, salmon tempura, Thai-style overly sweet "salad cream", artificially colored kamaboko in chawan-mushi.

Thai style: takoyaki was an odd addition to bento... it's like squeezing in a mini hot dog into a dinner plate.

They have a New Year gift promotion which goes: "this coming year of oxen, we are presenting the Neko (cat) set," for those spending more than 1,000 baht until January 5.

Yes it's kind of cute...and Akemashite Omedetou (A Happy New Year, in Japanese) is spelt correct... but... why a Neko set for a year of oxen??

It might make my hobby to go to Fuji from time to time to find a little oddness here and there.

Have a Happy New Year of oxen, 2009!
bialetti espresso can

I'm still not sure if this Bialetti stove-top coffee can, seen at Habitat in Neumarkt, is supposed to be taken seriously - but in terms of volume it might represent my daily coffee consumption quite well.

When serious baristas talk about the ideal ratio of coffee grounds to liquid extracted, they're obviously talking about real pump-driven espresso - not these stove top abominations. So let's not bother to try and figure out just how overextracted the grounds in this Bialetti would become.

One of the first 'articles' I wrote for our school newspaper The Flannel was about the characteristics of proper espresso and the history of coffee-drinking in New Zealand's capital city.

It was a tumultuous saga of Swiss, Polish and Italian immigrants, of a hard-bitten lamington-serving cafeteria called the Matterhorn giving way to dutiful Italian espresso machines embraced by hordes of government employees and academics.

Sure, a teenager writing about espresso is 'just a tad' pretentious. But being a student at the inner city Wellington High School is all about skipping school, hanging around Cuba St when you're supposed to be in biology class, snacking on apples and Cookie Time cookies, then bumping into your mates and getting coffees, 'cause you're too old for shoplifting now.

Early on I was dragged to cafés with my mother, where we would look at expensive import magazines or read library books (one of Wellington's good spots used to be the Lido opposite the Civic Square and public library).

Later, when working at a café with a punk chef, a horny gallerist and a gay linguist, I learned to take due care with each cup. A flat white with corn fritters or dark Whittaker's Sante chocolate bars, a heaping spoonful of kiwi familiarity and a dollop or two of sarcasm, please.

I would honestly rather drink a strong stove top coffee or even a strong cup of plunger coffee than a weak espresso. Other forms of coffee can be appreciated on their own merits, I feel, though I am not really down with the cult of Bodum drip as practised in the USA and Japan.

As defined by Lord Jeffrey Steingarten, the predominant flavours should be "caramel, flowers (including jasmine), fruit, chocolate, honey, and toast - but only if you do everything right." (i.e. two tablespoons of 192 degrees fahrenheit water forced through seven grams of finely ground coffee under nine atmospheres of pressure for 25 seconds).

Otherwise, as Jeffrey notes: "One false step and you are totally doomed. One false step and you will never taste the jasmine."

Ah, the power of cheese!

New Zealand Christmas Envy

Now I am feeling home sick

My two sisters who still live in New Zealand just sent me these photos of their Christmas fishing day in Thames

They had a morning swim in this river


Stayed in my older sister's girlfriend's house in Thames


Caught fresh scallops


and lots of snapper. This is my youngest sister with the fish


I'm sooooo home sick right now

Merry Every-Single-Other-Day From Bangkok


Except for at participating department stores and the odd Christian household or establishment in Bangkok, December 25th is pretty much like any other day...

Merry Christmas from Bangkok

Maytel and Hock

Frohe Weihnachten from Cologne, Germany. Over here the main day of celebration is on Christmas eve, but it's today, the 25th, that we'll spend with Erik's family.

So yesterday (the main Christmas day to Erik) I was reflecting on what Christmas means to me. Apart from being a welcome distraction from the onset of the cold winter months, with Cologne's city squares filled with pretty lights, roasting chestnuts and the smell of aniseed candies.

My mother didn't manage to pass on her christian beliefs to me, and her take on big family gatherings is that they are inherently dysfunctional, but she always shows a cute child-like enthusiasm about celebrating special occasions in small and personal ways. And I think this is something I try to emulate, wherever I am celebrating Christmas.

As Chicago chef Rick Bayless points out in the intro to his excellent 'Mexican Everyday' cookbook, fabulous feasts, whether once a week or for special occasions, more often, are an essential part of life.

In other words, when else but christmas would I spend ten euros on a jar of handsome duck pate with 'wild chinese mushrooms' (pictured above) sitting in a cloak of congealed fat? Or dunk Italian christmas bread speckled with raisins and citrus peel into my coffee two days in a row?


So yesterday morning (we went to Manufactum and bought three loaves of their impeccable bread, including the springy 'wurzelbrot' above, which we ate with fennel-infused salami from the Italian supermarket, where they were also giving out espressos yesterday. I made a garlicky tomato soup for lunch with fried chillies and lots of roasted red peppers.



Later on Erik made one of our favourite Catalonian snacks: 'pa amb tomaquet', with the silvery anchovies which I'd been saving up from our Barcelona trip. There's something about anchovies draped on tomato bread.... sharp but mellow and rounded in flavour, it's almost like a really really next level marmite on toast.
Pa amb tomaquet hinges on really good bread in my opinion: this was Manufactum's french-style baguette soaked in olive oil, garlic and tomato juices.

patatas bravas

Much later, after Erik had napped and I had put my books away, we made patatas bravas (another of those simple faves from Spain - crunchy potato bits with a spicy tomato sauce and garlic aioli), a salad, and Rick Bayless' recipe for chipotle meatballs with bacon and mint which are really, truly impolite-mouth-smackingly awesome. I'll post the recipe soon.

Erik made julep cocktails with ice and ground ginger - and I made strange concoctions of rhubarb juice, feijoa vodka and sparkling water, or manuka honey vodka with pear nectar from the italian supermarket, both of which tasted nicely of medicine.


Merry spicy tomatoes, potatoes and bread with weird medicinal drinks to one and all. Or perhaps I should say: feliz navidad mis cocineros.

Catching up with the J-pop scene: Perfume

They are supposedly big in Japan right now... three girls singing and dancing techno-pop.

I am picking up some food related songs for this blog.

Chocolate Disco.

Vitamin Drop.


They look more like Korean or Thai to me for some reason.

If you are intrigued, their first major hit was "polyrhythm," which you can easily look up on youtube.

A Tale of Two Gravies

miso gravy raw

In my opinion mashed potatoes are sad and forlorn without a spot of gravy.

In case you feel that way too, here are two handy gravy recipes that are easy to whip up any time. They don't rely on your having a roasting tray swirling with meat juices at hand.

Both of these recipes - which should more correctly be titled in parentheses as 'gravy', or 'tasty miso-based sauces' – have deep flavour. One (pictured above) is garlicky, rich and tangy.

The other is more like traditional gravy: warm & silky, with a mellow savouriness from the powdered garlic & inactive yeast. The latter two ingredients are worthwhile keeping in the pantry (as well as miso in the fridge of course), in order to jazz up potatoes at a moment's notice.

Miso Gravy by Ani Phyo
Serves four

1/4 cup miso
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/2 orange, peeled & seeded
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp pitted dates

Blend until smooth - will keep for four days in the fridge. Tastes excellent with mashed sweet potato.

Miso Gravy by Fresh, Toronto
Serves four

4 & 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup inactive yeast (I use Naturata Würz Hefeflocken)
1 & 1/2 cups stock or water (I use store-bought goose stock)
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 & 1/2 tsp hot dijon mustard
3 tbsp miso paste, light or dark
3/4 tsp salt

1. Put dry ingredients except salt in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the stock to make a paste. Let this come to a boil & simmer for 30 sec.
2. Add oil, mustard, miso & salt to the saucepan, whisk until thickened & velveteen. Serve hot!

gravy dry

Perhaps the ultimate beige food?

beige food

Served with pan-fried tofu steaks (marinated beforehand in half cup each tamari & water plus a teaspoon each of coriander powder & garlic powder); a pile of mashed potatoes with a little cream & nutmeg; and the New York Times' apple-mustard coleslaw to which we added a little extra apple sauce & grated radish, and smoked almonds instead of walnuts, thereby making the slaw kick even more butt than before.

A rapper named Gravy:

A song called Gravy by Bun B & UKG (it's all about the chorus):

Harvest Time

It's rice harvest time here in Southeast Asia, and courtesy of Hock's Sous Chef who just returned from his holidays back home to Isaan (aka Esarn, Isan, Isarn), we received around 25 kgs of fresh hom malis rice, commonly known as jasmin. Similar to freshly dug potatoes, it is so fresh it requires far less water and time for cooking than your common-all-supermarket-rice.


He told Hock that the rice is "organic" but given that it arrived in a fertiliser bag I have my doubts. The term "organic" in Thailand is generally used in a far more flexible sense. A lot of products here are labelled "organic" when they would not necessarily meet European or American organic standards. Hock's Sous Chef is rather pragmatic about the whole issue. He says that he grows "organic" whenever he can, but if the crop is likely to fail or be severely diminished by unfavourable weather conditions he'll give it a little man-made push along. It's a topic that Nalika may like to expound on further at a later date, given that its the subject of some research she is doing.

Linkity Link Link

Pig Feast...East vs West compare and contrast

Texans are hungry? along with a billion other people

But Oliver Twist was just a whiny little kid after all

Coke is good, does not make children hyperactive but is ineffective to avoid having them in the first place

Booze and gender equality, win the drinking game, loose the war

Vegetables are the new meat, does that make meat the new vegetables?

Food is the new art

No smoking!

The New York Daily News reported on an interesting case of nuns versus their fish-smoking neighbors...

The "foul" and "noxious" odors coming from Michael and Gloria Lim's E. 19th St. apartment once got so overpowering that building workers feared there was a dead body inside, according to the suit filed by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

Called in to see what caused the stench, firefighters pounded on the door for several minutes before forcing their way into the 16th-floor apartment, only to discover Gloria Lim smoking and drying fish.

The nuns are so upset about it that they are filing a lawsuit for $75,000 in damages. Luckily, another neighbor is a bit more level-headed about it...

"It's not a dead body, it's just smelly fish frying in oil on a stove top," the neighbor said.

Still, he said, it's a smell he could do without.

"I don't like the smell and I wish it weren't there," the neighbor said. "But I do think you're allowed to cook smelly fish, right?"

Image from Seema K K's Flickr stream, of smoked fish on display in Meghalaya, India.

A Very Merry Schnitzel


There's something about the iPhone camera that gives a flattering pallid glow to winter skin.

As I sit in a shadowy office, most of my colleagues departed to small snowy villages, it's an opportune moment to post a few quick photos from before and during our company schnitzel outing.

Think of it as a tribute to the ghosts of schnitzels past.

The schnitzel spot was Brauhaus Sion in Sülz.




You have to squint to see the salad garnish. Mine came topped with preiselberry sauce and camembert, a heart attack bomb.

Next time I'm passing on the schnitzel and sticking to my usual blood pudding with mashed potato & apple sauce, aka 'Heaven and Earth'.

My Fave Christmas Photos 2008

I know, I know, the competition's hardly over yet, but I'm pretty convinced that these pics from YYZ-dwellers My Man Henri, Jonathan Ramos and Celine Wong will remain my faves for 08.

There's something poignant about the above wine-glass-as-hour-glass shot, with those berries languishing there in the foreground..

You can see more heart-warming pictures on Henri's blog, and listen to a great disco edit that he's added at the bottom of the post.

One love, Toronto!

Have Yourself a Very Vege Christmas


Last night we decided to have a Christmas dinner with our friends Demi & Carmen before they went to visit their families in the countryside.

I found a bunch of recipes on websites (something I rarely do - I prefer the analog world of cookbooks), and Carmen heated up some apple wine from a quirky old commune called Matsch & Brei ('smash & mash'), where they grow the apple trees in the traditional German permaculture style. The reason she heated it and added cinnamon and cloves, was due to her experience serving it to a family in Chicago, whose reaction was that it tasted like vomit. It is sort of watery, sour and dry, but I found that served this way I enjoyed it.

While meat, mashed potatoes, mint sauce and gravy might be the backbone of a kiwi christmas, having lived in Germany for a few years, this kind of solid repast isn't especially celebratory to me anymore. Plus I'm not necessarily a huge fan of traditional roasted meats: give me simmered, sautéed, smoked, braised or barbecued any day. It's great to have such hearty pub-food at the Brauhaus from time to time, but to feel like I'm making real seasonal celebrational dishes, I want something that doesn't feel like everyday fare: something with buttery spiciness, creaminess, apples and oranges. Preferably arranged in huge piles.

With the recipes gleaned from sites like Epicurious and the Fork in the Road blog, we did an all-vege menu: with two of us cooking the whole thing took probably an hour and a half.


1) Potato gratin with strips of poblano chile. This was realllly good. For those of us not living in places where fresh poblanos are readily accessible, you can quite easily buy little tins of rajas (poblano strips) from Mexican import companies. We used a 250 g tin.

2)Broccoli with wine, citrus zest & garlic
. This was the only dish that didn't make me break out in 'ooh's and 'aaah's, but the slight bitterness and the citrus zest added a lot to the overall Christmas vibes of the table. Marks for effort.

3) Savoy cabbage coleslaw with creamy mustard-apple vinaigrette & walnuts. Refreshing and crunchy, I really enjoyed this, though Germans who like their kraut-salat a bit softer could prepare it the day before serving.


4) Buttery green beans with ginger & roasted, salted crushed cashews. Simply: DOPE.

5) Little baby jesus cake. Obviously, the main reason I wanted to make this was because of the name. It's a lighter version of sticky date pudding: there's three tablespoons of butter in the cake itself, with two more (and a half cup of cream) in the sauce. I baked it in a flan/quiche dish so it took less time to cook than the recipe says, about 30 minutes: count on the full recipe serving eight people, otherwise you will end up eating it for breakfast with a hint of regret, as I did. Easy to whip it up while your guests are festively huddling around the computer after the main course, looking at sneakers online.


Serve dessert warm, straight out of the oven, with butter & brown sugar sauce, persimmon and greek yoghurt. Complimented by Pegovino grenache/syrah and a sentimental 80s flick like When Harry Met Sally.
I found that Meg Ryan goes over quite well when you're on your third serving of Baby Jesus.

babyjesus date cake

A few syndicated photos & quotes today from China-based almost-top-model Elyse Sewell, whose Live Journal blog yields tasty tidbits from time to time: rather like a bowl of mystery congee.

I had dinner at a popular fast food restaurant. There was a picture menu; I recognized the character for "porridge" and ordered this stuff thinking it was going to be yumi zhou, corn porridge, northcountry cousin to my good friend congee. Dismay! It was regular rice congee, just wack and sweet with pieces of lycheeish fruit in it. Not satisfying. I saw a savory congee on the menu doe, so XiNet.Life and I will definitely tangle again. ("XiNet.Life"? Also today I saw a shopping center called "Email Fashion.")

For Christmas, Elyse says she'll take "pretty much anything from Aisle 21"

Zombie Dinner Party

Further to our cannibalism debate Erik Davis brought my attention to this via a blog named, what else but anthropophaguous. It sums things up nicely wouldn't you say?


In Praise of Lumpiness


Baked Christmas goods, like people, can be charming when they are a bit misshapen.

It's one of the few things the bakery across the road from our work (on the corner of Boisseréestrasse in Cologne) does quite well.

I think the spiced printen sheets below are for making gingerbread houses... The white bread tree with chocolate chips was quite enjoyable to eat, in a very unsurprising sort of way.


The Ultimate Insult

So I was reading the IHT today and came across this rather amusing titbit about shoe throwing and waffles.

Hitting someone with a shoe is considered the supreme insult in Iraq. It means that the target is even lower than the shoe, which is always on the ground and dirty....In France, of course, it's a waffle. Throw a waffle at someone and you have said, in essence: "I loathe you. Your people are donkey traders."

And I was reminded of a discussion I had recently on cannibalism in New Zealand. Some Maori tribes engaged in cannibalism as the ultimate insult to their enemies, the act I was informed was not so much about the ingestion of one enemies as it was about shitting them out the other end as the ultimate insult. Here the French seem positively puerile. Children throw waffles real men eat you and shit you out the end. UGH.

Along with being taboo cannibalism is one of those topics that is deeply misunderstood by most. Although various cultures around the world are purported to practice or once partook in cannibalism - including (according to wiki): Prehistoric Europe, Africa, South America, New Zealand, North America, Australia, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, New Guinea, India, Sumatra, and Fiji - many reports are apparently over-exaggerated as a means by which to label the "cannibals" in question as barbaric and therefore in need of a civilising mission

A case in point is this, also via the wisdom that is wiki

According to a decree by Queen Isabella of Castile and also later under British colonial rule, slavery was considered to be illegal unless the people involved were so depraved that their conditions as slaves would be better than as free men. This legal requirement may have led to conquerors exaggerating the extent of cannibalistic practices, or inventing them altogether, as demonstrations of cannibalistic tendencies were considered evidence of such depravity



Contrary to Hollywood fantasies, the practice cannabalism typically occurs in rare instances and often under highly ritualised circumstances, such as the highest insult offered to ones enemies. Cannibalism also occurs in situations of extreme deprivation (the movie Alive) and/or insanity or sociopathic behaviour. On the flip side, sociopathic behaviour can also be used as reason to eat someone in some societies. My department convenor who has spent the vast majority of his life studying Papua New Guinea every so often likes to joke about the prospects of some particularly socially withdrawn PhD student being eaten during fieldwork, should they continue with their non-reciprocal behaviour.

Overall however, the accusation of cannibalism is far more common than the practice itself and a very useful way indeed to dehumanise the barbaric "other".

Then there's autosarcophagy where people eat themselves....someone some where has had the good sense to exclude sucking a wound and biting your finger nails in this category. Eating your own placenta however is included. I remember seeing a television show once where some weird hippies made pate out of afterbirth and fed it to their unwitting friends. Although I recently had a discussion in Canberra and was informed that human beings are one the few mammals that don't systematically eat their own placenta, I'm so averse to the idea that think this is reason enough to never talk to someone ever again.

In another instance, Wiki reveals that on January 13, 2007, Chilean artist Marco Evaristti hosted a dinner party for his most intimate friends. The main meal was agnolotti pasta, which was topped with a meatball made from the artist's own fat, removed earlier in the year in a liposuction operation.

Again no thank you. If eating someone else against their will is the ultimate insult, fine but I'm not sure the reverse is true, offering a pound of your very own fat, placenta or otherwise is not in most people's book an enduring sign of the deepest level of intimacy, although it may be often the apex of many a porn movie.

God this topic is gross.

However I think the general theme of "food as insult" is interesting. At this time of year a lot of people will be delighted to find mail parcels of christmas cakes and gifts of home made mince pies. A lot is written about food and identity and the sharing of food as a means to social engagement and inclusion, but what about the opposite? What about food as insult? What about poisoning, food sabotage and other forms of misanthropy with food?

Of course cannibalism is the ultimate in anti-social food behaviour but to a much lesser extent, so is refusal to share a meal. And I think this is often what so incenses such vehement dislike by some omnivores of vegans and/or vegetarians, along perhaps with accusations by the latter of barbarianism.

All and all, I am reminded of a quote I read a while back in Jame's Ferguson's Anti-Politics Machine, although he used the concept of money instead of food, the two terms are equally interchangeable.

"There is no such thing as relationships between people and food, rather food mediates relationships between people"

Happy holidays

Night Mare Meat


I'm not sure if there was wild horse culling in North Rhein Westphalia last week, but when I went to buy chicken for our chipotle salad, the meat section contained a truckload of horse in various stages of being chopped, processed or cured.

The whole horse meat thing is something I can't get down with. Hypocritical (considering I am OK with eating other equally noble & cute animals), yes. Do I care? No.

I tried horse sashimi in Tokyo and don't think I'll ever get over the memory of that strong, funky taste.

In fact, one of my favourite Rheinland meat dishes, sauerbraten, was traditionally made with horse meat, though I've only had the beef version. It's marinated for a few days in vinegar and a sweetening agent, with spices like juniper and cloves, plus raisins, and then roasted. It turns out extremely tender and has that great sour/sweet/spicy edge to it. A very delicious christmas dish.

I guess I might one day give horse sauerbraten a go. But I've got to say the horsemeat bierschinken& jagdwurst below (luncheon meat, usually had on bread at breakfast time) looks like the devil's work.



Schwein gehabt?

marzipan luck

These lucky swine look a bit envious of their marzipan snowman counterpart. People like him better lately.
Note how they are all wearing lucky chimney sweep hats.

By the way, German marzipan is delicious. My favourite is the marzipan kartoffeln (like small potatoes dusted with dirt).

(spotted at Rewe supermarket on Brusselerstrasse, Cologne)
Whilst browsing the book exhibition at the recent anthropology conference on in Auckland I found four new food books I wouldn't mind having for light reading.

Bite Me


Food is not only something we eat, it is something we use to define ourselves. Ingestion and incorporation are central to our connection with the world outside our bodies. Food's powerful social, economic, political and symbolic roles cannot be ignored - what we eat is a marker of power, cultural capital, class, ethnic and racial identity. "Bite Me" considers the ways in which popular culture reveals our relationship with food and our own bodies and how these have become an arena for political and ideological battles. Drawing on an extraordinary range of material - films, books, comics, songs, music videos, websites, slang, performances, advertising and mass-produced objects - "Bite Me" invites the reader to take a fresh look at today's products and practices to see how much food shapes our lives, perceptions and identities.

Food: The Key Concepts


This book offers an exciting, coherent and interdisciplinary introduction to the study of food studies for the beginning reader. Food choices, the author argues, are the result of a complex negotiation among three competing considerations: the consumers' identity; matters of convenience, including price; and an awareness of the consequences of what is consumed. The book concludes with an examination of two very different future scenarios for feeding the world's population; the technological fix, which looks to science to provide the solution to our future food needs, and the anthropological fix, which hopes to change our expectations and behaviors. As a whole this book provides an essential overview to this increasingly critical field of enquiry.

Food and Globalisation

Food has a special significance in the expanding field of global history. Food markets were the first to become globally integrated, linking distant cultures of the world, and in no other area have the interactions between global exchange and local cultural practices been as pronounced as in changing food cultures.

In this wide-ranging and fascinating book, the authors provide an historical overview of the relationship between food and globalization in the modern world. Together, the chapters of this book provide a fresh perspective on both global history and food studies. As such, this book will be of interest to a wide range of students and scholars of history, food studies, sociology, anthropology and globalization.

Culinary Art and Anthropology


Culinary Art and Anthropology is an anthropological study of food. It focuses on taste and flavour using an original interpretation of Alfred Gell's theory of the 'art nexus'. Grounded in ethnography, it explores the notion of cooking as an embodied skill and artistic practice. The integral role and concept of 'flavour' in everyday life is examined among cottage industry barbacoa makers in Milpa Alta, an outer district of Mexico City. Women's work and local festive occasions are examined against a background of material on professional chefs who reproduce 'traditional' Mexican cooking in restaurant settings.

Including recipes to allow readers to practise the art of Mexican cooking, Culinary Art and Anthropology offers a sensual, theoretically sophisticated model for understanding food anthropologically. It will appeal to social scientists, food lovers, and those interested in the growing fields of food studies and the anthropology of the senses.

Oh and an ice caddy with lid for whisky drinking purposes, a jewellery box, new handbag, and a nice arm chair please Santa

Cat Got Your Tongue?


Nothing says "I love you" like a nice box of chocolate cat tongues from Kaiser's Supermarket.

Magic Mushrooms

Lucky Bitches

So the weekend before last I was in Auckland attending our annual sisters' reunion. There are four girls in my family, no boys. This is usually a weekend in either Auckland or Sydney and involves copious amounts of food, booze, giggling, bitching and sometimes tears.

This reunion began with foot massages and yum cha at Pearl Garden for which I was not present, instead I was standing at the kitchen sink grumbling about everything being organised far too early for my tastes, when I realised I just needed to go back to bed for a couple more hours (I had spent the previous day travelling 13 hours from Canberra to Auckland because I had decided to save money and catch the bus from Canberra to Sydney)

So the real get together began Saturday night. I collected kokoda and uni from the Nola's fish shop,


whilst other sisters bought oysters, salmon sashimi, crab, pipis and mussels.

Our dinners when held at my older sisters' are usually a movable feast. First off someone popped some champagne and then I decided to make guacamole with corn chips to serve with the kokoda, a la mexican kokoda that had worked so well when I made in March in NZ....the combination of Pacific Island style fish ceviche with mexican accountrements works and I recommend you try it.

We drunk more

My sister made the pipis and mussels smoked inside the bbq.


We drunk some more

I made kina spread on bruschetta with a bit of butter, salt and pepper and lemon. I had intended on serving it raw but it had a strange bitter after taste that Japanese uni doesn't tend to have so I decided that grilling it would be better. It was. Although reactions to the idea of kina bruschetta by my sister's partner's Maori and Pacific Island work mates was one of confusion "Kina...hmmm....Bruschetta????" Kina Bruschetta is an abomination to anyone that grew up fishing and diving in the Pacific seas.


Then we decided we were full....the live crabs sitting in a bucket in the garage probably thought they had made it past dinner


But then a few hours later came a second wind. We plunged them into hot water, pried back their heads and quartered them and threw them on the brazier


The night ended with cheese, whiskey (seconded from our father's booze cabinet) and a card game that couldn't be won on account of the fact that a number of cards were missing from the deck but everyone was far too drunk to notice


Sunday morning rolled round and began with my sister's spelt flour pancakes served with strawberries, yoghurt and maple syrup. An indulgence that made me wonder where the indulgence was.

We then went cockling at Cornwallis


Once everyone had collected their alloted 50 cockles each we recounted them and threw back the littlest ones



We headed for the grass for a rest beneath the pohutukawa trees, the classic red flowering tree of NZ often called the NZ Christmas tree.


Until we decided we were hungry again

So lunch of smoked salmon, salmon sashimi, cockles, bread and every single condiment we could find was amassed on the table in addition to a salsa verde I whipped up from my sister's kitchen garden.



We peeled off. I had a nap, others went for a walk and the littlest went home to feed her kitten. We reconvened at another Huia beach for a high tide swim


We returned for one last mammoth eating effort, lentil salad, toulouse sausages, tomato ragu and watercress, avocado, pear and walnut salad.


And said goodbye for another year.

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