Cuts of Pork - bring the noise

Kook to Cook

Food Envy

So we have been living in Auckland since March when our plans to move back to Asia crumbled along side Thailand's aspirations towards democracy.

We are still working on "Plan B".

It's not so bad. The winter here is very mild. I go jogging around Mission Bay on sunny days and think that life is on the whole pretty good.

However, I am experiencing extreme, cross-Tasman national level food envy.

Let me explain. You know how when you go to a restaurant and order the wrong thing and wished you had ordered what your friend ordered and spend the rest of the evening eyeing up their plate? Well it's like that but on a national level.

I once thought that Canberra was at the ass end of all agro-food supply chains. How wrong I was. I've decided that New Zealand now takes that dubious title. Being an major agro-exporter to the world and extremely proud of its local food culture, I know that any New Zealander would argue that I am wrong until they are blue in the face. To which I would respond with a big fat "whateva". Yes we export a whole lotta milk powder...ngeah!

And I can say that because I am a bourgeois female – vanguard of the 21st century – the new working class male (Make way for a whole new type of chauvanism people!!! Possibly involving unbleached tampons) . I also think that most notable food critics and chefs agree with me. I've noticed in the local food press that journalists love to ask visiting food dignitaries such as Rick Stein and others what they think of New Zealand food. The overwhelming response that I have noticed is a slightly uncomfortable shifting in one's seat followed by the very diplomatic comment "it has come a long way from where it was before".

Which isn't really that far. Quite frankly I think the food here, the quality and the variety can be pretty second rate. Given the very small size of the local population, their limited spending power and generally unadventurous palates, top quality, interesting produce does not make much of a showing on most supermarket shelves or farmer's market tables (back in April, I was outraged on a fishing trip to Leigh that the local fishery there does not do any public sales and exports all of its catch directly overseas).

In the meantime, I have been endlessly taunted by Australian cooking shows. MasterChef Australia, SBS's Luke Nguyen's Vietnam and Food Safari have been goading me on cable tv. I have a serious case of Australian food envy. Sitting here in the living room eating yet more kumera, broccoli and chicken, I'm amazed to learn that the Maltese community of Australia is large enough that they make their own Gbejniet. Luke casually mentions that you can buy most varieties of mango and Vietnamese herbs in Australia now and I grimace (not in NZ tho). And to add insult to injury, histrionic Masterchef contestants get to cook with massive pieces of truffles (I asked for a truffle for my birthday but the NZ truffle crop rotted in the floods this season and of course no one imports them because NZer are just too poor to buy them, meanwhile Canberra had a bumper crop).

I love New Zealand, it will always be home. It will always be my birth place. But an unfortunate part of being a New Zealander is feeling like the poor and envious sibling of Australia. To bring it back to the intimate scale of a dining table. It's like always going out to dinner with the same friend who is richer, luckier, more worldly, interesting and louder than you and always gets the better meal...every single time.

Quote of the Day

Miller (1995) views consumption rather than production as the new vanguard of history and as a key site through which political options must be articulated. He suggests that it is the bourgeois female rather than the working-class male who will become the progressive force in the twenty-first century

LESLIE, D. & REIMER, S. (1999) Spatializing Commodity Chain. Progress in Human Geography, 23, 401-420.

Is Alice Waters the vanguard of history?

Photo of the Day


Courtesy of my one-time boss in Tokyo, Jun Inoue, via Facebook. Jun more often posts pics of glistening meaty noodle soups and bacon-draped cabbage, but below is the slightly more wholesome proposition of 118 aji and 2 saba fish.


Quote of the Day

There is no wine appropriate for salad.

Joël Robuchon goes on to say that chocolate is also hard to match with wine. He suggests a better choice is flat water, fortified wine "with chocolate accents", or perhaps coffee.

In his Complete Robuchon, the yoda-like Frenchman also suggests taking eggs out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan to boil them.

Move Over Mr Coffee

"My father's a farmer from birth. My auntie, great auntie, they're all farmers."
So says Rohan Marley, son of Bob, and co-founder of Marley coffee, which is grown to Ital certified standards. Marley Coffee plans to expand its market from the US to the UK by end of year, and says their aim is improve the lives of farmers while promoting organic farming. The promo vids (above/below) inform about the loss of top soil in Jamaica and the teachings of rastafari, alongside footage of assorted cute kids with bright white teeth who describe their dreams of becoming pediatricians.

In what XLR8R calls "a hip hop first," LA coffee purveyors Intelligentsia (home to at least one award-winning barista) have launched a limited-run blend named after Stones Throw producer Madlib aka the mad kid. They describe the blend as "syrupy and sweet," but they might just as well have described it as "sticky icky" in reference to another west coast hip hop legend.

What's next - artisan Black Milk cocoa powder?
Peanut Butter Wolf's homemade grape jelly?
or MF Doom's yard bird pizza and beer combi packs.


Lyrics: MF Doom - One Beer
"She asked him to autograph her derriere, it read
To wide load, this yard bird tastes like fried toad.

Study how to eat, to dine by the pizza guy
No, he's not too fly to skeet in a skezzer eye

A whole string of jobs like we're on tour
Every night on the score, we're coming to your corner store"

Side effects of food

Word on the street is that comedian Louis CK was the best act so far at this year's Edinburgh Festival. So here are some food-related gags from him.

Cake on Floor

Sadly, despite my deepest intentions & dearest wishes, I forgot to organise a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this month. Blast!

Back in the day I was a comedy groupie, and one of my fave comedians was Ross Noble, who made a few return trips to NZ to do psychedelic stream of consciousness rants that stood in stark relief next to the rehearsed routines of the other comedians.

Why just be funny when you can also incite civic unrest? (See sausage roll clips below)

Another tasty option for live buffoonery is the Glasgow Comedy Festival each April – some day I want to go there, and partake of the infamous Glasgow deep fried vegetarian haggis. Speaking of comedy.

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