This week Bennie’s school teacher had her class consider meat – how animals become food, and some of the dynamics, processes and ethics involved.
I remain unsure of the full gist of the session, but it certainly had the lad thinking seriously about meat.
So that night, driving home, we stood back and looked at our own involvement with and consumption of meat.
I cooked Bennie and I steaks once, but it’s so long ago I can only dimly remember the event.
Lamb or pork chops happen in our home about once a year.
Overwhelmingly, our meat use is very much in the spirit of the places we eat out at and the shopping we do and the food traditions that inform them.
Whether it be a meaty ham bone for red beans ‘n’ rice or black-eyed peas; chorizo or Polish sausage for soups or stews; or chicken bones for stock, our meaty habits are all about flavour rather than hunky chunky slabs of flesh.
Not that we’re averse to such, but our homecooking habits have just naturally evolved.
We eat good-quality franks or classy Italian snags about once a week, roast chicken bits with rosemary, garlic and lemon about once a year … and I’ve never ever cooked a roast.
Indeed, our use of pulses, fresh fruit and vegetables and cereals and their byproducts so greatly outweighs that of meat that we actually adhere – albeit by accident – to the good food pyramid.
OK, we both have sweet tooths and we use pastrami and mortadella and so on for our school/work lunches.
Nevertheless, our routines are a long, long way from those of my own meat-heavy Kiwi childhood.
For that we are undoubtedly indebted to rainbow of food traditions that surround us.
I had a reminder last week that those traditions are far from set in stone.
I was buying some moong dal and beans and Indian snacks from one of the Indo groceries on Barkly St.
The man being served ahead of me was making sure he had the right kinds of flours to make injera.
When my turn came, I asked the woman serving me if they got a lot of customers seeking injera makings.
“Oh yes – quite a lot,” she said with a big smile.
Of course – broadening the customer base is good for business!
Just as Johns Nuts & Deli is also tapping into the African community.
I’m fascinated by how through sheer necessity the food traditions of new and newer Australians overlap and merge and evolve in an Australian context.
While rivalries and enmities between various home countries and ethnic groups no doubt continue to hold sway in some quarters, I’d like to believe that by and large most folks just get on with business of living – and eating.
Such a dynamic is nothing new, of course, as the by now familiar combo of pizza shop and kebab shack attests.
Among the many benefits of running Consider The Sauce is having a more hands-on and in-depth view of the workings of the fabulous internet.
A nonchalant “think piece” I posted about seafood extender and surimi, for instance, appears to have become one of a handful of default, “go to” posts for those seeking information about those subjects through Google and other search engines.
Visitors thus finding us, especially if they would not otherwise have done so, are most welcome, of course.
But it seems a little weird and scary that such an inexpert authority as myself should be accorded such status.
Especially as a somewhat better informed post detailing a follow-up visit to Austrimi in Geelong is not attracting the same amount of interest.
Also continuing to attract a lot of visitors, no doubt almost all of whom would never otherwise set foot in Consider The Sauce, is our post on Aldi.
I was bemused by the latest of quite a few comments, this one unintentionally seeming to be both illogical and contradictory on at least two counts:
just remember not everyone can afford woolies and coles, and not everyone likes interactions and has time to waste and walk about the supermarket smiling at people….some of us have more important things to do, like work, clean, cook, look after kids…plus who cares if you dont like it…i know i dont. go shop somewhere else!
This week, Consider The Sauce got a lot of referrals from alternative music community and online magazine Mess+Noise.
Some of that site’s forum members re-activated a five-year-old thread on the ups and downs of living in Footscray, and in the process one of them posted a link to our, um, review of the new IGA.
The punter who posted the link, seemingly with a perspective of seeing that IGA as a sort of pop culture emporium, opined: “Though blog person is wrong to criticise the IGA … Yeah that blog was written by a parent it seems, which is why it’s no good.”
Fair enough – I can live with that.
Another punter quipped: “what a fulfilling life that person must lead…”
Well, I can live with that, too, and have a chuckle about it.
But it seems a bit rich coming from a conversation/thread that is so superficial and ill-informed!
Finally, this week I was surprised to discover our rather downbeat and negative post on Chadz Chickenhaus in Sunshine had been reblogged by another wordpress.com blogger.
It’s easy to forget, being so heavily Melbourne-focused, that being part of wordpress.com makes us part of a very large worldwide community, which sometimes leads to surprising visits and inter-reactions, and not all of them from foodies either.
Turns out that in this case it was a mistake – the blogger involved had reblogged rather than “liking” our post.
No matter, for in the process I discovered a most wonderful blog – Salt For Vanilla.
Packed with delicious recipes and photographs – many of them Filipino or otherwise Asian – it is fabulous work by someone who appears to be a seriously good cook.
First Saturday morning barbecue of the new rugby season.