Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

Want to know more about me? Friend me on facebook, follow me on twitter, or even look up my New Yorker cartoons on instagram! NB; different platforms not all food related)

A big thank you, as always, to my sponsors at Blue Vapours (use them for all your design and advertising needs - we are waiting for your call!).

Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Gastronomic Utopia

Hello You! Have you heard about the 21st Symposium of Australian Gastronomy?

"Heard about the 21st one??? I  still haven't heard about the first one!" ~ I hear you think.

Well, I quite agree.  Me either!

It appears it's coming up in December, and at it numerous luminaries will flex their considerable foodie knowledge, go on a wine tour to central Victoria and then all tuck in to a banquet dinner  (find out more here) ~ all to the theme of Thomas More's "Utopia".

Thomas More was an Englishman who lost his head for not supporting Henry VIII's Church of England – which might not have been such a bad thing since he was later sainted by the Catholic church and avoided becoming Henry's "Lord Privy Chancellor"; where you had to wipe the enormously fat king's bum with a flannel.  Blech!!

His famous work Utopia was about an ideal society, and coming from England, I'm sure he probably would have liked some nicer food.  He would have been sick of chip butties, baps, and curries Indians had never heard of.

The gourmet contact who gave me the tip-off to let me know about this confluence of gourmets was a little late in letting me know for the submission of a paper (catastrophe!).  However, in the interests of transparency and petitioning the committee, I have submitted a proposal today and leave you with the option of rating whether or not YOU think I should present at the symposium.  Have your vote on the poll I present to the right of this post...

Read Kit's proposal here!

A Gastronomic Utopia
A submission for presentation at the upcoming
21st Symposium of Australian Gastronomy

            What is one man’s meat may be another man’s poison (though, with the French, one’s man’s fish is most definitely another man’s poisson).  And heaven for one is the hell for another.  The same could very well be said of a Gastronomic Utopia.
            My wife hates bananas, shellfish, and mushrooms, while I love them all (though not necessarily at the same time, blended together and served in a bucket).
            Why shouldn’t we eat McDonald’s and pre-prepared garlic bread from the supermarket aisle?
            Humorist and food writer Kit Fennessy takes us through some issues facing the modern cake-hole experience.

A Matter of Economics
            In the past, questions of putting organic, pesticide free, “locivore” content on the table were moot –because people grew and caught their own food (“Go out and shoot three rabbits for dinner son” / “But there’s only two bullets dad” / “Well, aim carefully”), traded it with their neighbours, and the chemical industries were in their infancies.
            Cheap food was whole food, but now processed food delivers more caloric bang for the buck for the poor in a non-agrarian present.

Big Business versus Government
            Corporations produce cheap and tasty (high in fat, salt, sugar) foods in the interest of us consuming more.  Food-like products are labeled home made, but they’re in a plastic bag from a factory.  Frozen pizzas are “woodfired”.  “Light” products remove the fat, but whack in sugar to get the taste bang desired and make us crave more.
            Meanwhile, governments are starting to panic as they see the impacts of poor health food choices at the hospital “cellar door”.  Shoppers are warned to check packaging on their pre-prepared supermarket freezer food; where ingredients run to over fifty items, many of them disguised by codes.
            And the split in health outcomes and food consumption choices is largely one of education, and occurring along class lines.

Mind the Gap
            The Victorian Population Health Survey 2014 shows the highest rates of consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables in the Bayside area; where bugaboo mums in Brighton nourish their cherished darlings around the Royal Melbourne Golf Club.  The poorest consumption rates were among those who live in the Pyrenees– rural Western Victoria, where ex-timber cutter single men sit and smoke fags.
            So GST free foods – plain milk, fruit and vegetables, etc. – are being enjoyed by the wealthy, while the poor pay luxury taxes on their flavoured milk, frozen chips and ciggies.

The Restaurant Industry
            High food isn’t helping.  Degustation has become the next door neighbour to disgustation.  Chuck on the sugar, Zumbo, and throw a block of butter in that serve of mash, Marcel! And if you want to eat healthily?  You’ve got to pay a hundred dollars at a restaurant for a pinch of alfalfa drizzled with truffle oil.
            While cooking shows give us the tricks of the trade, we eat out of plastic bags and occasionally try our hands at imitating the worst nutritionists of all time…

What can we do?
            How do we navigate food in the modern era?  Free range lard appears to be better for you than palm oil – where they cut down orangutan forests, while producing monkey orphans with suitcases who have no other option than to move to Hollywood for the remake of Every Which Way But Loose.  But biscuits are so tasty! Oh, the conundrum.
            Meanwhile, the cooking revolution at home, in which liberal intellectuals are going beyond the food crisis perpetuated by big business and following acolytes like Jamie Oliver and Michael Pollan, ignores the real problem; the poor.
            To finish his presentation, Kit proposes some radical government advertising strategies…

Kit Fennessy is the director of advertising agency Blue Vapours, a novelist and food writer from Melbourne.  His food blog Kit’s Cucina Culinaria has run for eight years and published over 130 articles on restaurants, recipes and food culture.