9.3 C
Byron Shire
June 23, 2024

Beyond the silliness in modern food

Latest News

Cars and other items stolen from Brunswick Heads

Local police are warning residents in the Byron Shire to be diligent in maintaining their home security after personal items and vehicles were stolen from Brunswick Heads yesterday.

Other News

Young runner qualifies for regional championships

Year four student at Goonengerry Public School Thea Ramsay has qualified for the North Coast Regional Cross Country Championships...

Forrest Organics

Victoria Cosford At the Forrest’s stall while Dave serves and chats to customers, wife Sue is showing me the magazine...

The incredible shrinking ambition of Peter Dutton

Last week, Peter Dutton's Liberal-National Coalition formally abandoned Australia's legislated 2030 emissions reduction target.

Clarence at Wallum

Clarence Property like to accentuate their green credentials, however they are pressing ahead with their housing development on the...

Supporting women’s mental health in Ballina

Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety, and one in five women compared to one in eight men suffer from mental ill health or disorder.

270 ready to contest Seas The Day women’s surfing at Kingscliff

The world’s largest female participation surf event Seas The Day is returning for its second year at Kingscliff Beach...

So, you might begin your day at the farmers market, basket over one arm bursting with locally grown tomatoes and silverbeet, sweet potatoes and coriander, some recently slaughtered pork chops and a wheel of quark. You will know the names of many of the growers and producers and your conscience will be pure in the knowledge that the carbon footprint is small, barely legible. Then that night you may be whisked off to dine in a restaurant where plates arrive bearing lamb fillets with coffee foam and pumpkin paper; pork belly with wattle crumbs and garlic milk; carrot sponge with walnuts; nitro pavlova with guava: presentations causing breathless admiration but with only a passing resemblance to something you might eat.

It’s confusing times in food. On the one hand there has never been so much focus on connecting us to the source of our comestibles: the land upon which it is grown, the seasons in which it shines, the purity of its growth in the desired absence of chemical intervention. School community gardens become more commonplace, whereby children are shown what to pick then how to prepare and cook vegetables and fruit and herbs they themselves have sown.

Farmers markets proliferate, have become a regular weekly shopping event in most communities, urban or regional. There are food movements and organisations that seek to support the growers and producers and promote them under banners at festivals and expos and shows and in competitions.

Television programs further the education and feed the obsession; cookbook sales continue, despite the faltering, flagging publishing industry, to flourish.

On the other hand is that (blessedly) small and rarefied sector of culinary experimentalism and exploration which has given rise to food so artificially concocted that it threatens to lose, and sometimes succeeds in losing, what is intrinsic, which is its very edibility. At this same end of the spectrum has more recently been added another trend which could be seen as a way of bringing the two extremes together. Its proponents are principally Scandinavian and the focus is on foraging locally for wild produce that is then transformed into meals.

A 12-seater restaurant in Sweden is run by young chef Magnus Nilsson who plunders from a nearby forest fiddlehead fern and yarrow, fifteen types of mushrooms, cloudberries and wild greens. His diners can expect to be served dishes such as wild trout roe in a crust of dried pig blood; shavings of old sow; marrow with dices of raw heart and grated winter carrots; fermented lingonberries with thick cream. There is a three-month waiting list for a table: the mind boggles.

At the number-one restaurant in the world, Denmark’s Noma, chef/owner Rene Redzepi’s food is all foraged locally. He refers to his cooking as being about ‘time and place’ and it reflects social, cultural, economic and even political concerns. (Isn’t all this taking food terribly, terribly seriously?) Closer to home, Melbourne’s Ben Shewry of Attica restaurant rises early in the morning to collect his day’s ingredients; his dish of potatoes roasted in their own soil has become notorious.

One beauty of trends is that, ultimately, they are replaced with others, leaving a legacy of something solid, enduring, practical and wise, with the silliness – those froths and foams – simply blown away. Somewhere between the two extremes of current food consciousness there will be a middle ground, one hopes, whereupon real concerns like obesity and food security and starvation are sensibly and responsibly addressed but whereupon also, at times, we may dine out on some chef’s fantasy we will talk about for weeks to come.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Yes, peace is the solution

Both Duncan Shipley-Smith and John Scrivener yet again display the same responses that I talk about over, and over and over again. They do...

Teething problem

I think it’s really stupid and potentially dangerous that the concept of an absorption period of charging a lead acid battery has been transferred...

Rising Tide activists head to Justine Elliot’s office with kayaks

Today saw just over 40 people kayak from John Follent Park in Tweed Heads to Faux Park in South Tweed, before walking close to a one km with their kayaks to the Labor Member for Richmond's Office to demand an end to new fossil fuel projects.

Butterfly and bee highways created by local schools

Northern Rivers students have created a ‘B&B Highway’ for bees, birds, and butterflies to support threatened pollinators in the region.