June 10th 2017

More in this edition on appropriation or otherwise.

 Hawaiian pizza inventor Sam Panopoulos dies aged 83

‘Mr Panopoulos invented the ‘pineapple’ pizza with his two brothers after they emigrated to Canada from Greece in 1954.’

I confess to having had more than one in my past. But to our theme: is a Greek putting pineapple on an Italian dish in Canada appropriating?


Other People’s Food: Preliminary Thoughts

‘As a result, I’ve bracketed “culinary appropriation” for the time being in favor of “dealing with other people’s food.”

 I think Rachel Ludlam is starting what she says will be a series of posts from the wrong mark. Appropriation and ‘dealing with other people’s food’ I think are quite different.



‘If you do not do all the things I ask you, I as a minority, obviously having no autonomy of my own and being so sensitive that I am troubled by people enjoying and engaging in my culture, will report you to the pertinent authorities. Or whip up a storm on Social Media. Or write a heartfelt, rambling article calling out all the whiteys who oppress me just by existing and show everyone how #woke I am. Or come yank your Vindaloo away from you if you don’t have the right skin tone while you’re basking in its spicy goodness.’

And from the perspective of the appropriated.


Flat white urbanism: there must be better ways to foster a vibrant street life

‘Paired with changing consumer habits (such as online and mall shopping), the result is that many high streets are now dominated by the cafe, a sort of “high street lite”. The cafe appears to be a market-driven solution to achieve an active street front in Australian cities. This is flat white urbanism.’

First they came for our cafes, then they came for…It’s a catchy phrase ‘flat white urbanism’ with its conscious play on whiteness as equal to blandness, but I think the analysis and solution are both wrong. My recollection of ‘high streets’ of my past, and I include King St, Newtown, and Darling Street, Balmain, is that they have always been heavily populated by commercial enterprises of one kind or another and rarely had the kinds of community facilities that are being called for here.  What ‘active street front’ they created was pretty much a 9 – 5 one. Cafes and restaurants extend the active hours and do allow casual street surveillance at times when threats to safety are high. I am absolutely a supporter of bringing back the butcher, the baker, the grocer and the hardware store to the ‘high street’ but I know they will close at night and the streets will be dead again. Ditto community facilities, which in my experience have never been located on the ‘high street’ anyway in Australia, nor have generally been open at night except for the church hall where the AA gang were meeting. And don’t get me started on how dodgy the practice of developers getting sweet deals for some kind of ‘social contribution’ in their development can get.


The Story of Patel Brothers, the Biggest Indian Grocery Store in America

‘I have lived in a world without Patel Brothers, so I can say this much definitively: It’s terrifying to imagine a world where this store does not exist. Here is a business venture born out of one man’s hankering for home and his family’s willingness to ease it. How comforting that they were brave enough to wield these desires openly, so that the rest of us could satisfy the hungers we don’t always realize we have. I left the store with very little from that visit, drawn to what had long been my objects of affection: cake rusks for dipping in tea, a packet of wheaty and flat-baked Parle-G biscuits, and bag of frozen spinach-paneer samosas. These were items that others may characterize as inessential, but I needed them.’

A lovely piece of writing that speaks strongly to my experience of growing up in Australia in the 60’s and 70’s and the delight of finding Graham’s spice shop in the early 80s.  I also now may well walk into a South Asian grocery and come away with nothing but a can of tamarind drink, but just walking the aisles, pulling down packets, smelling them, opening the fridges and seeing the fresh rotis and chillies and murunga leaves, eyeing off the home made biriyani and pittu, is paradise enow.


Why I’m Not Reviewing Noma Mexico

‘By all reports, Noma Mexico has sense of place in spades. The path to the jungle dining area is lined with baskets of jackfruit and mangoes. The tables slipped in between the palms were made from a local hardwood. Directly in front of the kitchen, four women from a nearby Mayan village make tortillas.’


Salad days soon over: consumers throw away 40% of bagged leaves

‘Britons throw away 40% of the bagged salad they buy every year, according to the latest data, with 37,000 tonnes – the equivalent of 178m bags – going uneaten every year…Shoppers do not always buy bagged salads with a specific meal in mind, which can lead to them being forgotten about and then binned…’

Guilty as charged, though in my case I have usually bagged the mix myself. I don’t do it often, mind you, but I do chastise myself when I find that deflated and wrinkled bag of deep tan sludge that was once a delightful mesclun that just didn’t make it to the plate as planned.


Call for Papers: The 11th New Zealand Symposium of Gastronomy

The 11th New Zealand Symposium of Gastronomy
Christchurch, November 25 & 26, 2017
ARA Institute of Canterbury
Symposium Theme: Everyday

Food and food-related activities are important, yet often taken-for-granted parts of our everyday lives. The biological imperative that makes eating a necessity usually makes us look at it as a mundane practice. Cooking, too, especially in its ‘domestic’ context, may seem insignificant and uninteresting. Shopping for food, chopping and washing ingredients, and cleaning up after a meal rarely seem poetic or even important. However, the very everydayness of these activities can evolve into meaningful cultural and social symbols, depicting individuals’ or societies’ relationship with different issues ranging from nutrition, health and hygiene to gender norms, national identity and memory. By looking at the everydayness of food-related activities, we come to understand how societies feed themselves, and therefore, we get a better understanding of their cultures, their past, present, and future. By observing and studying everyday food-related practices, habits, and values that are constantly being passed in ordinary kitchens from one generation to the next, we can open a window to also understanding non-everyday foodways such as those practiced in sacred rituals, mourning, and celebrations.

We welcome scholars, cooks, armchair gastronomers and food enthusiasts to present their research, discuss their viewpoints, and be a part of the 11th New Zealand Symposium of Gastronomy with the main theme of ‘Everyday’, to be held in Christchurch (25 & 26 November, 2017).
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
•       Everyday cooking/eating practices
•       Food and identity (gendered, national, etc.) in everyday life
•       Everyday food choices
•       Historical, cultural and economic aspects of everyday food
•       Fast food and slow food
•       Routinization of everyday life
•       Everyday food and ethics
•       Everyday food and memory
•       Everydayness and Non-everydayness
•       The production, cultivation and distribution of everyday food
•       Politics of everyday food

Please send your abstract (max 150 words) and a short biographical statement (max 100 words) before Monday, July 31, 2017 to either Sam or Amir (or both) at:

They will also be happy to answer any questions regarding the symposium.
Notification of acceptance will be sent out by Thursday, August 31st, 2017.
Please feel free to spread the word!

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