Diggings 29 May 2019

indomie democracy sausage may 2019

An Indomie democracy sausage, May 2019

Fava beans or Uber Eats? Health food dilemma threatens school canteens

Mr Bernard’s company is big enough to devise economies of scale, and rely on volume rather than margins, but he says others – especially those only open a day or two a week – cannot do the same. “Definitely some schools won’t have a canteen [from next year], that’s 100 per cent sure,” said Mr Bernard. “I’ve had at least 20 P&Cs, or people running them, contact us this year asking for help and advice. There’s no way even I could personally run one canteen, make the food, buy it, make up the recipes and quantities and portion control.”

I am in two minds over this. On the one hand I support canteens having healthy food options. On the other I find it alarming that the standards are so prescriptive that a school may not have a canteen. Driving kids to pay for delivery of crap food doesn’t seem like the outcome a healthy food in schools campaign should lead to.


archiemite may 2019

This Australian Distillery Invented Vegemite Liqueur

 “It sits in this weird but interesting place,” Withers said in a statement referenced by Mashable. “Trying to describe how it tastes is like trying to describe the colour blue. If you like that savoury flavour of yeast-extract spreads, you’ll really enjoy it.”

 Got myself a bottle which will last much longer than Bombay Sapphire does in my house – it’s weird drinking yeasty gin.


Sydney’s 24-hour trading plan to ‘set up the city’s future night-life’

Sydneysiders could soon duck into an inner-city wine bar for a glass of red after midnight or tuck into a late-night restaurant meal in the CBD under changes to the city’s late-night planning rules.

It’ll be interesting to watch who gets the go-ahead and how much a license for this will cost.


And in breaking news the NSW government has announced that it will be reviewing the lockout laws. I won’t be holding my breath to seeing them removed any day soon.


brioche burger buns

GST or not?

Salads, burgers and a cherry on top: GST food reforms canvassed at ATO

The Australian Taxation Office believes the Morrison government should consider imposing the GST on a broader range of food such as pre-prepared salads and brioche hamburger buns to take into account new eating and packaging trends. According to documents seen by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, ATO officials argue the GST is currently applied to food confusingly and cite examples such as packaged salads, brioche buns, smoothie packs and dried fruit as being taxed differently depending how they are packaged, marketed and consumed.

I would so love to be on the panel at the ATO that has to look at every single item of food for sale and decide whether to tax them or not. The solution from a tax researcher boffin is to just tax the lot which I can’t see playing well at the lunch counters of Australia.


This Is What It Sounds Like When Brands Cry

Part of a partnership with the nonprofit Mental Health America — as well as an unsubtle dig at the McDonald’s Happy Meal — the nearly two-minute “short film” promotes a limited-time, select-city product called “Real Meals,” which correspond to a customer’s “real” mood: Blue, Salty, Pissed, DGAF and YAAAS. In place of information about where to seek help if you’re experiencing feelings of depression, which would usually appear at the end of a public-service announcement, title cards explain: “No one is happy all the time. And that’s O.K.,” followed by an image of each of the Real Meals, jarring pops of color after the gloomy video. 

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that this kind of thing is even conceived of yet alone done in order to grab market share.

Janissaries carrying their kazan, along with a regimental ladle. Aikaterini Laskaridis.

Being an Ottoman Janissary Meant War, Mutiny, and Baklava

Their signal to mutiny was overturning their massive cooking pots, or kazan. Tipping over a huge cauldron might seem like a goofy way to start a rebellion. But for janissaries, both the kazan and food in general were potent symbols. Accepting the sultan’s food was a sign of loyalty and dedication to him,writes Ottoman historian Amy Singer, and eating from the kazan helped “create group solidarity’.

 An utterly absorbing article about a class of soldiers whose name I have always been fascinated with and who I am now more so.


mini pumpkin stuffed with camembert, sage and walnuts, served with braised sprouts and kiplfer feb 2019

Camembert stuffed baby pumpkins

Found: The Earliest Evidence of Humans Cooking and Eating Starch

The findings do not come as a complete surprise, but rather as welcome affirmation of older theories that had lacked the corresponding archaeological evidence. In a press release, the lead author Cynthia Larbey of the University of Cambridge said that there had previously only been genetic and biological evidence to suggest that humans had been eating starch for this long. This new evidence, however, takes us directly to the dinner table, and so supports the hypothesis that starch digestion genes evolved as a specific “adaptive response to an increased starch diet.”

I find the links between the genetic make-up of different groups of hominids and within the homo sapien family endlessly interesting for what it reveals of why we eat what we eat in addition to cultural parameters like Mary Douglas’ work on purity and danger. It speaks to the shadow areas between genetics and socialisation that nicely subverts easy cause and effect here as in other parts of the human condition.


And wow! Here is an interview with Douglas.


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