Not a feed for a hungry man: a sketch of okra in Australia
Okra are seen in the markets more and more but are a relative newcomer.
The Australian Women’s Weekly 1981
The story of Anglo-Celtic Australian cuisine from the first days of the colony that gets told over and over is about how bland it was, how limited the choices of vegetables, fruit and spices. In the characterisation of it as meat-and-three-veg the latter generally is a selection from potatoes, carrots, beans, cabbage, peas, pumpkin and other staples of an English cuisine circa 1870. Lately I’ve been discovering just how wrong that characterisation is. One of the vegetables that gives the lie is okra.
While doing research for an article on rosellas – the fruit not the bird – I often came across okra in home gardening advice columns in Australian newspapers and magazines dating back to the middle 1800s. There was clearly a history here of okra in Australia that has been forgotten. I set out to find what I could using Trove, the online library database owned by the National Library of Australia, and my collection of Australian cookery books. I focussed on the domestic cultivation and culinary uses of okra.
Scientists find first evidence of humans cooking starches
MORE THAN 100,000 years ago, humans lived in the caves that dot South Africa’s coastline. With the sea on their doorstep and the Cape’s rich diversity of plant life at their backs, these anatomically modern Homo sapiens flourished. Over several millennia, they collected shells that they used as beads, created toolkits to manufacture red pigment, and sculpted tools from bones Now some of these caves, along the country’s southern coast, have shed light on humanity’s earliest-known culinary experiments with carbohydrates, a staple in many modern diets. Small pieces of charred tubers found at the Klasies River site in South Africa date back 120,000 years, making them the earliest-known evidence of H. sapiens cooking carbs, according to recent research published in the Journal of Human Evolution.
‘An extraordinary dynamo’: Doris Taylor founded Meals on Wheels and helped elect Don Dunstan
When Doris Taylor took possession of a new motorised wheelchair in 1951, she quipped: “Heaven help any bureaucrat who gets in my way now.” Few would have dared. For while she may not have been able to walk, Taylor was no walkover. A fearless and passionate advocate for the socially disadvantaged, she refused to sit on the sidelines of society, and had a well-earned reputation for getting things done. After witnessing poor children forced to scrounge for scraps during the Great Depression, for example, she set up a soup kitchen in the local school.
In an underground car park, something is growing under lights that may tickle your nose
When he started the farm with a loan from his family, Verin didn’t intend to lead a revolution that transform underutilised space. “But it fast became clear to me that vertical farming was a revolutionary concept. Food can be grown anywhere with power and water.”Despite some growing pains, and with help from online videos, he learnt how to grow vegetables under lights in an insulated corner of the car park.“It is so incredibly exciting to put a farm in the middle of the CBD under the people who are going to eat the produce.” Verin is now selling about 4000 punnets of herbs and baby greens a week – mostly grown in recyclable containers instead of plastic – of microgreens to restaurants, including vegetarian eatery Yellow and the award-winning restaurant Tetsuya’s, and to the public, mostly delivered by bicycle.
Would You Trust AI to Help You Forage?
Saturated images of mushrooms and wildflowers stand out against a bright-green book cover. The title is wordy, but enticing: The Forager’s Harvest Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Wild Food and Edible Plants Foraging, Identification and Harvesting. In his headshot, the author, Hector Lawson, smiles sternly but gently. His biography tells us that he was “raised amidst nature, on the outskirts of a bustling city,” though it doesn’t say where. Nor does it list Lawson’s other publications or his professional or educational background; there are just a few bland paragraphs about his “desire to reconnect with nature.” Googling “Hector Lawson” with “foraging,” or doing a reverse image search of the headshot, turns up nothing except the book. This is because Hector Lawson, alleged foraging expert, likely does not exist. Many in the foraging community suspect that his name and face, like the contents of The Forager’s Harvest Bible, were generated by AI.
Do you need to wash rice before cooking? Here’s the science
Arsenic levels in rice vary depending on where it’s grown, the cultivars of rice and the ways it is cooked. The best advice remains to pre-wash your rice and ensure you consume a variety of grains. The most recent study in 2005 found that the highest level of arsenic was in the United States. However it is important to keep in mind that arsenic is present in other foods including products made from rice (cakes, crackers, biscuits and cereals), seaweed, seafood and vegetables.