Carrot Cake. An amusement
The food historian in me wondered when carrot cake made its first appearance at the Australian table, in what guise, how it developed over the years and whether I could find a recipe that best corresponded to we consumers’ carrot cake.
Thick, smooth, sweet, pale yellow. A condensed milk story in Australia
I grew up with condensed milk till my early adolescent years. In Sri Lanka, home for the first 10 years of my life, I got my hit mainly from condensed milk sweetened tea. There was also the condensed milk sandwich, two slices of well buttered white bread with condensed milk as the filling. Best of all though, was stealing a suck or two via the hole in the top of the can.
Labor’s proposed Pacific labour scheme reforms might be good soft diplomacy but will it address worker exploitation?
Yet, labour migration has also been shaped by the interests of Australian agricultural and horticulture sectors keen to fill a labour shortage. In revisions of the Pacific labour program under the Coalition, industry interests have been prioritised ahead of workers. And while Labor’s focus on increasing numbers of the overall intake through permanent residency is welcome, it raises questions about how it will ensure greater protections for workers.
Underpaid at home, vulnerable abroad: how seasonal job schemes are draining Pacific nations of vital workers
The problem is part of a wider concern over Pacific labour schemes. For years, questions have been asked about whether such schemes truly live up to their aim of providing low-skilled workers with training and development opportunities as well as income. As various commentators have noted, migrant work can have real implications for wellbeing due to long periods of separation from families, as well as mental and physical burnout. With so many Pacific workers now overseas for long periods, these problems can have longer-term social costs. Recent research has detailed extramarital affairs, relationship breakdowns, emotional distress, parenting problems, and child welfare issues.
NZ wants more seasonal workers – but Pacific nations no longer want to be the ‘outposts’ that ‘grow’ them
The Pacific development policies of both New Zealand and Australia purport to “strengthen resilience” and “grow economies”, devoting millions of dollars to various initiatives. Arguably, the extraction of increasingly large numbers of skilled and semi-skilled workers from important social and economic sectors is systematically undermining these same initiatives
Promotional techniques on junk food packaging are a problem for children’s health – Australia could do better
Some 901 out of 8,006 (11.3%) products had one or more child-directed promotional technique on the pack. Promotions were most common on foods for infants and young children, confectionery, snack foods, and dairy. Child-directed characters were twice as common as non-character-based elements. Personified characters were the most popular tactic. We found the vast majority of products using child-directed promotional techniques on their packaging were unhealthy. Some 81% of the child-directed marketing was on ultra-processed products, and the average health star rating of the products with child-directed marketing was 2.34 (out of 5).
Low yield quandong harvest prompts calls for more research into the native fruit
Director Dan Falzon said the harvest this year was about 30 per cent of their typical pick, but he wasn’t sure why. “It’s a million-dollar question … it keeps us a bit wary about how much you invest into these sort of products, because that’s a challenge,” he said. A low yield quandong harvest has compelled a central Australian grower to call for more research into the native fruit, but some say bush food developments should include Aboriginal people and knowledge.
Slashing salt can save lives – and it won’t hurt your hip pocket or tastebuds
This salt is hidden in everyday staples such as bread, cheese and processed meats. Common foods such as ready-to-eat pasta meals or a ham sandwich can have up to half our total recommended salt intake.
Fire-smart farming: how the crops we plant could help reduce the risk of wildfires on agricultural landscapes
Green firebreaks comprised of low-flammability native species could be planted around the farm perimeter and around particularly important assets such as houses. Crops with higher flammability could be embedded among other paddocks planted with low-flammability crops.
How invasive weeds can make wildfires hotter and more frequent
Even low abundances of highly flammable invasive weeds could set in motion positive fire-vegetation feedbacks that lead to drastic changes to ecosystems. If this result holds when our shoot-scale experiments are repeated using field trials, then land managers should work quickly to remove even small infestations of highly flammable species, such as gorse (Ulex europaeus) and prickly hakea (Hakea sericea). Conversely, the role of low flammability plants in extinguishing fires further supports the suggestion that the strategic planting of such species across the landscape as “green firebreaks” could be a useful fire management tool. In any case, our “mixed grill” study further highlights the role of exotic plants in fuelling hotter wildfires.
The SEO-ification of food, by Mina Miller
When we order or go out for food, we tend first to search: to read reviews, to see what’s open, to check prices. Google is undeniably helpful in that respect, but its maps and reviews aren’t merely tools; they change how we interact with the urban environment around us. What businesses come up, what we think is available, how good we think it is – all of this is mediated by the search engine, which elevates outlets deemed to have more ‘authority’: generally, established players who are SEO-savvy and can either pay for ranking or are good at keywords.
Taming wild northern rivers could harm marine fisheries and threaten endangered sawfish
Our new research in the journal Nature Sustainability shows disturbing the delicate water balance upstream can have major consequences downstream, even hundreds of kilometres away. Using our latest computer modelling, we found northern water resource development would have substantial effects on prawn, mud crab and barramundi fisheries in the Gulf of Carpentaria. These are valuable Australian marine fisheries which depend on healthy estuaries. Reducing river flows would also disturb mangrove and seagrass habitats and threaten the iconic endangered large tooth sawfish.