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Food...some eat to live (not me!)...Part I

8 January 2014 5:41:17 PM AEDT

Food…some eat to live, whereas others like me, live to eat. My love of eating is common knowledge among all who know me. For me, food evokes and creates memories.

 

Seemingly so, many a fond memory from my childhood has food interwoven into it - gagging on my first oyster off the rocks down at Wilson’s Promontory, the sheer pleasure of gorging on homemade sausage rolls and lank shank and vegie soup on a wintery Saturday after netball and my love of coffee perhaps stemming from my mum allowing us a percolated coffee as a treat when my parents were entertaining, from a fairly young age (not to mention the after dinner mints that my sister and I scavenged for on the table the following morning).

 

My partner Marty and I were only recently talking about the simple things we loved doing as children that have seemingly become lost over time.  For me, it was a big deal to go and pick up fried rice with my dad on a Saturday night with our saucepan in tow (showing my age here – before the days of takeaway containers – really not such a bad idea) and Marty loved going to the fish and chip shop on a Sunday night in his pj’s with his dad before settling in to watch Walt Disney. Take a moment to recall a fond memory of your childhood – perhaps food is consciously or sub-consciously etched in your memory?

 

So it is fair to say, I had high hopes for my children, on the food front. Prior to having children of my own, many a friend had complained about their children being fussy eaters. I have to admit; I secretly thought to myself that this would never happen to me (naive, I know!). So one can only imagine my disappointment (understatement) when my daughter turned up her nose at my lovingly prepared fish, lamb and chicken casseroles, instead opting for the tub of yoghurt or meal in a squeezie pack I offered her post casserole, in my delusional paranoia she was going to starve.

 

In one of my many food epiphanies I have experienced in the past two years, I decided to put my foot down, and ...

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0 Comments | Posted in 0 By Sally Dunn

Digesting Organic Food - Part Two

22 October 2013 1:47:01 PM AEDT

Digesting Organic Food – Part Two


In Part I we discussed among other things, how the term ‘organic’ has the potential for labelling misuse, notably within the food and cosmetic industries.  The majority of dialogue about organic food currently focuses on whether organic food is nutritionally better for you (in general terms, there are no significant differences between organically and conventionally grown produce from a nutritional perspective, although there are a couple of exceptions to this). This is a source of curiosity to me, as it is often where the debate begins and ends, typically overlooking many untold truths about certified organic foods. I am not sure that even the organic food movement signed up to be the ‘miracle’ food from a nutritional perspective.

 

To me, certified organic food is about providing farmers with an alternative to farming conventionally, and selling in a market place dictated by the duopoly that is Coles and Woolworths, who are renowned for paying under market value for fresh produce. Organic farming provides a fair price to the farmer for foodstuff that is not mass-produced in a monoculture. Monocultures are the perfect host for insect and weed infestations, thus furthering the need for synthetic herbicides and insecticides to address this problem. Organic farming attempts to rely on more natural practices such as companion planting, crop rotation and putting nutrients back into the earth, rather than simply upping the need for more synthetic fertiliser, to compensate for the nutrient loss from limited cross rotation. Organic farmers do not need to handle these synthetic substances, which potentially enhances, not only the safety of their work environment, but also their general health. Organic farming also takes animal welfare seriously. Cattle cannot be kept in feed-lots, nor can chickens be kept in cages.  Organic animal husbandry also does not allow for the use of growth-regulating drugs, hormones, antibiotics and steroids, which ar...

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3 Comments | Posted in 0 By Sally Dunn

Digesting organic food - Part One

14 October 2013 9:07:42 PM AEDT

Let’s talk about organic food. The term ‘organic’ refers to all living organisms (or derived from) that contain carbon. The term itself probably does not mean a great deal to most of us. However, what this may explain is the scope this term has offered for savvy food and beverage manufacturers to get away with (or attempted to) in labelling their product ‘organic’. A ludicrous example of such misuse is the labelling of some bottled water brands ‘organic’. Water does not contain carbon, nor can it be certified organic, so thank goodness that one was brought to consumer’s attention, particularly if we were paying a price premium for that claim. It is important to realise here, that the labeling of foods is largely self-regulated and it’s often only a competitor or a consumer/s that catches a manufacturer out (think of the product Ribena being caught out by high school students in NZ over misleading claims of Vitamin C content on the label – none was detected during the science experiment).

So leaving the science speak behind, let’s focus on certified organic foods, derived from organic farming practices. Organic and farming were first linked together back in the 1940’s. However, it wasn’t until Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring was released in 1962, did modern organic practice and the environmental movement at large gain recognition. For those who are not familiar with Silent Spring, this book first identified the mass death of birds (the sound of Spring), following the widespread and indiscriminate use of DDT to kill mosquitoes in many countries (routinely sprayed overhead and at street level in residential streets) (Image of book taken from Rachel Carson.org). I have seen old footage of people standing in the streets of the US, being sprayed with DDT, as ‘proof’ it was safe (manufacturers propaganda). Needless to say, DDT was banned in many countries from the 1970’s onwards (Australia not until 1987 – and known to remain in soil for up to 15 years).

Our grandparents ...

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1 Comments | Posted in 0 By Sally Dunn