Can you spot the prawn?
For the life of me I don’t know what French chef Gabriel Gate is on about.
His claim that the practice of cooking is somehow imperiled seems to me, well spurious to say the very least.
A quick glance at the TV guide will reveal not just one, but a veritable plethora of cooking related shows, prime time, commercial stations, ratings juggernauts right through to obscure daytime programming.
If television is any kind of reflection of the tastes of the Australian public (and I’m not sure THAT many market research analysts can get it wrong ALL the time) Australians are obsessed with cooking. In fact, as much as any other, you could call it a national pass time.
In young males particularly, the number of men who can cook (and do so quite competently) now, compared with say fifty years ago, night and day comparison (to quote that other TV chef Gordon Ramsay).
Things like the ability to change a washer in a tap, the ability to install shelving, automotive maintenance, these are imperiled pursuits, cooking? it’s up there with texting as the growth industry for the new millennium.
There is of course one exception to this new-found-exhuberence for all things culinary.
While most kitchen posers would know exactly what a gespacho or miso soup is, they’d probably give you a blank stare if you asked for mulligatawny (is that anything like minestrone?) In fact our knowledge of, understanding of, familiarity with and general fondness for the recipes used in this country for the past couple of hundred years is in sharp decline.
I suspect the way a lot of Australians (and the rest of the world) views our traditional fare can be summarised by this brief stub of an article.
Allow me to paraphrase to save time. Few thousand years of aborigines eating half raw meat and dirt, along came convicts and spent a couple of hundred years picking peanuts out of poo, at long last after WWII along came a few squillion foreigners and ta da…finally there was something in Australia worth eating.
I’d say right off the bat that the content of the article I referenced and the sentiment of the preceeding paragraph are utter garbage.
There are several adjectives which spring to mind about our colonial culinary heritage, simple, rustic, honest, unpretentious, wholesome.
Given the world class standard of Australian ingredients, the unquestionable ingeniuety of our foodies, and our apparent obsession with food generally I see no reason whatsoever that traditional Australian colonial fare shouldn’t take it’s rightful place as a counter foil to the puffed up pretentious view of Australian food presented by shows like “masterchef”.
“just drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and cracked black pepper on that seasonal fruit compote would you?”