Food is still all over the news… “The NSW Food Authority has found the batch of John Bull Tuna linked to the Soul Origin tuna salad food poisoning scare in Sydney to be safe but found the salad to contain nearly 20 times the safe levels of scombroid histamine“, Red Rooster food chain claims of “nothing artificial” have been challenged and supermarket giant “Coles was ordered to cough up a $2.5 million penalty in the Federal Court on Friday afternoon, ending a two-year battle with the consumer watchdog over the false and misleading claims it made about its “freshly baked” bread.”
Out of the berry fiasco came a market opportunity for local frozen berries that may not have had impetus otherwise, with Australia’s first commercial frozen berries, Matilda’s, set to be on the shelves by June.
It’s about time we paid attention the food we’re spending our hard-earned cash on. With businesses citing costs as the reason for pro-imports and anti-labelling consumers can exert influence via their spending behaviours. Regardless of their talk, if it means changing to stay in business, they’ll walk the walk.
The demand for transparent information is evidenced by new smartphone apps… “a new wave of barcode-scanning ones are giving consumers increasing power and intensifying pressure on companies to provide more information at a level never seen before“.
There’s no doubt from a consumer’s point of view full disclosure in food production and labelling is necessary. But for that to happen… and it will happen… it’s up to consumers. What we spend money on is a direct message.
My favoured option is farmers market for fresh food. Ask questions of the people selling it. Where does it come from, how was it grown, when was it picked… just have a chat. Go back the next week, they’ll probably remember you and continue the conversation… walking talking food labels.
If like me you can’t always get to a farmers market… food shopping gets trickier. It’s more than likely we’ll end up in a supermarket wondering about the merits of label statements & ingredients and supermarket organic-free range-pasture raised. What goes on the checkout docket is my opportunity to make a statement about the sorts of product I will buy.
Is organic worth it? I think so. Regardless of where you live the Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen fruits and vegetables designated by the U.S. Environmental Working Group is a good guideline.
“EWG singles out produce with the highest pesticide loads for its Dirty Dozen™ list. This year, it is comprised of apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes…
EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ list of produce least likely to hold pesticide residues consists of avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides on them.”
I do better when I have a checklist -mental or otherwise- of good products I’ve researched. Flavour Crusader is great for reference checking local, free-range and organic produce in Australia. If I find a good product, I keep buying it. If the selections are unfamiliar I consider alternatives but leave empty-handed if I’m not happy with the offerings.
Details details… one small independent supermarket near me promotes itself as selling “certified organic groceries, fresh fruit, market-fresh vegetables, artisan breads, fresh meat, gourmet brands, fresh & frozen meals and specialized products”. Sounds good, except when it first opened the blackboard at the door advertised “fresh produce daily”; now it advises “produce checked daily for freshness”.
“Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn’t believing.
It’s where belief stops, because it isn’t needed any more.”
Note: Every day I eat. Every now and then I blog about food: I thought it only fair on occasion to share what passes as a recipe for something I’ve made. We’re a 2 person household. All quantities and times are approximate. Additions and substitutions may be made according to preference, taste and availability. Where possible I use pastured/free range/organic produce and improvise using ingredients I have on hand.
Easy weeknight food: Pork Meatballs made with farmers market produce and ingredients to hand.
Combine by hand 500 grams of free range ground pork mince with a finely chopped sourdough bread roll and small onion, an egg, a dollop of oyster sauce and a pinch each of ginger & white pepper.
Toss quartered potatoes and golden beetroot in canola oil and salt. Bake in hot oven.
Top and tail snowpeas and blanche with boiling water. Run under cold water, then drain. Add to bowl with sliced red bull pepper and slices of baked golden beetroot. Toss with crunchy noodles and dressing made from Chinese black vinegar, sesame oil and honey.
The G.O. loves sausages. With few exceptions I’m not a fan. We compromise with meatballs aka rissoles… and given my stepmother’s renditions comprising only a ball of overcooked unseasoned minced meat, I wasn’t a fan of them either until I made my own.
My usual method for meatballs is to bake them as it enables me to quickly make enough for 2 night’s dinners and 2 freezer containers, but my last couple of efforts have been so-so.
This time I enlisted the assistance of the G.O. who other than being the Mashed Potato King prefers to exercise his culinary expertise via the outdoor barbeque at Taylors Arm leaving city-weeknight-kitchen food to me. He took the bait! shaped the meatballs and set them into a frypan with a little canola oil. We had a glass of wine while they sizzled, remarking how the comforting sound took us back to our childhoods. The taste of the food did too.
The G.O. is a generous meatball maker and eater but there was enough for 2 night’s of dinners.