Sunday, October 30, 2011

Turf War – Where are you Jamie Oliver and Friends?


Let them eat thistles.

Speaking of Food, my undercover spy in Canberra tells me that weeds and wild greens are all the rage there in upmarket restaurants now. This is terrible news. Soon I won’t be able to find a dandelion or a bit of sheep’s sorrel to graze upon. 

What we need is for restaurateurs to offer elegant dishes with things like Cape Weed, Marrum Grass and Ragwort. Thistles wouldn’t be a bad place to start. They are related to globe artichokes and the Scots used to use them on bread.  I have quite a bit of Oxalis I’d like to get rid of too- it even grows on pure gravel, and it has quite a nice tart flavour.
The art of a true chef lies in making the unappetising palatable. Otherwise France would be overrun with snails and sparrows. No one would eat oysters, much less mountain oysters and hats off to whoever thought of marketing things like Chocolate coated ants, locusts and Bogong Moths as delicacies.

Not only are these abundant – enough for all and to spare, but this would serve several socially and environmentally useful purposes. Firstly, they would stop being noxious pets in our wild places and gardens. Secondly, it would provide green employment opportunities in harvesting, cultivation and transport.  We could even start an export industry and here’s where we should begin our experiments in Biofuel.
Lastly, but not leastly, I think there would be enormous satisfaction in getting some overpaid CEO to pay a premium for something like Burdock on a bed of delicately seasoned couch grass while we eat the good stuff. The first person to offer it to Alan Joyce with a straight face (CEO Qantas - just the latest in a long line to award himself a monstrous payrise while others lose their jobs)  will get my vote.

So come on all your Masterchefs. Stop wasting time with threads of saffron that cost a king's ransom and have to be imported, start with the things in our own backyard.  They would certainly be fresh and stop concern about Food Miles.*

And can we please see more rabbits on menus and supermarket offerings?
Cute though they are, they are another pest which is doing much too well.  It’s an excellent light, healthy meat and makes a nice change from beef and lamb or factory -farmed pigs and chickens. It also produces a much smaller carbon footprint or any other sort.
Why should pets have all the gourmet food?

*
If have one quarrel with the 100 mile food sourcing thing, for most of the year we in Tassie we would be stuck with coleworts of various kinds, potatoes and onions and would all have scurvy, if we don't already.

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