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Are You A Food Wanker?


1. The following steps are required for making a green smoothie:


A. Put yoghurt, banana and green food colouring in the blender. Transfer from blender into cup.

B. Put yoghurt, banana, spinach, kale and milk into the blender. Transfer into cup. Drink.

C. Put yoghurt, banana, spinach, kale, spirulina, wheatgrass and almond milk into the blender. Transfer to jam jar. Insert whimsical vintage striped straw. Position on rustic wood surface. Take an aerial-view shot. Add filter. Hashtag #cleaneating. Post to Instagram. Drink.


2. Quinoa is pronounced:


A. “Kwee-Noh-Ahâ€

B. “Keen-Wahâ€

C. “It depends of course on which region of South America the quinoa comes from, and whether you’re talking about royal red quinoa, which in my opinion is far superior in terms of its nutrient content, and in terms of…oh, you’ve stopped listening.â€


3. Kale tastes:


A. Like an unholy hybrid of spinach and wet newspaper. Doused in olive oil and lemon, it STILL tastes bitter. Are you sure it’s an edible vegetable?

B. It depends on how it’s prepared. Kale chips, for example, are pretty great.

C. Like I’m cradling the very elixir of life on my tongue. #MyBodyIsATemple.


4. Gluten is:


A. Really bad for you if you’re a celiac or gluten intolerant, right?

B. In way too many things these days, which is why more and more people become intolerant to it. It’s not easy on your system at all

C. Gluten? Where? WHERE? OMG did I get some on me? I was assured this quiz was gluten freeeeeee!


5. The chicken you ate for dinner came from:


A. The refrigerator

B. A free-range butcher

C. A farm (although they prefer to be called an ‘animal retreat’) on the outskirts of Sydney called ‘Greener Pastures’. You’ve been to visit to ensure she had a happy life before ending up on your plate. Her name was Martha and she enjoyed watching CSI.


6. How do you ensure the seafood you buy is sustainable?


A. I buy it frozen. It ‘sustains’ for ages in the freezer.

B. I know that you’re meant to go for wild salmon instead of farmed, and smaller fish instead of larger. Bluefin tuna is a no-no

C. I have an app that tells me how sustainable the fish is, and what impact the catching of said fish have on the marine eco-system. Plus, if you buy a whole fish, you can look into its eyes and tell the kind of life it has lived.

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When I was in the trade, a while ago, occasionally some hairy hippy veggies, would open a cafe, with jam jars for drinking, cutlery and plates from the Salvation Army op-shops, furniture from the inorganic rubbish collection and food from the bottom of rabbit hutches. They were "trendy". And oh so f**kin righteous.

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Food Wank (1)


One of life’s pleasures is eating! I love food. I love eating out and I love eating at home. I love old style, home cooked dishes, I love trying exciting new dishes. I love all different nationality cuisines. I’ll try anything at least once. One thing I am definitely not, is a fussy old fart when it comes to eating.

I love cooking. I love dinner parties. I love quiet little cheap eats and I love more up market dining. I appreciate good, well-cooked food and I will eat anything that this put in front of me (with one exception, explained later.)

I pride myself that there are only 3 things I do not like. Halva because of the texture, it is like eating calcified bone. Abalone because of the taste and texture, although I have to admit I have probably never eaten it cooked correctly. Thirdly a spice I have never identified. As referred to earlier, I once sent back a meal in an Italian restaurant in Lygon Street, Melbourne because I nearly gagged on the taste. It was a whole barbequed calamari, which had a dreadful tasting spice on it.

There are many things that I chose not to eat, which is different from not liking the taste. Namely, McDonald’s on principle and many other US fast foods; bagels, because they are so hard to chew and really quite boring, plus lots of tasteless cereals that are supposed to be good for me but bore me to tears.

But there is one thing that I detest, yet amuses me at the same time, FOOD WANK! To be more precise, PRETENTIOUS FOOD WANK!




Upmarket restaurant menus are full of it, restaurant reviews are dripping with it and TV lifestyle and reality programs are drowning in it. For God’s sake people its food we’re talking about here! Menus and reviews that ooze superlative descriptions are often laughable. I recently read the following description in a restaurant review:

“Next was a foray into some meat, we were really impressed by the North side intellectual steak choices, flank, flat Iron and hanger steaks. These are indeed the thinking person’s steaks because of their texture and flavor. We chose the hanger, a unique cut one per cow hanging between the liver and kidney resulting in subtle offal flavours.â€

Now that is food wank!

You may have noticed that I called this blog posting, Food Wank 1, because of the plethora of issues to write on this topic, further postings are inevitable as examples of it arise all the time.

Ok, lets have a few examples of ingredient wank. I have often groaned aloud when reading food supplements in newspapers and Paulette will mutter, without looking up from her cryptic crossword, “What is it now?â€


These are a few groanables from recent recipes/reviews.


Champagne foam (what is it with foam these days? Breathe heavily and it’s on someone else’s plate)


Salt sprinkled butter (??)


Skate cartilage (picked up from a skate park presumably)


Steamed Flinders Island Ceylon spinach (I have to assume it comes from Sri Lanka via Flinders Island or is it perhaps steamed on Flinders Island and rushed here before it gets cold?)


Dainty carrot flowers (ever seen one?)


Slow-cooked egg yolk (the mind boggles)


Ash-grilled duck (I visualise it being a bit gritty)


Hand-dived scallop (give me strength!)


Duck tongue (would I recognise it on a plate?)


Fleur de sel hand harvested. (I had to look this up. It is hand scraped salt from little rock pools around the Mediterranean. A tad time consuming I would have thought. Although with the other hand they could dive for scallops)


I first encountered food wank when the term nouvelle cuisine raised its ridiculous head. Suddenly one went to an “upmarket†restaurant and when the main course appeared it was on a gigantic white plate, with the miniscule piece of meat artistically contorted, accompanied by one beautifully splayed brussel sprout, two or three peas placed just so and a fluff of mashed potato. The dish cost an arm and a leg and you would need to call in for a pizza on the way home! This is a boon for the restaurant’s bottom line but totally galling for the likes of yours truly who likes to tuck into a good meal.

Now I’m not a philistine when it comes to fine cuisine. I truly appreciate innovative dishes made with fresh ingredients, cooked well and presented in an appetising way. But I want to be fed. I don’t want so little on my plate that I have to pick up each pea and savour it in mouth to experience it’s exquisite texture. I don’t want to look at my meal and not know wether to eat it or wear it!

These days with reality food shows, celebrity chefs and the ultimate poncification of cuisine, I sometimes shudder at where it will all end. We have chefs scientifically experimenting with food, making delicious desserts look like a boiled egg in an egg cup accompanied by fake toast soldiers. I read of a bowl of fish soup which looked like a pond with floating leaves and realistic ripples. I mean, what self indulgent crap, yet people fawn over these ridiculous chefs and fight tooth and nail to get a seat in their restaurants.

Then of course there are degustation menus for the discerning diner. If ever there was a more self-indulgent lot of codswallop, I am yet to find it! This overpriced pretentious charade is one of the latest examples of WANK. Up to and above a dozen courses for your delectation, all lovingly created and fondled by some overblown and in some cases over-exposed chef. Now I would be the first to admit that the courses are a wonderous taste sensation in many cases. However to subject the diner to the humiliation of , for example, a soup served in an espresso coffee cup and a miniature spoon is ludicrous to the extreme. I want to experience these wonderful taste sensations but please spare me the WANK!


Modern cuisine for me suffers in one main area. By the time a dish is put in front of me in a restaurant, particularly an upmarket restaurant, I get the impression that half a dozen pairs of hands had been pawing over it, contorting it into some post-modern abstraction that leaves me bewildered as to how to begin eating it. I remember when a sizzle plate brought to the table was impressive. Now it is not beyond the realms of possibility to be accompanied by a fog that envelops the tables and everyone else’s food. I saw a Monty Python sketch a while ago, depicting a talking cow that was carried to the table and informed the diners which were its tastiest bits. Not too far hence I would suggest!

Another wankified procedure doing the rounds of the pretentious table these days is the deconstruction of traditional dishes. This is where old favourites, have their basic ingredients separated and put together in fancy dress so that they are unrecognisable. Other than the reason “because we can†and “aren’t I a smart-arseâ€, I can see no valid reason for this nonsense. I recently saw a photograph in a magazine, which I probably shouldn’t show for copyright reasons. It looked like some kindergarten kid had piled food on a plate to make a castle. It was accompanied with the following description.

“The lasagna is deconstructed – multi-coloured tubes of pasta filled with creamy leek béchamel and surrounded by sugar peas, baby carrots and a couple of crisp, bright purple shards of potatoâ€

I suspect the un-deconstructed lasagna would have been more inviting.


I hereby include my artistic deconstruction of a bowl of museli, containing the following ingredients:


Golden hand-husked oats, roasted slowly over warm coals of mulga roots.


Raw organic almonds shelled before sunrise from a bonsai almond tree in Hokaido.


Botoxed cranberries picked individually in California


Date(s) picked and washed in the Tigris river during Lent.




And here follows some recent howlers from creative menu designers.


Shreds of pork jowl on thin rounds of baguette with provolone and a little dab of raspberry coulis

Kingfish carpaccio with seaweed fronds


Duck with caramelized witlof, licorice puree, semi-dried mandarin and shavings of chestnut.

……… underpinned by a painted stripe of nettle puree

……… silky squid-ink-squiggled crayfish sauce playing a decadent supporting role.

Gratin of Paris mash ???? WTF!


And my favourite of late …


A plate of camellia leaves, their waxy flesh removed with mineral lime revealing lacy spines dusted with spice powder. (I often find these in my compost!)


And to finish a wanky cooking method.


SOUS VIDE – is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times—96 hours or more, in some cases.


While you’re waiting you could go hand diving for scallops!

I really feel as though all these pretentious and wanky aspects of the food and dining industry should be treated with the derision they deserve. And I shall continue to observe them and hold them up to ridicule in future posts.

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Down here in Middle Earth, we have an Abalone that is black, called Paua. Best method, beat moderately with a beer bottle, bbq on a hot grill for less than a minute both sides. Eat. Very nice!

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