2012 in review - don't bang the door on your way out
I’m ready to slam the door on 2012. Really, it’s been a c*nt of a year.
They’ve been three deaths: my mother, my cat (truly my familiar) and an old friend. I rail against the creep of cancer into the lives of peers. It feels like a sniper is picking off so many wonderful women in their forties, leaving behind bewildered men and children whose lives are forever altered.
But back to food.
I think I lost my appetite this year. The paucity of recipes posted would suggest so. My return to the Northern Hemisphere, after over half my lifetime away, smashed the barrier between me and the world and I started seeing again. But tasting? It took until I got to Russia, the place I feared I’d starve for a week due to my pernickety food intolerances, to wake up my tastebuds. It was a country that brings your senses to life but perhaps that’s partially due to the reptilian brain being activated, so much strangeness in a strange land.
Pleased to report that I’m fully tasting again and loving:
- Watermelon, even it’s sticky juices dribbling down my chin (which is a big deal for a Virgo).
- Watermelon and strawberry juice. What’s not to love about a cheery pink juice?
- Homemade vegan iced chocolate, made with a spicy Aztec powder, spiked with a stick of cassia bark.
- Juiced apple, cucumber, lemon and mint – transformed into oh-my-goddess-these-are-amazing icy poles. Perfect coolers on a hot day.
- And wondering what apple, sorrel and cucumber icy poles would be like?
- Carnival cookies.
- Smoked tofu, vegetable, chilli and garlic stir fries – my go to meal this season. An oldie but a goodie.
- So too Asian style coleslaws.
Mourning the end of my last batches of homemade:
- Vanilla extract (in my grief fog I forget to continue to replenish what I’d believed was an endless jar of vodka soaked vanilla beans)
- Red chilli preserved in vinegar
- Mauritian pickles
Twelve months ago I looked into my culinary crystal ball and channelled the rise of coconut, macaroons (not macarons for a change) and local honey, with middling degrees of accuracy.
For 2013 – I don’t like what I see. I fear the gourmet-ising of junk food will continue. There’s been hot dogs, burgers and silly little sliders dominating dinning landscape from food trucks and corner pubs, to restaurants that could do so much better.
Why I dislike this trend is that it’s a cheap cop out. The punter fills up on bread, there’s varying degrees of quality and quantity of protein and paltry vegetable content. It requires minimum skill and gains maximum profit.
George Calombaris vows that the ''souvlaki is the new burger” and I don’t doubt it. Sadly I predict the trend will continue ‘til chefs (and their accountants) run out of cheap junk food to glamourize.
Perhaps all this meaty stuff (don’t get me started on the rise of meatballs, schnitzel and other carnivorous old favourites) is a reaction against the increasing vegetarian presence in one food-laden corner of the city. Brunswick Street and environs is becoming a veritable Golden Triangle for those who eschew the flesh (or just want a break from it between burgers). With Madame K, Yong Green, Lord of the Fries and the perennially packed Vegie Bar expanding their eco terrain in the main part of the strip, within spitting distance of Mr Natural, The Moroccan Soup Bar and Trippy Taco. There’s talk of South veganizing Collingwood and already a new vegan café within the Golden Triangle that promises Vegusto toasties in the New Year.
There will be more food trucks, I promise you there will, but will they be slaughtering their own pigs or fermenting their own nut cheese? I don't know.
During 2013 I fear even greater polarization between those who choose either the flesh or the bean. And both will come out victorious in their own sweet way.
How’s your year been? What are you loving at the moment? Do you agree with my food predictions (just between you and me I hope I’m wrong)? Have you got any of your own?
Goodbye 2012 – don’t slam the door on your way out.