Tuesday, December 18, 2012

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
  • Kimchi

Food trends 

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.




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9 Comments:

Blogger Reemski said...

I think you're analysis of food trucks is spot on, but I don't know if the ones in Sydney are like the ones in Melbourne? We have a really good range and they all serve excellent food, not junky at all: http://www.sydneyfoodtrucks.com.au/trucks/

10:50 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

As the picture above atests, I think the Sydney food trucks rock :)

My biggest gripe with the food trucks are that sometimes the food appears over-priced in relation to quantity and often very long waiting time on both queuing up to order and getting food.

2:07 pm  
Blogger Johanna GGG said...

hope next year is a better one for you (though of course I wish you as much interesting travel - have always wanted to visit russia so am pleased to hear your positive reports)

my favourite prediction seen in a brit magazine is the rise of gourmet popcorn though it probably is in the junky category (depending on how you cook it)

And I agree that cancer is a scourge - I have been lucky enough not to be affected by deaths by cancer but seeing how terribly it has affected the lives of a few people around me makes me so sad

8:11 pm  
Blogger Johanna GGG said...

I meant to say this year - as some of the people I have seen affected by cancer are those close to me who have lost a love one to it

8:12 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

The carnival cookies in my last post have popcorn in them. Maybe I'm on trend for once? :) I like popcorn and it can be a healthy snack if you skip the salt and sugar. Wondering when we'll swing back to simple and jump off the gourmet bandwagon again?

8:23 am  
Blogger K said...

Sorry to hear that your year was so tough but pleased that you are starting to enjoy some foods again. Hope 2013 brings with it lots of good health for you and your loved ones!

9:42 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Thanks K. Hope the move West has gone well and you've recovered from culture shock. Hope to see you again in the NY for a glegan-friendly picnic.

10:06 am  
Blogger lisa said...

Very sorry to hear about your losses in 2012, Gill. I didn't realise your furry friend had passed on - too sad. See you soon x

12:13 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Thanks Lisa. The untimely demise of Princess Prissy Paws was bad timing indeed and I miss her everyday.

8:43 am  

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