(Taken from an article posted in The Age on March 9, 2010)
I was galled when I first read this list in the paper, thinking how terrible it was that my fellow Australians were prioritising so many carby desserts and starchy savouries when it came to their attempts at cooking.
But then I realised that this list was actually more likely to be a sign that Australians simply don't know much about cooking desserts and other somewhat-discombobulating food items. For items such as meatloaf and butter chicken, their non-Australian origin means that for many of us, the components of those meals are just as foreign and difficult to deduce without a recipe - especially when packaged versions have more ingredients than your average chemistry set.
Still, inclusions such as the very popular pumpkin soup search (are they finding my recipe?) and potato bake (why is that one perceived as being so complicated??) are quite disturbing, since they - along with the basic baked goods - are a clear indicator that the average Australia has not been taught how to cook at even the most fundamental level.
I'm left feeling very proud that I was given time to experiment in the kitchen as a child, that I studied Home Economics at school, and that I made it a personal mission to learn how to cook a wide variety of foods back in 2006. I now have the courage to experiment with the foods I like and trust, and have not turned to my old cook books for many moons. Occasionally I'll do an open recipe search for quantity suggestions when playing with new foods (i.e. chicken liver), but that's about it. And I'm really passionate about kids learning what constitutes nourishing food, and how to prepare it. Note: I will never switch disciplines and become a Home Ec. teacher - even though it would give me hands-on access as a facilitator of nutrition understanding in the next generation, I could never maintain a positive outlook in the face of 25 frying pans full of burning mushrooms and spitting fat.... Nuh-uh.
Until then, I'll keep my talks with students to the casual side of the curriculum, and continue to play with the preparation of my food and share it with you guys, if that's okay by you :)
Breakfast: bacon and eggs, fried in ghee. Still playing around with ghee, but everything seems to stick when I use it! Might go back to coconut oil, since I have such a plentiful supply at the moment.
Dinner: Copped out and bought a roast chicken after a long rehearsal and walk home. Delicious!
Breakfast: bacon and eggs, plus a wild, hurried picking of the leftover chook carcass - next time I'll be doing it before I put on my make-up in the morning... Smeary...
Forgot to pack a lunch, and had a Monash University tutorial to lead after normal classes, followed by an audition with a prestigious Melbourne choir, so no time to eat until afterwards - at 10:30pm! I thought long and hard about whether I should just fast til breakfast, but decided against it. Next week I'm going for it! (Yep, the audition was a success :)
Late dinner: lamb forequarter chops fried in butter and dried basil, plus a bit of leftover beef snag & cheddar frittata that the beau had left for dead in the fridge. Yum!
Breakfast: pork chops and eggs. I've been eating more eggs than I'd like to just to get my fat intake up. Still too much protein, not enough fat, most days...
Another long day, another skipped lunch, another choir, another late dinner!
Late dinner: picked up another chook, and ate the tasty bits. It wasn't from the usual place, and wasn't very enjoyable, given that my brain was screaming 'Industrial vegetable oils! Eeeeek!'
Breakfast: eggs and bacon, again.
Lunch: leftover chicken - the breasts that the beau usually prizes (he'd already eaten last night). I still don't get the appeal - so dry and lacking in taste... Bleh.
Dinner - entree: I fried up some eggs and smoked salmon for a gourmet snack whilst I waited for the beau to arrive home.
Dinner - main: Then we both sat down to a plate of lamb shank and pork ribs! I had the shank out to slow-cook, but hadn't found the time and was getting nervous re: spoilage, so into the oven it went! Tasty, though a bit dry despite being coated in coconut oil. Ah, high temperature cooking, norty norty....
I cut out grains, sugar and starches at the beginning of 2009. I have been keeping a journal as I have progressively shed my bulges and my processed foods. I am aiming to live a clean, primal lifestyle, and I wish to share my eating habits with those who wish to clean up their lifestyle and live happily and healthfully. As the cliche states - if I can do it, so can everybody else.