You are what you eat

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YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. I BELIEVE I MAY HAVE EATEN A WHALE. FADS OF ALL KINDS CREEP UP ON YOU. AND FOOD IS PARTICULARLY TREND-DRIVEN THESE DAYS IN UNPREDICTABLE, OCCASIONALLY UNPALATABLE AND OFTEN PRETENTIOUS WAYS.

Like, enough with the rocket already! Consuming mounds of this scratchy green that is but a poor substitute for salad is a gastronomical nightmare. Even cows balk at it. The stalks catch at the back of my throat and the leaves poke unceremoniously out of the corners of my mouth as I try to stuff them back in. I look like a very self-conscious (if slightly corpulent) giraffe. What’s wrong with a little iceberg lettuce every now and then?

I like sushi, though apparently I can’t pronounce it. Every time I say it my daughter corrects me. ‘Mum, it’s sooshi not sooshi.’ Huh? I’m now so nervous about the word, that I’m forced to order something I can actually pronounce, for example, a sausage roll. Or a plate of chips. While we’re on the subject of fried foods, whatever happened to wedges? For a while there, wedges with sour cream totally replaced the humble chip. Ah those were the days.

Then there’s the Paleo movement – ancient grains and stuff like that. These are the foods (and I use the term loosely) that used to be obtained from hunting and gathering. Why did our ancestors eat these foods? Because there were no restaurants or supermarkets. Der.

A well-known TV chef has probably come up with the most pretentious diet ever – Paleo of course. A typical day’s food for this ‘expert’ includes alkalised water (what IS that?), ‘activated’ almonds (you GO almonds!), cacao nibs, cultured vegies (I imagine they’re all on the plate, jostling for attention while they quote Shakespeare and sing arias from Rigoletto) and emu meatballs (doesn’t bear thinking about). Anyway I’m not sure I actually want to eat anything Paleo, including ancient grains. I prefer my grains to be more now and happening. As for a brontosaurus burger, can you imagine how tough that would be? And a bugger to slice.

Surely we’ve moved beyond the age of cave dwellers and dinosaurs? What next? Will the man next door knock me over the head with his rake and drag me unconscious into his cave as foreplay?

Menus in restaurants now are practically indecipherable. I keep seeing ‘labne’ and ‘sugo’. If they insist in introducing a new food term they should at least include a glossary and a pronunciation guide.

And what’s with this ‘pulled’ pork? Pulled lamb? I get a pulled muscle in my brain just thinking about this stuff. Food terminology is a dark art in itself. It sure sorts out the sheep from the lamb – avocado and potatoes and even peas are ‘smashed’ now instead of mashed. This smacks of a sort of devil-may-care anarchy when it comes to food prep which just screams ‘Look at me!’ ‘See how passionately violent I am with my avos?‘ As for the ‘bruised’ ginger salsa – are we going to eat this stuff or take out a DVO against the chef? If you want to be really pretentious, tell us where the produce comes from in the name. For example, double smoked free range Burpengary bacon, free range organic Kilcoy eggs and Caboolture wild (it must be wild) salmon. Stop mucking about and just give me some bacon and eggs, with a side of salmon, will you?

Another way to be truly unique and pretentious about food is to be surprising. I’ve seen ‘salmon pastrami’ and ‘filet au prawn’, for example, on menus. These strange juxtapositions are precisely what make the modern foodie salivate in anticipation of being on the culinary cutting edge. Of course it’s always good if you can serve extremely young produce like baby spinach, and baby beetroot. I quite like the odd childish sausage myself.

If you want to be totally innovative there’s a restaurant in Hartford that might do the trick. Try the entrée of almond-crusted South Texas antelope medallions, blue cheese risotto, wild mushrooms and cranberry gastrique. For dessert how about a mincemeat pie of Axis venison with sweet cornbread crust and lemon thyme sorbet? Or you can come to my place for bangers and mash