Charcuterie fetish object

Diecast Meat Slicer

At the Art Deco exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria I noticed a diecast meat slicer made by Hobart that looked as if it was developed for the charcuterie needs of 1950s astronauts. I immediately wondered if anything of the like was available in my price range. The answer is not even remotely.

But I did find the above on Ebay for $15.

Despite a nice patina of wear, the blade remains sharp. It slices through home-made bacon with ease. It shaves salami in thin, papery slices. It has a degree of difficulty that makes it a danger to use; a little like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time while holding a fistful of razor blades in one hand and a ham in the other. In other words, my idea of a perfect utensil.

Diecast Meat Slicer, clamp detail
Detail of the clamp. I like that the designers added an overhanging lip that secures the meat slicer to the edge of the table.


I’d love to know any more details out there about this diecast meat slicer. Beneath the slicer the imprint reads:

Automatic Production Limited
Repetition & Manufacturing


Registered Design No. 42073

There is no date, but I’d take a guess from the fonts used on the side of the slicer that it is from the 50s.

Cambodian food reviewing: You’re doing it right.

It turns out that with only three months left in 2008, Cambodian is not the new Thai. But what has changed over the year is the tone of reviewing. Reviewers are starting to understand how to eat Cambodian food.

This week the NY Times revisits two Cambodian restaurants in New York. The results are mixed, but at least they’re eating well:

No meal in Cambodia is complete without soup, or samlor, and the versions found here are the real deal, a pitched battle between sour and sweet, whether teeming with turmeric (samlor mchoo kroeurng, $14.95) or chunky with tomato and pineapple (samlor mchoo moen, $13.95).

Last Appetite turns one.

The Last Appetite is one year old today (if you don’t count the placeholder post that I made a few months prior to real launch). In that time, I’ve eaten in six different countries, written 100-odd posts and according to my spam protection, I’ve received 4,300 spam comments.

It’s my 1004th day of food blogging since kicked off with a very bad fish amok recipe.

Fremantle microbreweries

In 1871, the Australian state of Victoria contained 126 breweries. By 1987, there was effectively one. For all the new micro-brewed beer that has lubricated the gullets of Australians in the subsequent twenty years from 1987, at present two breweries control 90% of the Australian beer market. There are microbreweries who chip at the edges of the CUB and Lion Nathan oligopoly; who run around them in mesmerising circles and win umpteen beer awards.

Microbreweries who have little real impact on Australia’s wider drinking culture.

Australia had a microbrew culture in the mid-1800s, as did anywhere that brewed beer. Beer does not travel well in a hot climate and so there was much impetus to create it as near as possible to where the drinkers were. In the absence of refrigeration, drinking the local ale was the only choice even if a good deal of the beer created was indescribably awful. In 1855, a correspondent for the Herald described beer served at a Governor’s ball as:

..not a nice ale, or any good wholesome malt mixture, but a villainous compound…Poor Captain of the 12th took a bold draught, but when he set down his tumbler he cast a look upwards that was like the beer itself – he seemed thunderstruck

Once again Australia has started to brew more local beers but the real penetration of microbrews into Australian life hasn’t happened yet.

Except for in Fremantle.

Sail And Anchor Tasting
The tasting set from Sail and Anchor

The bellwether for drinking culture is the shift worker. What they crack open as their breakfast beer is the best indicator for what the masses drink. When you see fish processors who have barely had a chance to scrape the scales and grime from their hands turn up to the bar at Little Creatures in Fremantle and down a pint of freshly brewed pale ale for breakfast then you know that a revolution in Australian brewing is upon us. Welcome back to the 1800s.

In Fremantle, it is more difficult to find a non-local beer than one brewed in the immediate vicinity. Brewpub Sail and Anchor (tasting glasses, above) had four local brews on: a lager, wheat beer, a bitter India Pale Ale and their dependable Brass Monkey Stout.

Madmonk brewery beers

Relative newcomer Madmonk brewery put on a display of German-ness with a smoked beer (rauchbier), k├Âlsch, witbier, as well as an IPA and a porter (above) in a Fremantle-appropriate beer garden.

Madmonk brewery

The only thing left to do in Fremantle was order some whitebait and fend off the seagulls.

Madmonk, 33 South Terrace, Fremantle

Sail and Anchor, 64 South Terrace, Fremantle.

Little Creatures Brewery, 40 Mews Road, Fremantle