Welcome to Year 5 of my Christmas vigil to commemorate Footscray Market‘s inability to publish their Christmas/New Year’s opening hours online. Consider my annual dose of community service done. Here are the trading hours:
The Jonas family grows pork that makes most other pork taste like that foamy pizza topping ham-substitute. If you’ve ever planned to cut down on how much meat you eat and then reward yourself with the best, this is it. You’ll remember where you were the first time that you ate it. Tammi Jonas is a friend, so that completely colours my view of their success and probably, the bacon.
But to paraphrase Amartya Sen, there’s no such thing as an apolitical food problem, and the problem that they’re solving agrees with my politics.
Maybe it’s me getting older, but I’ve started thinking more about food in the long term rather than day-to-day eating. Guaranteeing the future supply of the food that I want to eat is just as important as eating it in the short term. Part of that problem is how to put a relatively small amount of capital upfront to ensure that it happens. As much as I can do that at my local butchers or supermarket with what I buy in the short term, there is no transparency of supply.
I’ve updated my Australian Food Blog list: it will forever be incomplete but the best that I can do. I’ve decided to stop tracking bloggers who receive free meals, cash or other incentives in exchange for writing posts because I can’t keep up with them and for the most part don’t ever read them.
It’s safer to assume that all do or will unless they categorically state otherwise.
Bloggers that aren’t open to free things are incredibly rare; probably numbering less than a dozen amongst the entirety of Australia’s hundreds of food blogs. Australia doesn’t have an independent food writing community, we have one that is increasingly bonded to the restaurant industry, corporate PR and advertisers. Some of this is positive: more insider views from the food industry; fascinating feedback loops between diners and chefs; blogger-led events; deeper criticism of marketing tactics.
[pullquote position="right"]Just as an aside on the probiotic juice: I can’t imagine the scale of the legal risk when a company is not correcting false health claims made by bloggers that it has sponsored to post about it. Probiotics probably don’t do anything. [/pullquote]
Most just adds to the Internet’s neverending pile of detritus like another few hundred gushing reviews of probiotic juice and dim paragraphs for Urbanspoon.
Recompiling the list made me realise is that how little diversity there is amongst the Australian food blogs. Almost all either contain unfocused restaurant reviews or random recipes but it makes the ones that don’t stand out gloriously: local blogs like Fitzroyalty or Footscray Food Blog, the callous wit of cooksuck, or the short-lived noodle illustration blog.
When most people are inspired to write a food blog, they’re more inspired to clone a food blog that already exists. Part of this is natural. It is much easier to sate the urge to start a personal online food diary rather than it is to plan for the future of a blog or pick a particular, sustainable niche that won’t bore you to death. Part of it is slavishly following convention. I own the same f1.4 lens that everyone else does and that influences the terrible short depth of field cliché shots that I take.
A good deal of the blogs on the list are no longer updated, but I don’t want to remove them. I’m trying to work on a solution to auto-update the list by frequency of posts.
A while back there was a discussion amongst West Footscray locals about the etymology of the suburb’s abbreviation “wefo”, a discussion started by its commodification by this $65 cushion from design gallery Post Industrial Design. I’d first seen the suburb referred to as WeFo in an email from November 2008 so the abbreviation’s history predates its growing popularity as a hashtag on Twitter and at a guess, probably started when people began to feel uncomfortable about gentrification and needed an ironic response.
And what’s more ironic and discomfiting than buying it, and wearing it on a tshirt.
Click through on the below images to buy in your choice of colour and style. Prices start at $17.
You know what the average shopper at Coles Supermarket fears? Robots. Giant robots who touch their food. This secret informs their latest sleight of hand that boasts that their home delivered food is “Hand picked, hand packed and hand delivered”.
Coles’ food is however, picked and packed by giant robots at some point in its journey from factory to you. Here’s the video of that happening:
SSI Schaeffer, who installed the systems, are quite proud of their achievements. From their press release:
Automated picking solutions at Coles’ two national distribution centers align with the companywide strategy to deliver store-ready stock more efficiently. Supply Chain Review goes inside the Melbourne facility to inspect the world-class system. At least part of the supply chain transformation of supermarket giant Coles is being handled not by people, but by robots. Automated picking solutions at Coles’ two key national distribution centers (NDCs) in Sydney and Melbourne are, according to the retailer, providing significantly improved store-friendly deliveries while minimizing end-to-end supply chain costs and making warehousing operations safer and more efficient.
(emphasis is mine)
Moreover, almost all of the processed food that goes into Coles’ deliveries was picked and packed by robots (or at least, some automated system) at the original manufacturer. So why the sudden bout of robophobia from one of Australia’s supermarket duopoly?
Welcome to the coopting of handmade. Western luxury is no longer defined by owning perfect objects but by having the time to select pieces that display the tell-tale imperfections of the human hand. It’s what you probably stare longingly at on Pinterest. Just like “artisanal” before it, now well dead and obituarised by The Atlantic, major corporations now battle to appear as if real humans touched their things and by doing so, render the terms meaningless.
I’m no longer certain whether any of these terms are redeemable, but at the very least, we can point out the most egregious of lies.