Musings about Food

I love food! Eating a delicious, warm meal fills me with a sense of contentment, a kind of happiness. There are a number of aspects about food that I love …other than how good it can taste!

Food reflects history. It is often said that “history is written by the victor”. It is therefore a biased view or what happened. Food shows us history in a more unbiased way. A local dish can tell us about scarcity, ingenuity borne of necessity and thrift. Every culture and cuisine has its version of nose to tail eating derived from the need to use all of the animal and avoid waste. Another dish can tell of excess, wealth and gluttony e.g. royal cuisines. It can tell a story of migration and adjusting to new lands and cultures e.g. Nyonya cuisine. Historical foreign influences also show up in local food, for example, the French influence in the Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich and Pho. Local dishes reflect the local climate and available resources e.g. Korean kimchi.

In many cultures, love and hospitality is expressed through food instead of words. A special dish made to nourish a loved one is a form of giving care, time and love. Memories of loved ones long passed can come rushing back with the tasting of certain dishes and the act of making their recipes. Food is central to a warm welcome and kind hospitality.

Food can be used to change our future as well. An overall decrease in the amount of meat eaten can shift the needle on climate change. Eating more locally can reduce the transportation emissions. Healthier eating is a strong factor in preventative medicine.

There are products that are complete meal substitutes to allow a person to avoid any meal preparation and minimize time spent consuming food. This may suit people who consider food only as fuel for their bodies but for others, replacing real food with a meal substitute slurry is akin to turning off the colour to the world and surviving only in shades of grey! A lot is lost!

What are your thoughts about food? Who do you nourish?

Eyre Peninsula – seafood and wild coastlines

We left Port Hughes in the Yorke Peninsula with a spectacular sunset and headed onwards to explore the Eyre Peninsula.

Sunset after a rainy day at Port Hughes
Working fishing boats at a marina at Port Lincoln

Port Lincoln and the other towns of the Eyre Peninsula are towns that have seafood and grain industries. The Eyre Peninsula is famed for its seafood and it was indeed the freshest, most local seafood I’ve ever tasted. There’s also something about eating seafood when you can feel the ocean breeze on your face!

Oysters at Fumo 21 in Port Lincoln
Oysters at 1802 in Coffin Bay
Mussels at 1802 in Coffin Bay

The small coastal towns of South Australia have often a similar feel and configuration about them. They will almost have a jetty, some old buildings, old artillery pieces, grain silos, vacation homes and a caravan park. They common thread is how neat and tidy they all are. Often, a strong sense of community can be felt in the small thoughtful touches around town like the local art displayed at the public toilets or the public art works at tourist vantage points.

We saw a lot of wild and windy coastlines in the Eyre Peninsula. They are treacherous and beautiful.

Coffin Bay National Park
Coffin Bay National Park
Coffin Bay National Park
Coffin Bay National Park

The amazing thing is, despite the wild coastlines, there are also quiet, calm, protected bays.

Yangie Bay at Coffin Bay National Park
Coffin Bay National Park
Stamford Hill Lookout at Lincoln National Park

Just south of Streaky Bay are the Murphy’s Haystacks. These amazing rock formations are an aberration on flat farming land!

Murphy’s Haystacks, south of Streaky Bay
Murphy’s Haystacks, south of Streaky Bay
Shark Free Streaky Bay Jetty Pool

Streaky Bay has an ocean pool built to the jetty due so people can swim without worry about sharks. In the local Shell fuel station, there is a replica of a 5m white pointer shark that was caught off these waters.

That’s it for this post. Stay well!

Dry Season in Darwin

The dry season has arrived in Darwin and fun events are filling up the calendar! The Mindil Sunset Markets are held twice a week and we’ve had a few wonderful one-off events like the Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival and an Opera Gala with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra on the Darwin Waterfront. The wet season afternoon tropical downpours have stopped and the oppressive humidity has significantly reduced. What a relief! The early mornings are gently cool and the evenings are the perfect temperature for a stroll.

A few weeks ago, the Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival was held and it stretched along the striking Nightcliff coastline. It was stunning to see the colourful coastline and feel the ocean breeze as we perused the food stalls and watched local performers on multiple stages. It’s really heart-warming to see a lovely community events where you can see a diverse cross-section of the Darwin community enjoying themselves.  This cross-section includes the whole bunch of happy dogs in attendance too!

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Nightcliff Colourful Rocky Coastline

We made a yummy food discovery during this festival. It must be a Darwin creation! It’s the roti wrap. We had the beef rendang wrap. Tender, flavourful beef rendang, crunchy fresh carrot slivers, satay sauce all wrapped up in a giant roti paratha. It was filling, tasty and portable. Perfect festival food! (Sorry, too busy eating for a photo!)

Tree Roots

Tree with Exposed Roots

Check out this picture of a tree on the Nightcliff coastline. How often do you feel like that in life? Like the very roots anchoring you have become exposed and you may collapse into the crashing waves and rocks below. I have to return to this spot. I think the tree is probably still standing straight and tall because it’s roots actually go much deeper and it can withstand much more. (I hope so anyway, to make my life analogy more inspiring!)

Last night, we had a magical evening of opera under the moon and stars at the Darwin Waterfront and only for the cost of a gold coin donation. Some of the big names from Australia’s Opera community sang some operatic highlights whilst accompanied by the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. What a cultured event made totally accessible to the average person!  Nothing better than laying on a picnic blanket with a few delectable nibbles and being treated to a display of amazing musical talent. To put the cherry on top, there was a glorious fireworks display to finish off! What a great event!

Darwin Symphony Orchestra at the Darwin Waterfront

Darwin Symphony Orchestra at the Darwin Waterfront

People relaxing with their picnics ready to watch an Opera Gala.

People relaxing with their picnics ready to watch an Opera Gala.

Twice a week in the dry season, the Mindil Sunset Markets are open and the best thing about them in my opinion is the Sunset Oyster Bar. You can get a dozen natural oysters for only $20 and oysters with all kinds of delicious toppings for a tiny bit more. They’re such an indulgence and so good! I might go again tonight just for the oysters!

There are lots of other aspects of the Mindil Sunset markets which are lovely. The stalls are lined up under a whole bunch of big, green, shady trees. When you get your delicious food from the stall, you can cut through the dune and sit on the beach or you can lay your picnic rug down on the grassed area and consume your delicious finds whilst listening to some local performers. If you are looking for an unusual souvenir, this is the place! There are lots of interesting, unusual and unique things to buy. It’s pretty crowded but that’s sign of how good it is. Locals and tourists rub shoulders and enjoy the evening together in this relaxing location.

Cute little Dutch Pancakes on the BBQ

Cute little Dutch Pancakes on the BBQ

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Colourful Paintings at Mindil Markets

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Picnic at Mindil Markets under the Trees

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Peruse the stalls in the shade of green leafy trees.

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Beach Volleyball on Mindil Beach

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Jerky made from all kinds of exotic animals!

Blue Extraction Fan

This blue extraction fan sucks the smoke from the spit roasting meats below and direct it to the leafy tree canopy.

Croc Hot Dog

Crocodile Hot Dog anyone?

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You can even try out your new whip at the market!

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Didgeridoo display

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Interesting, colourful jewellery