Santa has come early at the hardware-trade, at least here in Mittagong. Driving back late from Sydney, a large solar driven multi coloured sign heralded that ‘face painting’ would be a daily event at Bunnings together with ‘cooking lessons’. You would have to give it to them. Such entrepreneurial spirits flashing every few seconds. Who would have thought hardware shops would give cooking lessons? It is not as if cooking food has been put on the backburner, and people are just eating cold cabbage with tripe.
You only have to turn on the TV, morning or night, to hear and see someone holding up some latest morsel, glistening with juices and with contrasting colours. The cook or taster pronouncing…’oh, yum’ with ‘oh…wow’ second and a somewhat lamer third coming in at ‘how nice’.
I have yet to hear oh… how fucking awful, or even oh yuck, while heaving and retching! Surely, sometimes the result is not up to scratch and the viewer would be so much happier, if, just sometimes, the culinary result was less than planned like the viewers own efforts in the caesarstone kitchen with the multi story oven.
Just consider how on TV cooking is often done under the most harrowing conditions. Last week on TV a dish was cooked in the middle of a raging Mekong river on a rickety boat and with just one small hardly flickering little flame in the middle of a torrential monsoonal downpour… Yet, the result was stunning and again it was held up as a trophy of cooking art regardless or perhaps because of those dire adversarial circumstances.
The viewer could not but become deeply depressed with their own miserable result of a limp pale yellow poached egg staring at them on a piece of toast which was only just made edible by scraping the charcoal off. No, “oh yum”. Not even a single “how nice’.”
How disconcerting it is for us, salivating viewers, to then, often within the same hour, advertisements are shown urging us to give generously to World Vision. The tearstained mother holding up a dying baby, children reduced to eating crispy insects to just stay alive another day. It would be so much better and more sensitive if those ads were shown during that Ancestry.com ‘where do you come from’ programs, together with funeral insurances enticements. How glorious that elderly couple beam at us. They are so happy with their funeral ‘plan’ while their well fed grand-daughter stares out from the top of a bridge over the expanse of a lovely flowing river. Her life is just starting but ours might need a coffin ‘plan;’ but look, we are still living it up to the hilt! But… we don’t want to burden anyone with our funeral. Geez, what would our kids do without us having a plan; bury us in the back-yard?
The cooking program also often shows us food precariously stacked upwards, like a block of home units. Why does it have to be vertical? Are we running out of space? Is this what overpopulation has caused? Or is it because the top layer is closer to our mouth? Everything has to be so effortless lately; perhaps lifting the spoon up is now being investigated by the cooking moguls.
Easy does it. It is the same with the modern cloth line. All clothes have to be taken off the line with one magic swoop. Rrrrt it goes and the washing line is empty ready for the next run. Very tempting this is, with time so short and busy mothers and (some fathers) driving kids to schools, ballet, and flute and sax lessons. It all has to be so very Rrrrrt now and in split second timing.
Anyway, Bunnings has weighed in with also giving cooking lessons, competing with the outside Barbeque sausage sandwich stall run by the Lions Club. Perhaps it is to entice the sale of outdoor kitchens. Has anyone seen the latest of those? Enormous outdoor stainless steel kitchens costing as much as houses, are now up for sale. They include water taps, rotisserie, and fridge with ice making and fish scaling capability, a fiery turbo driven stone lined pizza oven and ample storage to hold the suckling pig.
I am still getting over assembling a modest two burner affair some years ago. Boy, did it have many nuts and bolts with matching Allen key. It took me 12 hours and had to turn the whole contraption upside down to retrieve a single nut that had fallen in a steep crevice behind one of the burners. Finally a team of mental health experts overseen by a crack psychiatrist were called in to counsel me while I was finishing the job.
It seems that eating is now a disorder for more than a million Australians. Binge eating and binge starving is now all the go. We just don’t seem to be able to get our eating habits right. Yet, it used to be so simple.
We ate to survive.