Posts Tagged ‘McDonalds’

Carmen at Gosford

May 19, 2017

It’s been a long time since we watched an opera. A good friend suggested we join up and see Carmen. Of course Carmen was the one we used to tap our feet with many years ago. I could never get enough of ‘Oh Toreador’ which is one of its main operatic attractions. Off we went a couple of days ago in our Peugeot. The car our daughter returned when her stolen car was finally able to get re-registered in her own name again. There is an opera waiting to be written just about that saga alone.

The last time we watched a real-life opera was Wagner’s ‘The dance of the Valkyries’ whose whole opera, the ambitious Ring Cycle takes a complete week-end to watch. I think that takes a lot of operatic keenness which I am still working towards. Some people find Wagner a bit moody and heavy but we loved the dance of the Valkyries. Perhaps sunny Australia isn’t the place for moodiness in music. I am sure Bizet’s Carmen would fall on better and more eager ears.

The Carmen production was held at a small 400 seat theatre in Gosford’s Laycock theatre.  Gosford used to be a small sleepy village in the fifties when I used to drive my parents there in my first car. This first car was a light blue Ford V8. A single spinner. It had brown leather seats. The front seat had a build-in ashtray and held three adults. People would buy a block of land around Gosford and work towards building a nice week-end retreat. Retirees would flock from Sydney to Gosford. It had a milk bar and its own railway station. On a quiet day you could hear sheep bleat.

Gosford isn’t a sleepy village anymore. It is huge. There are more traffic round-a-bouts than people or New York City.  The theatre itself is surrounded by so much traffic chaos we felt like giving up. Helvi even suggested we might have to go home. No bleating sheep anymore in Gosford. It wasn’t just the traffic and round-a-bouts. The visual assault with so much signage, a blur of gaping car sales yards. Big McDonalds. How can people even think of eating ?  It was next to a white severe looking building which had ‘Endoscopy’ written on it. Do people have a Big Mack and then go for a colonoscopy next door? What an amazing world we live in!

The theatre remained a distant prospect. We could see it as we drove around and around. Screaming tyres. Huge exhausts belching out smoke from road trains gone berserk. My hand gripping the steering wheel of the Peugeot as if  at any moment I would be dragged to the hangman’s scaffolding. I needed a good Carmen. We finally hurled ourselves from the round-about and parked next to the Endoscopy building. It felt safe.

The theatre itself an oasis of calm and serenity. Peaceful retirees. Lots of grey hair and muffled sounds. It was packed and the performance ready to start. An electronic buzzing indicating we should take our pre-booked seats. The theatre was fully booked. Amazing when you think this was Wednesday at 11 am. The Carmen production was just brilliant. A huge cast with the orchestra well hidden below the stage. Rousing responses from the audience after each song or performance. We enjoyed it thoroughly and it was well worth the drive and manic traffic and chaos. Isn’t it wonderful that despite the spiritual barrenness of the surroundings with all that blatant exposure of crass commercialism one also get those jewels of art and creativity?

The world isn’t as bad as we might sometimes believe.

Thank you Bizet.

Advertisements

Plain Packaging of McDonalds and Coke!

May 4, 2017
IMG_0815

Grapes, strawberries and figs.

It’s not often that good news greets one on awakening. I was still rubbing my eyes expecting the usual diet of slaughter of innocents or Trump tweets news on my IPhone when I read this article;http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-05/australia-wins-landmark-wto-tobacco-packaging-case/8498750

I nearly broke out in a celebratory waltz. Sorry for the link but let me give you the more salient bits saving you to click on the link.

“Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws are a legitimate public health measure, according to a World Trade Organisation dispute panel ruling reported by Bloomberg.It cited two people close to the situation as saying the panel had rejected a case made by Cuba, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Indonesia, which argued the laws constituted illegal barriers to trade.Such a ruling from the WTO has been widely anticipated as giving a green light for other countries to roll out similar laws, not only on tobacco but also on alcohol and UNHEALTHY FOODS.”

The higher-case my own.

The plain packaging on tobacco products has been in place for a number of years with enormous success. The poor die-hard addicts are now forced to go to the counter and whisper their brand to the sale girl, furtively looking around for any witness to their evil habit.

With Australia’s enormous obesity problems having overtaken the tobacco scourge, I hope to have enough years left to see a similar approach to unhealthy foods. The experts are pointing out that poverty and obesity are linked. Social disadvantaged rural communities having the largest proportion of overweight people. In cities it is the same, with suburbs far flung from the city-centre and cheaper to buy into, showing the same problems.

It might also be that educational differences play a role than just levels of wealth differences. I disagree that the obesity is just a matter of the poor not able to afford healthy food. A family of four eating at McDonalds with a ‘ Big Mac’ at $6.95 each, could easily buy them a bagful of  nutritious foods. But, at the local supermarkets awaits unhealthy food traps as well. It is not for nothing that the lay-outs at the supermarket usually puts the healthy choices well past the stacks of more profitable Coke cases, sugar laden rubbish with simmering sauces, instant foods, pre-digested microwave snacks etc. before the shopper gets to the vegetables and fruit section. Row after row of breakfast choco-pops, corn flakes, sugar muesli, soft drinks. Even babies are now corrupted readied to obesity when mothers can squeeze a kind of sugar laden ‘health’ pop-in tube inside its squealing little mouth.   All those tempting instant foods has to be trudged past in order to arrive at the apples and cauliflowers.

It is just as criminal as tobacco before the plain packaging came into place. Will it come to  killer foods being treated the same? Just imagine McDonald addicts huddling under railway bridges  secretly munching out of plain grey paper bags on their sugar and fat hits. The shy KFC merchants plying their pernicious wares from behind the counter all hidden and in plain packages from cupboards like cigarettes. Dietary advisers inside super-markets steering shoppers to good healthy foods. Clear simple labelling and according to their nutritional values. People can still buy sugar and fat laden foods but at their own well informed peril.

I am not so sure about those Strasbourg knobs or Salamis, Brat-worst and Black Pudding. Perhaps they ought to be excluded or given a neutral rating. I would definitely give 5 stars to Butter Milk.

What do you reckon?

It came to $41.20 without any sugar

April 3, 2017
IMG_0815

Grapes, strawberries and figs.

The $41.20 was the total of our shopping adventure this morning. The day started early. With the change in day-light saving we seem to get up earlier instead of sleeping longer. That sleeping-in, so desired when young, evades us now. I am always glad the night is over. Unless we have to get out shopping and walking, we generally muck about till midday in our pyjamas. Now that winter is knocking, we might consider not even moving out of them at all. We shall see!

We are still reeling somewhat from a range of TV programs whereby eating sugar has been taken under the loupe. I hope millions have watched those TV programs and the dire consequences resulting from eating sugar. It is not just obvious sugar, no it is the hidden sugar in our foods. Most breakfast cereals, sauces, micro-wave foods and almost all processed foods have  lots of sugar.  I thought that a fruit yoghurt was a fairly safe food to ingest. Wrong! That too has ladles of sugar. So have all fruit drinks. Of course, a Coke drink is pure poison. If cigarettes are addictive, the experts reckon so is sugar. The present world epidemic of obesity is all sugar related. Yet,  apart from some brave souls exposing the evils of sugar, our government is eerily quiet. “A personal choice,” they might sometimes whisper behind closed doors.

We have never been fond of sweets and apart from one spoon of sugar in coffee we never take the stuff in anything else. We cook without shop-bought sauces. I suppose those lovely Italian tinned tomatoes have some sugar, as has most bread and pasta. We never drink lemonade or soft drinks, and reckon water is as good a drink as any. But…what about wine? I thought that the sugars in grapes convert into alcohol. Is that so? I hope so. I would not like to give up my love of the afternoon ritual sitting in the garden talking with Helvi while sipping wine.

Milo knows the ritual and we bring his cushion out. A creature of habit. He sees me filling a glass with Shiraz and he bolts towards the back-yard sliding doors. He loves us doing that. So, I do hope that there isn’t too much sugar in wine, even if just for Milo’s sake.

It is amazing that most of our modern dietary habits have been installed by the large Multi Corporations. I remember the large Coca Cola truck rolling into our primary schools in Holland giving all children a free Coca Cola. This was during the mid nineteen- fifties. It was the beginning of the end. We seem powerless against the intrusion into our lives by those large businesses that profit from spreading premature deaths to millions all over the world. Deaths that can easily be avoided by not eating so much sugar.  The health costs eventually will force government to act and stand up to the likes of MacDonald, KFC, Cadbury and all those other perfidious multi nationals. I noticed that some school kids during sport wear caps with the McDonald logo on it. How is that possible?  Where are the protesting parents?

In those programs the large corporations were asked about their responsibility in all that obesity. They avoided it by denying the evils of sugar. The same tactics used by cigarette companies.

But getting back to our shopping bill. The $41.20 included;  a man’s flannel pyjamas (XL), a bottle of Precious Earth Shiraz,  a four pack of salmon cutlets, a bar of Dove soap, a bunch of broccolini, three avocadoes, Cherri tomatoes, a tin of Italian tomatoes and four bananas. There might have been another item but I threw away the receipt.

 

An indecent Habit

February 17, 2013

13SQ_Mfood

An indecent Habit.

They say that the largest and biggest problem facing the world is the threat of over-population together with lack of food. Yet, this morning I watched a program whereby an eminent professor scientist had all the numbers and statistics at his side proving half the world’s food gets thrown out. That’s right; we chuck out half of our food. Searching for answers, the good professor put the blame squarely on the young, the baby boomers children, even grandchildren.  It must be right though.

Most mornings on my walk I am tempted to pick up the throw outs of food. This morning’s takings; a bag clearly identifiable with a Big M and gold arch and a carton of a Domino Pizza box with a half eaten mozzarella ‘family size’ morsel still in its box. The food would have been eaten direct from the bag or box, perhaps while driving, and heaved out when the opportunity arose and the look in the back mirror revealed no one was watching.

After I opened the Big Golden Arch bag, there was a complete bun in it with soft ochre coloured cheese and some green leaves still neatly tucked in between. The owner of this bag must have just taken the beef minced patties out and chucked the rest. The domino pizza was decorated with grey pieces of mushroom, some red coloured stuff, perhaps beet-root or tomato but, apart from one previously mentioned half eaten morsel, no mozzarella. It seems that the meat gets targeted for the gaping mouths and masticating jaws, but the rest abandoned. What wealth, what moral abandonment of food ethics.

I placed the bags and carton in a bin and noticed the bin had lots of pizza pieces with boxes and other throw away food items discarded. The smell predominantly was a mixture of pizza, gravy ladled chips and acidy pungent stale slushy remnants soft drinks looking to slake thirsts. Take away, throw away.

Dear mother, stay where you are. The world has changed since the potato peeling soup you saved for us in your green enameled bucket of the 1945 soup kitchen in Rotterdam! Did that bucket not have a ceramic holder in the middle of the handle, allowing the bucket to swing freely? Since those days, no food was ever wasted by us, scraps always used for compost or for the ducks along river’s edge.

Of course, food thrown out in the public arena might pale in what gets chucked out privately. What I would not give to take a peek inside the kitchen disposal bins of our societal neighbours, friends or foes. It would be too rude to saunter over to your friends’ disposal bins in the kitchen while you and friend have just arrived, but, perhaps after a couple of shiraz’, and as your host goes to the bathroom, go and be brave and opportune and have a quick glance. You might be surprised.

Who knows those kinds of intimate food preparations or dietary secrets about each other?  We take for granted certain aspects of our friends, s a, they are not murderers or likely to self-immolate in front of an embassy or airport, nor rife through the pockets of your jacket hanging from the coat-hanger in the hallway.

Yet, when it comes to food, who knows what dastardly deeds are performed and on so many kitchens Caesar-stone bench tops? If half the food gets thrown out, it can’t just be only our kids. Who goes still hungry, surely no one? Put up hands that only slice and use the white bits of the leeks or chives, jettison the rest in the bin? Who throws away stale bread or the odd spouting spud? That’s just penny pinching stuff, what about the Christmas Turkey or half eaten but double smoked 6 kilo ham?

Mumbai Slums

As the plane sliced through the clouds an enormous rubbish tip came into view directly below the passengers. Over that ocean of rubbish crawled an ant like colony of human waves, all looking for scraps of food as the convoy of trucks spewed out their fresh loads onto the hordes of the hungry.

The Boeing captain announced; we will be landing in Bombay shortly; please keep your seat belts on and remain seated. At the airport the air-conditioning was humming while the Coke machine was being reloaded. A pale looking woman was unfolding a pram and her husband lowered a young sleepy child into it and gave the bottle of milk, the luck of the right birth.

A couple of miles away, the rubbish tip was getting busy, being clambered over, scraps of food were being prised out of the steaming morass and eaten on the spot. The things we miss out on while travelling.