Tuesday 15 July 2008

The ethicurian dilemma?

The ethicurian dilemma? SOLE? Localvore?

What does it all really mean?

The blogosphere is humming with the buzz of what this is all about. And like any issue, you'll get as many responses as there are people with opinions. But here's how I see it.

Unless you have become one of those weird Air-ians, we've all gotta eat. And in my house, I want the best I can get for my buck. We are NOT a wealthy family.. we're just a normal fam in the 'burbs. And I mean the 'burbs. We live in the 'burbiest of 'burbs. So when I spend money.. ANY money, I want value. With 5 kids and 2 dogs THAT is at the heart of my decision to buy SOLE.

So, to restaurants. I WILL NOT PAY MONEY FOR CRAP. I get crazy cat-lady mad about places that serve swill.... This is not because I am a particularly great cook, but I do know what is good and what is not. I will NEVER pay $30 for a serve of bangers and mash, or corned beef, or pasta, NEVER. To me, that just isn't value. I'd rather got the parma and pot night at the Red Hill and Dromana RSL, and pay $10, knowing EXACTLY what I am about to get. I WOULD pay $30 for a plate of SOLE cheese, though... or considerably more for a fine dining experience that I couldn't do at home.

When I eat out, I expect the food is not just as GOOD as home... but substantially better... either taste or value wise.

So, to the food I purchase. I don't shop SOLE because I am a paid up greenie, or a hippy (altho I DO burn nag champa regularly!). I don't do it because I think that Elvis and JFK are beaming gamma rays down from the Mother Ship on my tomatoes.


It's not hard, guys! Stop drooling into your faux Chanel handbags, while you listen to the piped-in bad 70's porno muzak at Slaveways and WAKE UP!

Who in their right mind buys a sachet of "Italian Herbed Potato Sprinkle" for $2.50 a serve?

Look at the ingredients, go the the herb aisle and buy a jar of oregano, a jar of thyme, a jar of rosemary and do it yourselves!! Save money, get Italian herbed taties, and have ingredients left over for another night.

Better yet, get a herb garden!!!

Get online... get good, ethical, local, sustainable food delivered. Hell, you don't even have to risk some nuffer scratching your beemer's duco by going to the shopping centre. And I guarantee you, that what you get will be better, AND CHEAPER that gas packed Slaveways crap!!

BE INFORMED.. Just because something has "organic free range fair trade" on it, doesn't make it so... again, get online and find out what all those funny little stamps Coles are using on their "organic" produce actually mean!

You don't need to drive 400kms to the Collingwood Free Range Children Market For Inner City Pretentious Wankers. You just need to ask a few questions. And be a bit organised.

You want good quality SOLE vegies? Get informed about what's in season and ask your fruiterer some questions. There are now Farmer's markets in almost every region of Melbourne. Make it a date with your sig other, or your kids. Or yourself. If your burning all those nasty fossil fuels to get there, see what else is around. We pass at least one Market every weekend on the way to take the kids to sport. Why not leave home an hour early and make a trip to the market garden, or the farmer's market part of doing something else?



And it's not about changing your diet from "normal" to some weird lentil-based fusion food.

You can have a lamb roast and all the trimmings SOLE, You can have SOLE bangers and mash. SOLE steak and salad. SOLE pasta.

With the Hollow Men predicting petrol at $86 a litre by close of business today, we are all watching our bottom lines. SOLE isn't just a hippy-dippy way of life. It is a real and viable way of shopping to SAVE MONEY!

So next time you wonder why potatoes cost more than truffles, just remember that reaching for that single serve sachet of gravy... or Cook-in-the-pot sauce... or Pour-on-Cheese has contributed to the rising cost of EVERYTHING.

Let's get back to basics. And save some money while we're about it


Ran said...

is that 42 dollars each PG? I am guessing so...

who do u get ur lamb from?

As a chemist, I read the label of EVRYTHING, and am horrified by what they put in some stuff. Stuff that in the lab I treat with caution and am scared of using, they use as preservatives. Go figure.

purple goddess said...

No Ran,

That's $42 TOTAL. A box of veggies and fruit, 2 loaves of bread, 500g of cheese and 4 litres of milk

Sure, I often have to augment my delivery with other stuff, but when I do I buy direct from the farmers. Did you know there are still 3 orchards selling farm gate produce right in the heart of suburban SE Melbourne??

I get my lamb from Rutherglen Lamb

Thanks for dropping by.. and if you've got any other questions about shopping SOLE in SE Melbourne, just let me know!

Anonymous said...

Good frustration. Good points. Good suggestions. But perhaps the wrong audience? The bulk of the population who need to know this actually need to know what food and ingredients shopping is. Just telling people that the bloody herb sprinkle crap is crap won't help. It's as pointless as me telling people that making custard is a doddle. Without slow, non-confrontational persuasion (petrol crisis is likely to help, with shopping budget being the 'persuasion'), most people won't move an inch. When mushrooms come pre-sliced, it's clear that most consumers now exist in an alternative paradigm.

purple goddess said...

Yeah Duncan, this post was mostly written from a frustration point, in seeing all this "how does this translate to families at the coal face" nonsense. I feel like shouting "You want the AVERAGE FAMILY?, well come and look at mine!". Blended fam, 2 incomes, we live from pay to pay most weeks.. the whole "burban dream.. err.. drama!

And you're right. I'm preaching to the choir.. a fact I have made on here and other blogs more than once. I got to dinner at friend's places and see 'fridges full of Continental "Tuna Pasta Bake" and get thoroughly disheartened. But then, I get contacted by a pretty middle-of-the-road "family" mag to do an article on SOLE, and I wonder, is it just jumping on the trendy band wagon set by you, me, Sticky, Grocer, Ed, et al OR is that paradigm actually shifting?

Maybe I have to start tagging my posts "Cheap groceries" to bring the message to Craigieburn or Keysborough?

Maybe I should float the idea of a TV show to Chanel 31??!!

Oh sorry, people in "normal families" don't watch Community TV.

Ya reckon 9 would be interested in me cooking for a fam of 5 while the dogs lie on the kitchen floor, and I trip over the dirty footy boots?

stickyfingers said...

Luvvie - I have the contacts to make this happen. We make the SOLE Food for Suburban Families show with Lucy Malouf's production company and sell it to Trevor Eastment at Foxtel. What shall we call it?

I wonder if Jamie Oliver's 'Special' tonight will have any impact?

Jamie Oliver's Eat To Save Your Life

9.30pm – 11.10pm TEN
Wednesday 16 July 2008
In this hard-hitting, one-off special, Jamie investigates the hidden threats of popular convenience foods using eighteen volunteers with self-confessed bad diets as human guinea pigs.

Ran said...

thanks for all ur suggestions PG (and on stickies page). I have only been in the melbourne burbs for under a year so didnt know about a lot of these places (though i have found the orchids on high st rd which was exciting - 5 bucks for a massive box of apples). cant wiat to try the oysters!

Duncan is right about people just not having a clue though. My cousin recently got married and moved out of home (read - never has cooked in her life) and thought I was amazing when i told her how easy it was to roast a chook and said she would take my word for it but charcoal chickens were easier.

grocer said...

"Good frustration. Good points. Good suggestions. But perhaps the wrong audience?"
Duncan, ANY audience at this stage is the right audience. After the conversation on sticky's post yesterday I was shaking my head at the attitudes of some of the "converted" ella might be preaching to.

It's her blog and she can vent how she likes and quite frankly, I'm glad she did because she approaches it differently to how I do, but we have a common intent. I'm guessing Ella is reaching out to a broader audience than my (and others') academic rants.

PG I have seen the boxes you refer to as the company you buy from has started in NSW now, and it doesn't meet the 2and5 healthy diet requirements. BUT it's a start. As you say, you supplement it with other bits and bobs.

Sticky, it would be great to make this happen, but it needs to be free to air and it should involve more than one city or we will continue to get the run of the mill excuses that "its alright for you but..." scenario. **yawn**

purple goddess said...

Sticky, we'll call it:

"Stop eating crap, you idiot sheeple who have less clue about good, wholesome, nutritious CHEAP food, that my ficus!"..

and the first episode will be me walking thru the door of The House of Fur and Purple Love, arms a'laden with the freshest bounty of the season, only to trip over the dogs, the 19 y/o announce she's become an air-breathing vegequarian, the middle daughter boycotting food, cos she's split up with her b/f, youngest son refusing anything but McCain pizza and Furry too sick to eat.

It will close with me and remaining child eating icecream out of the container with a spoon.

I'll be pissed, there will be a bottle of Coke in the background, and the pizza delivery man will be knocking at the door!

Lucy said...

Sticky and PG - this programme MUST be made!

stickyfingers said...

Many a word said in jest actually holds bounty. I think we could do a telly show and call it FIG JAM. After all if those 'Take 4 Ingredients' Prue & Trude types can have a best seller and TV show in the works with their crud, why not do it the right way with SOLE Food?

Mind you I could see PG rubbing shoulders with Mel & Kochie in a weekly Sunrise segment, cutting to footage of Furry loading the wood oven at Chez Fur de Mer and then back to the studio where she would be beating the M&K around the ears with a Steamboat basket and a bunch of home grown herbs.

As for the target market, I live spitting distance from housing commission flats which each appear to have a Foxtel receiver dish perched on their balconies, so pitching to Lifestyle is a real foot in the door. Yes, I suspect they spend more on telly and smokes than decent tucker, but they are the prime audience.

Add to that the fact that Trevor Eastment has more freedom to surf future zeitgeists at Foxtel than the free to air corporates - who are terified of losing ad money from the big food companies. They generally pick up cooking shows after they've already had a good run on pay TV.

Duncan perhaps not all PG's readers are the converted. Blogs - as you know - seem to be an ongoing resource for other forms of media. So from our venting our spleens enmasse comes a sniff of emerging movements and stories for trendspotters, journo's, producers etc to expand on.

Anonymous said...

I regularly give clients menu plans, how to eat guides and recipe booklets. I focus on quick and super-easy recipes, using basic ingredients. It's adapted for their life and their family.

For the last few months I've been informally asking clients whether their weekly food spend has gone up or down, since we've started working together. So far 100% have seen a reduction. Much of this is because they're eating less take-away - such a big money burner - but the rest is because they're buying basic foods.

Many are surprised by the change in cost. But mostly they're surprised they can eat this well, without giving up half their life to food preparation.

Kristin said...

silly question perhaps - but where do you get your veggies from? are you part of a csa kinda scheme? or something else?



GS said...

I'm one of the converted but I definitely couldn't get the amount of vegetables (bread, cheese and milk are rarely on the menu here) for two of us for $42 a week let alone a fortnight. Just how much does that get you? I don't know how the fresh stuff can last that long either.

We eat about 3 serves of fruit (sometimes more) and 5-7 veg a day, so I admit we aren't the average twosome. I just curious as to what you guys bulk up on and what the extras are.

purple goddess said...

We don't have all the kids all the time.. but when we do we often have hangers-on!
The 2 loaves of bread are primarily used for toast, so they get popped into the freezer on the day it arrives, to be used for breakfast toast over the fortnight. The milk usually lasts a week, and we augment that as necessary. All of our kids are older (19 down to 13) so none of them are huge "glass of milk" kids.. They predominately drink water or juices.

The fruit gets pretty much inhaled over the first few days, and depending on who is staying and when, I buy more at my local farm gate or local GG.

AS for the veggies, the most delicate gets eaten first.. and that's how I menu plan. Last week we got some lovely baby bok choy, and some of the capsicum and 1/2 the bean sprouts were the inspiration for my Char Kewy Teoh (fed 6 adults)

The rest of the capsicum and a cucumber got used in Master 13's Viet rice paper rolls. (14 serves)

Some Toolangi chats and the 250g of spinach ended up in a chicken and dijon mustard fusion dish that fed 6 adults.

The 6 tomatoes, one onion and the green cap ended up being mandoline'd (IMHO the very best way to get the max bang-for-your-buck)for pizza toppings last weekend. I got 8 pizzas out of this, augmented by some home made sugo from last year and some salami. Fed 8 adults

The rest of the chats are earmarked for either mash or a roast on the weekend, as are the 500g of carrots.

We've still got a whole butternut pumpkin (for soup), some random onions and probably a few things I've forgotten, but the box arrived 10 days ago, and depending on who's home for dinner this weekend, I might only have to buy extra veggies for Mon and Tues night next week, until the box arrived on Wed.

purple goddess said...

Missed the other point of her post, AOF!

This fortnight we "bulked up" on

Dining out at mates x 2, Sunday was HUGE breaky made by Furry (free-range eggs, bacon, cibatta rolls, mushrooms and spinach... all bought separate from our delivery)which did us all day and we had toast and some home made soup for the freezer that night.

There was one meal down the beach house, which was local rack of pork, with sweet potato, fennel and caramelised onions, again not sourced from my delivery, but from the local farmers market. (This served 2 adults and the left overs served 2 other adults that RAIDED THE FRIDGE THE NEXT NIGHT!)

There was one night where we ordered a salmon pizza from our local and towards the beginning of this last fortnight, I was still living offa my pot of congee (with my headcold and all).. I think there were only 3 meals that we had this fortnight without any kids in the house but, to be honest, with the comings and goings of 5 teenagers, it's a bit hard to work it all out!!

Sarah said...

Hi PG,

Really interesting post.

I couldn't see if you mentioned it in the post or in the comments, but where do you get your delivery from? I'll have a google now, but if you could recommend one I'd appreciate it! As someone who loves food and cooking but is super time poor (just finding time to to go to the supermarket this week was an achievement for me), I think a SOLE delivery would be a fantastic option!

xox Sarah

robandjods said...

Enjoyed reading this article and all these comments, but as silly as it sounds, what is SOLE mean, I cant work it out myself...lol Cheers

robandjods said...

I just found this description?
Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical (SOLE) food is part of a larger movement to change the way that people eat, and the sources of their food. Proponents believe that eating SOLE food will help people to live longer, healthier lives, and will also benefit the environment.

purple goddess said...


google "Aussie Farmers Direct"

They're not necessarily sustainable, nor organic, but they guarantee local produce (australian) and their cheese and milk and bread is produced state-by-state.