An item on the television news tonight confirmed what I had heard about ugly produce being sold in our upscale grocery stores now. By ugly the vendors mean non-conformist. oddly shaped, not jewel-like. I suppose it’s hard to package a bent mini-cucumber with others of dissimilar shape in one neat parcel. And bent peppers don’t stack well on a display counter. They all taste good, though. When I lived up north I used to buy produce at a greengrocers (to use an old expression) in Parry Sound where I went for tai chi class every Monday. I always bought crooked peppers and any others marked down after the weekend because I used to, and still do, grill and marinate peppers. I won’t pause now to describe my favourite use of them. I want to focus on another aspect of food.
I read a report from Australia this morning about a restaurateur, a team from Noma, a Copenhagen restaurant famous for finding indigenous ingredients. They were foraging there for esoteric, edible goodies for a fresh (!) cuisine. Here’s some of the stuff they found: Neptune’s necklace (seaweed), finger lime (citrus flavour), mat-rush (looks like a leek), bunya nut (?), and a delicacy from a rain forest tree called the Atherton oak. Somehow I feel these might be expensive to acquire and with a taste rather difficult to develop.
Isn’t the world funny? We are resolved to save the planet and money by using perfectly good food that is thrown into landfill or dumpsters (same thing) while food explorers are seeking new taste sensations- at great expense. Perhaps, though, when other familiar food disappears, we will be happy to have bunya nuts.