Water in the desert.

The problem with vegetarian diets in the desert.

For the record, I have seen refutations of Taber’s arguments but, even so, as someone who lives in a very large country with lots of big, flat open land and very little water… hmm.

2020-12-10T10:58:48+11:003rd January, 2021|Tags: , , |


On the search for the bay leaf conspiracy.

Relatedly, having a bay tree somewhere with reach is one of my, like. Essential Cooking Garden Plants. Also, they’re tough as guts so actually freakin’ grow here, which is always a plus.

2020-10-19T15:14:31+11:0022nd October, 2020|Tags: |


This article on the economics of all-you-can-eat buffets reminds me of the time we went to France on a school trip when we were about fifteen or so.

We had several buffet meals at a place called Flunch, and every time the boys would swear to “show the French how a real Aussie eats!” and every time manage to demolish… about one small plate of chips.

In retrospect this was a very formative experience in realising exactly how much crap men talk which… go figure, I guess.

Relatedly, probably my best adult buffet experience was that one morning we got those BBQ pork sticky rice leaf things1 in the members’ lounge at the Conrad Macao. Followed closely by the unlimited champagne bar in the flight lounge at Hong Kong airport and yeah actually now that I’m thinking about it I’m starting to realise why we seem to end up going to Hong Kong so much…

  1. Apparently these are actually called zongzi, a fact I learned because I looked it up just now; they’re one of my favourite things ever and I’ve mostly encountered them by grabbing them off the yum cha cart, so have never actually known what to call them… []
2020-03-03T09:26:51+11:002nd July, 2020|Tags: |

Future meat, future eat.

Research by the thinktank RethinkX suggests that proteins from precision fermentation will be around ten times cheaper than animal protein by 2035. The result, it says, will be the near-complete collapse of the livestock industry. The new food economy will “replace an extravagantly inefficient system that requires enormous quantities of inputs and produces huge amounts of waste with one that is precise, targeted, and tractable.” Using tiny areas of land, with a massively reduced requirement for water and nutrients, it “presents the greatest opportunity for environmental restoration in human history.”

Not only will food be cheaper, it will also be healthier. Because farmfree foods will be built up from simple ingredients, rather than broken down from complex ones, allergens, hard fats and other unhealthy components can be screened out. Meat will still be meat, though it will be grown in factories on collagen scaffolds, rather than in the bodies of animals. Starch will still be starch, fats will still be fats. But food is likely to be better, cheaper and much less damaging to the living planet.

George Monbiot on futuremeat.

Not gonna lie, one of the idealistic potential technologies I’m most excited about, along with truly autonomous vehicles, is vat-grown food.1 Australia in particular is pretty much almost entirely made up of marginal and desert land that’s unsuited to most types of European-style agriculture, and yet has been exploited for centuries for cattle, sheep, and wheat production, leading to habitat destruction,2 mass desertification and other ills.

Yes, people will lose jobs as farms—including likely some of my (married) family’s farms—close but, realistically, agriculture makes up less than 3% of Australia’s workforce. Dealing with that displacement is a political and economic challenge but, like. So is agriculture-driven climate change, with threatens exponentially more people, jobs, and money. So, y’know. Welcome to the decade of change or die. Literally.

  1. Particularly as someone who likes meat, and red meat in particular, but is increasingly finding it difficult to justify consuming it. On the other hand, as someone living in the driest inhabited continent on earth, most vegetarian options are even worse—plant-based diets take exponentially more water to sustain than meat-based ones, which is why you only tend to find them in tropical and sub-tropical pre-modern societies—so, like. Y’know. []
  2. Europeans in particular tend to treat deserts as “barren”, lifeless places—it’s literally right there in the name of them—but if you’ve ever had the privilege to truly experience one you’ll know they really, really are not. []
2020-02-14T09:02:42+11:0016th June, 2020|Tags: , |
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