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Strange messages on our food and wine


Philip White has a look at what the Australian Government tells people we eat, what we should drink, and what visitors should expect us to be eating and drinking – from its Tourism Australia website.

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While yesterday’s vainglorious fluff and bluster continued to hide from many Australians the complex horrors we send our military kids to face in the “Cradle of Civilisation”, I spent some time wondering what refugees from, say, Turkey or Damascus would imagine Australia to be.

Like before they set out with their families, to escape the types of horror we officially recognised with yesterday’s national holiday.

How would refugees decide to come to Australia, if they have a chance to consider? Imagine the type our immigration ministers tell us are always jumping the queue. They tell us these “illegals” are rich middle-class people who want to get away from all that bother and come to Australia to make some money. Say these folks naïvely check the Australian government websites.

Let’s say they think one of the things they might do if they can get through is open a restaurant. Good track record for reffos in Aussie, restaurants. They check the internet for potential customer profiles and restaurant trends.

They find the Tourism Australia site. It’s fascinating to see what this faceless gubmnt mob thinks we have to offer in the sustenance and satiation sector.

Beneath a crooked photo of a bottle of Harkham Wines Aziza’s Preservative Free Semillon 2014, yep, none other, the Fed tells us what to expect of what it calls “the future”.

“Australia loves a good taste trend,” they tell us. “In 2015, our food and drink obsessions included everything from craft beer and cronuts to kale and salted caramel. While we will remain infatuated with all of the above into 2016, we also have our eyes fixed on the future.

“Business futurist Morris Miselowski says although the fashion for foams has dissipated in Australia, food ‘trends’ such as foraging, farm-to-fork eating and fermenting are now mainstream.”

Appreciating its omission of any of the various sorts of dust intrinsic to the foams fad, this is nevertheless Tourism Australia’s official website, under the heading Food and Wine Trends 2016.

Imagine the surreal accidents of translation into, say, Chinese.

Miselowski’s speaking specialty and “business-orientation” is what he calls “future-vision”.

I think this means “what happens next”.

And I can’t help thinking that they want us to believe that the likes of the deep-fried beer-battered chicken-salted Mars Bar hangs in while foams have dissipated and we’re back to foraging like pigs or like those who eat pigs or simply like those of us who live muddy lives. Musta bin to help with our mainstream fermenting, this touch of dissipation in the old foam racket. They cleared the head off our mud.

I hope I’ve got this wrong. It’s strange.

I’m sure people all over the world will be delighted to learn that here in GodzoneOz the parrilla (Argentinian) and robata (Japanese) methods of cooking meat are “particularly popular” because “barbecuing is being recognised as part of the national identity no matter where you’re from”.

So where are we up to? Our gubmnt thinks we are, or wishes we were becoming, foragers and mainstream fermenters who have adopted Japanese and Argentinian methods of cooking meat. Either that, or they simply want everybody else in the world to think that’s what we’re like, us Australians. Like us crooked boat mob that pinched the country from the original owners and now expects to get away with selling it to the Chinese without anybody actually paying the original owners for it.

Ooops. That just slipped out, that bit.

But for real, this thing doesn’t mention supermarkets.

I don’t need to go on too long about it but I must at least relate the drinks thing.

“The industry guru [Miselowski] predicts that, in 2016, we will be drinking more naked wines …” our gubmnt informs us.

It could edify somebody in this chain if this mention of nudity were a ploy to deter the more zealous followers of any of the Abrahamic faiths, but no.

Naked Wines happens to be a giant award-winning online wine retailer founded in Britain in 2008 by Rowan Gormley. It advances funds to struggling winemakers who supply the eventual wine at a minimal wholesale rate. It works across the UK, USA and Australia, and is spreading since it sold last year to Majestic Wine, the biggest specialist wine retailer in the UK. Gormley is still at the wheel.

A thinker would probably by now be wondering what a terrible accident all this must be when the same idiocracy has a bit of a go at clarification.

“Naked wines … it’s only natural” is the later headline. It then proffers one Byron Woolfrey, who runs a mobile bar, to say he’s noticed “an upward spike in demand for wines made with minimal intervention” and our government goes back to recommending Harkham Wines – at Momofuku Seiobo and Chiswick – and Lucy Margaux wines, from the Adelaide Hills, at Billy Kwong in Sydney.

Anton van Klopper and his naturally naked minimal intervention team at Lucy Margaux will probably be delighted that the 7 or 8 million tourists expected to visit Australia this year have been advised by the Federal Government to duck straight into Billy Kwong’s for a bottle of the wine.

This will discourage these visitors from coming to South Australia to check out Anton’s actual château, with that unique brand name which must intrigue the winemakers of Bordeaux, not to menton Corinne Mentzelopoulos, the, er, the owner of, er, Château Margaux.

Corinne’s current Margaux, the 2014, sells for $A450-$520 per bottle.

As the day wore on and I made an attempt to discover who chooses these gurus for us, I bumped into a killer from the US. Google executive Ray Kurzweil, a serious visionary, the genius inventor of text-to-speech technology, among many other brilliant things.

Since he worked on radical digital musical instruments with Stevie Wonder in the early ’80s, I pay attention when Kurzweil has a blurt. He just told a heavyweight gathering in New York that he’s convinced computers will “possess emotions and personality” and therefore “match and possibly beat” human intelligence by 2029.

“I’m not talking about logical intelligence,” Kurzweil said, having just put a date on it. “It is being funny, and expressing a loving sentiment … That is the cutting edge of human intelligence.”

As logic and truth and the discernment of it seems to have jumped the datapack for now, maybe Prime Minister Turnbull could urge Kurzweil and Google to hurry up with an advance package for the skunkworks propaganda mob out the back of Tourism Australia.

At the risk of cutting some of Miselowski’s foragement and farm-to-fork foment, a drizzle of wit might save somebody’s day.

Give a Digger a bit of a chuckle, Cobber.

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