Australia’s wine ‘cheaper than a bottle of water’
It depends what wine you’re looking at and where you get your bottled water, but on some big retailers’ shelves in Australia it’s not too hard today to find water that is more expensive than wine.
You may be considering a little-known bottle of red that’s sitting in a bargain bucket selling for one Australian dollar (53p).
Or you could be about to purchase a well-known white going for A$2.99.
That’s all before you spot your favourite four-litre box of cask wine selling for less than A$17.
Whatever you fancy, if you compare your purchase to an average 350ml of bottled water selling for about A$2.50, “then you’ve certainly got wine that’s cheaper than buying a bottle of water,” says Prof Kym Anderson from the Wine Economics Research Centre in Adelaide.
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Anyone can cook meat, all you need is a frypan, temperature controlled stove and a dash of oil.
It takes a real man to cook on raging flames, with the temperature fluctuating between burn and incinerate, when even getting close enough to flip the meat might cost you an eyebrow..thats what makes it ‘Mans work’.
* Perfect, the meat should go on NOW
With a beer in one hand (to put yourself out when you catch fire) and tongs in the other you dash headlong into the flames, turning that which seems scorched enough and moving to the side that which is still on fire, then dash back checking for burning eyebrows and forearms as you do. A long slurp on the beer about now will cool your burning throat..
Now stand back for a few minutes as you recover from the incineration, slurp a few more times on the beer still in your hand and laugh with friends, telling jokes about women, cars, work or the weather. All to soon it’s time to tackle the flames again as you prepare by drinking more beer for the upcoming fight, thankful for the fireproof apron and burn cream already rubbed into the groin.
Before long though the cooking is over as most of the meat is set and shrunk like a rubber shoe sole, a sure sign that it’s cooked enough. Regardless of the amount of carbon on the surface the cook declares the meat ‘cooked’ and ‘perfect’.
*Of course you’ve locked the dog away in the back room…
Want to read more? Do you dare read more? Then hop across to Set the Tempo if you want to see how this ends.
Marmite or Vegemite, which came first, the chicken or the egg.
In New Zealand I grew up with Marmite, but across the ditch (Tasman Sea) Vegemite reigned supreme. To me Vegemite tasted funny.
The slow spread of Vegemite
Vegemite started as a wartime substitute for Marmite, but it’s now as symbolic of Australia as Sydney Harbour Bridge and the koala. How did this salty spread become so popular?
What’s the link between German U-boats, the beer industry, processed cheese and the Men At Work’s 1983 hit, Down Under?
The answer is, they all played a part in turning Vegemite from a humble yeast spread into an Australian icon. Stop any Aussie on any street, anywhere in the world, and they will have a view on Vegemite – for, or against.
Now, on the eve of its 90th birthday, the first official history has just been published. The Man Who Invented Vegemite is written by Jamie Callister, grandson of the man who created it.
“My grandfather Cyril created something that all Australians associate with their childhood. It never leaves you,” he says.
The story really begins in the late 19th Century, when an edible by-product was first extracted from the yeast used by brewers to make beer. In 1902, Britain’s Marmite Extract Food Company came into being, taking its name from the French word “marmite”, for large pot.
Marmite was sent around the world, including to Australia. But during World War I, those exports were badly interrupted by German U-boats attacking merchant ships.
“Supplies of Marmite all but dried up, leaving Australians desperate for the spread that many had come to love,” says Callister. “They needed to find an alternative.”
That’s where Cyril Callister comes in.
Born in 1893 in rural Victoria, he was a clever child who went to college and became a chemist. He lived an exciting, unorthodox, life, travelling the world and ending up as a scientist at a munitions factory in Scotland.
After an explosion at the factory, Callister returned to Australia, where he met an entrepreneur called Fred Walker, who was trying to develop a Marmite substitute.
Walker had already seen one local brewer try to come up with its own version of Marmite, called Cubex. But this thick, bitter sludge was a culinary and financial disaster.
Walker put Callister on the case in 1923, and by the end of the year, the pair were confident they had a finished product. Walker decided to launch a competition so the public could name it and claim a £50 prize. Hundreds entered and it was Walker’s daughter Sheila who pulled the word Vegemite out of a hat.
Like the product itself, the name stuck. But sales were sluggish.
Walker had heard about an ingenious Canadian called James Kraft, who had perfected what came to be known as processed cheese. It was a sensation, as it allowed people who couldn’t afford fridges to store cheese for much longer periods.
In 1924, Walker met Kraft in Chicago. The two men got on well and Walker persuaded Kraft to grant him rights to sell his cheeses in Australia.
In a stroke of marketing genius, he offered Vegemite alongside the cheese. By the mid 1930s, Vegemite was, if not quite a runaway success, certainly a moderately well-established family staple. But it took a professor of human physiology to transform its fortunes.
New food laws may put exotic meat on the buffalo bill
SHOPPERS who are wild about kangaroo could soon find meats such as bison, buffalo and camel on their supermarket shelves.
While it is legal to eat so-called ”exotic meats”, which also include antelope, alpaca and llama, complex regulations have made commercial production difficult or unviable.
This may be about to change. Food Standards Australia New Zealand will call tomorrow for submissions on a new national standard for the processing of ”wild game and minor species”. The agency said the current ”prescriptive” requirements could be replaced by alternative slaughter and processing methods.
In particular, farmers are expected to call for an end to the requirement for bovine animals such as bison and buffalo to be killed in an abattoir.
Victorian bison farmer John Perry said forcing a temperamental, 1200-kilogram beast on to a truck was onerous enough but the stress of transportation on bison was also more severe than on cattle.
”Transporting these animals for slaughter is not ideal, from a commercial or a welfare point of view,” he said.
”Instead, we should be allowed to shoot them humanely in the field and use a mobile abattoir to process them for sale.”
Mr Perry has 80 bison on his property at Cheshunt, 60 kilometres south of Wangaratta, but is not currently producing any meat for sale.
He is one of fewer than 10 people farming bison in Australia and said regulatory change could help them realise their potential. ”Bison is slightly sweeter and leaner than beef and is becoming incredibly popular in the United States,” he said.
Victorian distributors say the potential for markets in bison, buffalo and camel meats is being stymied by regulations that cause irregular supply.
”There’s a market here for bison but I just can’t get it in,” said Ken Lang of Yarra Valley Game Meats. ”Camel and buffalo are hard to get, too.”
Queenslander Harvey Douglas hopes potential changes to the meat-processing standards could allow him to use his mobile abattoir to process camel meat for domestic use. ”The government’s planning to cull something like 50,000 camels this year and just leave them in the desert to rot,” Mr Douglas said. ”It is just an incredible waste of resources … we should be allowed to process them in the field.”
Camel and kangaroo meats tend to be higher in protein, lower in fat and have a smaller carbon footprint.
Coles and Woolworths have been selling kangaroo meat for more than 10 years and say sales have been growing by up to 25 per cent a year.
Kangaroo was legalised for human consumption in Victoria in 1993 but it remains illegal to commercially harvest kangaroos.
So while Victorian farmers with culling permits can shoot as many as 30,000 kangaroos a year, they are banned from selling the meat.
”They’re currently killing kangaroos and just putting them in a pit, which is crazy given the demand for the meat,” said Nash Cowie, of Wangara Poultry and Game in Kensington.
The Napier Hotel in Fitzroy has been selling kangaroo dishes for 15 years and currently serves up about 100 kilograms a week.
”We get our kangaroo from South Australia but we would love to get it locally, if the quality was right,” manager Guy Lawson said.
The proposed changes to food standards will have no bearing on Victoria’s kangaroo harvesting laws. But a government spokeswoman said it was ”undertaking some preliminary work to assess the feasibility of commercial kangaroo harvesting which occurs in other states”.