Posts by TracyMac

  • Feed: Melting pot: A cuisine of immigrants,

    Oh, and the lack of restaurants doing Pacific-style cuisine continues to be a mystery. Even Australians have come up with a concept of "Australian cuisine", with some emphasis on bush ingredients and the like.

    There are plenty of bush ingredients in NZ, and surely plenty of Maori/Pasifika techniques that could be brought into play to create something fresh but not gimmicky. What about hangi-style meats that get prepared with bush herbs, or seared and finished off with bush spices, served up in some little (genuine) kono?

    My former "dad in law" invented a super speed hangi device out of a 40 gallon drum cut in half, with the top half turned into a basket-holder with a bit of welding and some wire milk trays, the bottom part stacked with volcanic rocks, and a couple of oxy-acetylene torches poked into holes near the bottom to get the rocks up to temperature. Baskets were loaded up in the usual way, topped off with wet cloths and sacks, then the lid (with a few steam vents burned in) fitted back on tightly, and the whole thing done in half the time, tasting exactly the same.

    Analyse (or source from Rotorua) the salts that make up the crystal-clear ngawha that's best for cooking sweetcorn. Steam and serve the kernels combined with fresh karengo and fancy cultured butter. Mutton bird slivers with pikopiko, all fushiony with a spiced coconut sauce and diced steamed taro. Fancy Samoan style chow mein. Something spicy with tinned corn beef and rice. All the fish, and a really good oka. A new spin in pineapple pie.

    With all the variations on fancy burger and fancy fried chicken around the place, you'd think that someone could come up with interesting regional food at a mid-range price - we can't all eat at Peter Gordon (although I've done it once in London). Although some kind of overtly Pacifika riff on fried chicken would be pretty cool. Coconut instead of buttermilk for marinating? Crushed sugarcane and pineapple glazes?

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 673 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Melting pot: A cuisine of immigrants,

    Great topic, and I'll be buying the book when I am back in NZ over the holidays.

    In Auckland, there was (and is) always Wah Lee to visit for its fantastic range of mysterious ingredients stuffed from floor to ceiling, from the baskets on the floor to the things hanging from the walls. While the family who own the place have probably been in NZ almost as long as my ancestors, there was that sense of stepping literally into another country and culture when you walked into its doors.

    A formative experience I had with Chinese cuisine in the early 80s was at a restaurant in Panmure, of all places. Beef in black bean sauce - tender thin slices, the light but super savoury sauce (nothing like the jarred goop you get in supermarkets), the REAL thing. I still haven't had a better version of that dish, and it began my love affair with fermented soy and what we now know as umami - 13 is a good age to get kids expanding their palates, I think.

    Earlier, my mother worked at an Italian restaurant in Milford, called Alberto's. He was a lovely man, and treated my mother, with four kids and a fuckwit adulterous husband, with respect and consideration. Not the routine treatment of a working class woman in the 70s. My mother did have to be educated on who did NOT get the bill presented to them one night, when a set of very large Italian men in wide-lapelled broad-pinstriped dark suit and tie ate and talked for hours and nearly drank the place out of wine. Apparently said gentlemen continued to be regular patrons and no-one went missing, so all ended well.

    The drawback was we NEVER got to eat the very trendy Pizza Hut when it hit Auckland's North Shore - even years after mum stopped working at Alberto's, she wouldn't let us eat "that crap". Then there was the time she loaded all of us kids on the bus from Birkenhead to go buy real fresh spinach lasagne sheets from the one deli in Takapuna that stocked them. A multi-hour mission, and pretty damn radical for Irish-descent pakehas in the late 70s. I still highly rate mum's lasagne recipe. And she's right - if you can cook a "white sauce" (now I know the fancy name for it is a bechamel), you can cook pretty much anything.

    And a couple more oddies - the Japanese (definitely not Korean-masquerading-as-) restaurant in Wellesley (?) St in the mid-late 80s that did shabu-shabu and sukiyaki at the tables, which also featured hot plates you could cook your own okonomiyaki on for the princely sum of $10. It was fantastic, and ahead of its time (in NZ). And the Japanese lunch bar that did simple school-style four-ingredient takeaway meals - cabbage salad, rice, something stewed or fried for the day, a bit of omelette or fruit. And let us not forget Daikoku Ramen, serving ramen and gyoza to Japanese sailors and surprised passers-by near the wharves, also since the 80s and still trucking mightily along today.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 673 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Harkanwal Singh: What really…, in reply to James Ting-Edwards,

    That's exactly the way a responsible journalist should have reported on the broader issue.

    Also, if Labour wanted to tackle rentierism, doing so without looking at non-immigrant citizens would be a pointless waste of time.

    That said, I'm all for limits on non-resident land purchases. And for not conferring citizenship on rich, far-right-wing plutocrats setting up "isolated" boltholes in our country on payment of some undisclosed sums to some undisclosed coffers. Such plutocrats who can't even be bothered receiving such citizenship in said country, and demanding that a forelock-tugging High Commissioner confer it in said technocrat's private and palatial mansion.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 673 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Harkanwal Singh: What really…,

    This thing was disgusting from the start, and it's even more disgusting that Twyford was responsible for SUPPLYING the "data" in the first case.

    I somehow missed that fact the first time around (if it was made clear then) - I was sufficiently disgusted that he was so quick to pick up the dog-whistle on what looked like typical Herald immigrant-bashing based on sweet-FA real data.

    It's awful they disregarded their own fact-checking, but meh, see above re Herald and immigrant-bashing.

    This new information certainly confirms my opinion about (not) voting Labour, in large part due to their actions on this matter, and most especially Phil Twyford's personal ethics.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 673 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Too Sexy for Your Site, in reply to linger,

    Oh yeah, I am all good with "tolerance", and don't actually require "acceptance", except from people I actually care about, and equal representation in the law.

    What I get annoyed by is the manifest hypocrisy in the "I don't care about your bedroom" line in the instance where they themselves are blatantly announcing their own bedroom habits in multiple ways. It's not like I've ever given an acquaintance a blow-by-blow (ahem) rundown on who goes down on whom either.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 673 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Too Sexy for Your Site,

    Yup, this also speaks to people who complain about pride parades or being corrected about your partner's gender, and who claim they're all cool about it, but state, "I don't know why they/you make such a fuss - I don't need to know what goes on in someone's bedroom!"

    Often the same people, by the way, who wear wedding rings and constantly refer to "the hubby" and "the wife".

    As for the kink-without-sex thing, as another data point, I've done kink with scores of people, the majority of whom I'm not in the slightest bit sexually attracted to. I've had sex with a fraction of that number of people - maybe a tenth. Of that fraction, I've done kink with maybe a quarter of them. So yeah.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 673 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Bullshit and pigeon shit:…,

    Great article and photos, thanks. Ian's contribution is exactly the image that sprang up my mind as well.

    I'd quibble slightly that this particular form of tourism is substantially about witnessing people suffering, though. There's the "handcrafted = better" bullshit (often patently false when it comes to primary processing), and the exoticism in peering at workers doing processing in a "primitive" way.

    Why it's an acceptable form of tourism when these practices were outlawed in the tourists' country of origin on health/safety grounds decades ago is beyond me - especially since, as you observe, there are plenty of modern factories nearby. And you should be able to discern the fact these men will be paid a pittance. They sure as hell aren't owners of the means of production.

    I heartily wish that people who think this kind of labour-exploitation tourism is great get horribly ill and get to experience the joys of "primitive, exotic" health care there... Which will still be way better than what those workers ever get access to.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 673 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Communications breakdown, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Man, I really hate it when an organisation is addressed in a public forum about a public matter, and then tries to weasel their way into a private communication (where, of course, it's easier to bullshit a single person with a whole lot of nothing statements).

    Good on that person for shutting that down.

    It's not a private matter like "why have you sent debt collectors around about my rates bill", FFS.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 673 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Government lost the election,

    And regarding the point about how much racism is embedded in people's attitudes towards welfare recipients, I'd say it's a pretty damn big chunk. And another chunk is simple classism - growing up poor and Pakeha 30 odd years ago (before the worst of the welfare "reforms") certainly demonstrated that aspect to me adequately.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 673 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Government lost the election, in reply to izogi,

    No need for a third vote. That's essentially STV. Since the Aussies use that for the Senate vote, and a bastardised version for the lower house vote (NOT a good option), any argument about complexity is void. I haven't heard of any Aussies complaining about not being able to understand this voting thing.

    Alas, I think the mystery initials put people off - it needs a cute name like "Duckworth-Lewis".

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 673 posts Report Reply

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