Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In which I actually talk about food

When I came up with the idea for this blog, I had envisioned it being all about food since, frankly, that’s what I spend most of my time thinking about. (Hence the food reference in the blog name.) Also, “food blog” is a much more concise description than “weird information about my life in Australia blog”. But, whatever. Perhaps this will just be the blog that defies definition!

In any case, this entry will be the serendiptious topic that combines both. A big part of my self-orientation to Canberra has been scoping out what is available in terms of foodstuffs. As I’m sure most people do, I have developed a little list of foods that I cook regularly, and one of the challenges of my repeated international relocations has been finding the ingredients to make them in new places. When I lived in Oxford, I used to have a regular circuit of specialty shops I went to to get things like pancetta, Italian sausages, and especially Pecorino Romano cheese, which I infinitely prefer to the much-hyped (and much more readily available) Parmigiano Reggiano. (What can I say—it’s the way I was brought up. My people are peasants.) Pecorino Romano was so hard to come by in Oxford, in fact, that I used to have to go to a deli to get it; the cheese shop only carried it intermittently, and never seemed to notice when they were running out. So I knew it might be even more difficult to locate, this much farther from Italy.

Having already scoped out my local supermarket, and found several kinds of cheese labeled as ‘Pecorino’ (but not Pecorino Romano), I thought I would try the gourmet shop across the way, which seemed to have various items of cheese, meat, and other delicacies for sale. I figured at the very least they might have some good blue cheeses for DP, aka The Blue Cheese Fiend.

(Remember that cheese shop in Oxford I mentioned? I was so spoiled by that shop. Apart from the fact that they regularly failed me on the Pecorino Romano score, they were loaded down with fresh, delicious, authentic English, French, and Italian cheeses that were often priced comparable to or cheaper than the supermarket. The woman who managed it really knew her cheese, and introduced me to several new ones. It was definitely one of the perks of living so close to The Continent.)

Well. Back to the gourmet shop. I didn’t see any Pecorino Romano there. But maybe that’s because I was distracted—blinded even—by the price of Roquefort, as illustrated above.

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Europe anymore.


Zippy365 said... Best Blogger Tips

Well, Lemon, I was wondering when you would get to the food. I've got a lot of questions, but just one now. I know in these difficult financial times, when markets change on an hourly or minute by minute basis, it's tough to discern the actual rate of exchange, but help me out here please. How much is AUS$79/kg exactly?

Pyrus said... Best Blogger Tips

So, should I be complimented that you're finally coming around to the fruity goodness?

:: waves at you ::

P.S. I'm very frightened of your cheese prices.

KJ said... Best Blogger Tips

What? Is that 97 DOLLARS a kg? Holy maitre fromager, what kind of cheese overlords are running the country? Makes me grateful I'm not a partaker of cheese in general (yes, borderline freakish for a half-Italian). For your sake and for the love of cheese, I hope that's a misplaced decimal point and you won't be forced to order cheese online (hello undesirable bacteria)

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

To zippy365: AUD$97.00=USD$66.00. So that price works out to about USD$33.00 for a pound of Roquefort. And in these changing financial markets, that's a lot of simoleons for some cheese.

To pyrus: Cute--Latin fruit names! And yes, be afraid. Be very afraid.

To KJ: Yes, when I saw this sign I thought, "Geez, this place is a cheese-hater's paradise. I'll have to tell KJ." I'm not sure you CAN order cheese off the internet; Australian import laws are, shall we say, draconian?

Cheryl A said... Best Blogger Tips

There have to be Aussie cows/sheeps/goats! There never was a better argument for going local.

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Cheryl - Yes, we've already discovered some tasty Australian blues. I gather that use of raw milk is pretty much illegal here, though, which sparks debate about the taste of the cheese.

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