Vegetable Vengeance

onion and garlic on white surface
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In my last food-related post I mentioned I wrote about how cabbage smells bad when boiled for too long. I was doing a bit of reading about it before writing that post and found an article that said that cabbage is one of a family of plants that defends itself. Cabbage contains sulfur compounds that are released in the cooking process. The longer you cook it the worse the smell. Another member of this family is the onion. Onions are mean, they make me cry.

This is a description of what happens when you peel onions.

Amino acid sulfoxides form sulfenic acids as you slice into an onion. These enzymes which were isolated are now free to mix with the sulfenic acids to produce ​propanethial S-oxide, a volatile sulfur compound gas which wafts upward and into your eyes. This gas reacts with the water in your tears to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away.

https://www.thoughtco.com/why-do-onions-make-you-cry-604309

All I know is that I find it extremely difficult to peel onions as my eyes get sore and watery. It was a kitchen chore I would always pass off to David who didn’t seem to be affected by it.

There are supposedly a few cures for it. Someone told me that eating dry bread would help. Well, I enjoyed the bread but I still cried.

Wearing safety goggles over my glasses had not occurred to me. I am not sure I’d do that if I had them I’d probably just forget until it was too late. I’ve also read that rubbing your hands on a stainless steel odour absorber can help.

Somehow I feel passing the onion chopping job to someone else is still a better idea. Or possibly just buying frozen onions. As it is I keep a box of tissues handy when I have to do this job.

 

 

The Democratic Sausage

Here in Tasmania, we have local government elections this month. This is particularly interesting for us in the Huon Valley as for the past couple of years we’ve had no elected councilors and the area has been run by an Administrator. This was due to problems with the previous council that ended up in all the council members being dismissed by the state government. Naturally, there is a high level of interest in this election and although voting is not compulsory we’re expecting there will be a high percentage of votes returned.

This will be a postal vote so no need to physically go to the polls and on one of the many local social media forums I’ve been following someone remarked that he was disappointed that he would not get to enjoy his democratic sausage on election day.

So what is the Democratic Sausage? I have no idea what happens in other countries but here in Australia voting normally takes place at a local school, church, hall or other public building. Elections are held on a Saturday so it is a great opportunity for community fundraising.

Democracy Sausage
Barbecue
Where David and I used to live in Adelaide our nearest polling booth was at the local school. Whenever there was an election the school would hold a sausage sizzle and sometimes there would be cakes and handcrafts for sale as well. As voting is compulsory here in Australia, except for local government, everyone eligible has to turn up to vote at some point. Getting a sausage on a piece of bread with onion and tomato sauce somehow makes the experience less of a chore and more of a Saturday morning outing for the family. It’s also a nice little earner for the school, church, sporting club or charity so on election day the smell of barbecued sausages and onions wafts all over the country.

Our Op Shop in Geeveston is in the grounds of the local primary school and we always try to open the shop one Saturday a month for people who can’t make it on weekdays. Last time there was a state election and we found out that the school would be the polling booth we knew that was the day to open the shop.

Outside the Op Shop

So if your local community has a fundraiser at a polling booth I recommend that you go along. You can exercise your right to vote, catch up with friends and neighbours and enjoy the Democratic Sausage. What could be better?

(Sausage)Link:

https://www.electionsausagesizzle.com.au/

 

Cabbage

If you were to ask me what vegetable I like the least I think it would be a toss-up between spinach and cabbage.

I’ve got nothing against them as vegetables but I didn’t have a good introduction to either in my younger years.

basil leaves and avocado on sliced bread on white ceramic plate
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Spinach didn’t figure very largely during my childhood. I mostly knew it as something that Popeye ate out of a can. It didn’t look appetising. Later I was introduced to frozen spinach. David liked it so I’d buy it sometimes but to me, it was a green soggy mess.  I’ve cooked with fresh spinach and while I think it has a better texture than the mushy stuff I am still not enthusiastic about it.

So much for spinach.

Cabbage, as a child I really hated it. Mum used to boil it and it smelled terrible. I still remember an old ad for air freshener. Husband comes home and asks if his wife is cooking cabbage.

“How did you know?” she asks

“The whole street knows.” was the reply.

Boiled cabbage stinks. It also looked revolting, white and soggy, it looked as unappetising as it tasted. I didn’t often refuse food at mealtimes but mum had a hard time getting me to eat boiled cabbage.

It wasn’t until I was much older and discovered coleslaw that I could bear to eat cabbage at all. I also learned that there were other types of cabbage. Red cabbage and the curly leafed Savoy cabbage. They made salads more interesting but I still don’t really like cabbage cooked.

closeup photo of pink and white kaleidoscope artwork
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
Cabbage
A Savoy cabbage with curly leaves.

In mum’s day there was no Google to ask for a better way to cook cabbage and even if there was I doubt that she would have done it. I did though and learned that cabbage contains sulfur compounds which are aggravated by long cooking. If you cook it quickly it doesn’t stink. How I wish I’d know that years ago. I might have cooked it myself sometimes. As it is I might make or buy a coleslaw in warm weather but apart from throwing it in the wok to stir fry it, I wouldn’t normally eat it in cooler weather. I prefer my food crunchy or chewy to mushy anyway.

Apparently, one way to make cabbage less soggy is to salt it prior to cooking. You shred the cabbage, toss it with the salt and leave it in a colander for an hour before squeezing it out. I would not have thought of this because I practically never add salt to food either before or after cooking. I may wave the salt cellar at the pot when cooking boiled eggs, pasta and potatoes but the idea of putting a whole tablespoon of salt into food would never have occurred to me.

I really wrote this post in order not to waste a nice photo of a Savoy cabbage that I took last week but it has got me thinking that I might try a few different cabbage recipes. Maybe after more than 50 years, I might start to like eating cooked cabbage.

 

Links:

https://oureverydaylife.com/cook-cabbage-smell-36005.html

https://www.thekitchn.com/3-mistakes-to-avoid-when-cooking-cabbage-228334

 

 

Daily Prompt: Retrospective

The End?

Just a couple of days ago I posted my fifth anniversary post. By that time I already knew that WordPress was getting rid of the Daily Prompt and Weekly Photo Challenges.

What was different from other times that  we’ve had changes here is that WordPress has not told us that it is an improvement or that some new and better thing will be coming along to replace it. The last topics have been very final.

I’ve read a lot of posts and comments and I know that people are very unhappy about all of this. It seems there will be nobody left at WordPress to listen or care or to reassure us that it will be alright. They already have our money.

The bloggers that I read are not businesses, they are people who like to share their thoughts and pictures like I do. It’s fun to blog but if you are not being read it is a bit like shouting in an empty room. I admit that I did not do the Daily Prompt every day but when I was starting out  I used it a lot for inspiration and most of the people who I follow now I found through their Daily Prompt posts. I’m not sure how somebody starting out now would find other like-minded bloggers. By luck I suppose.

I know all our collected posts on this subject will not matter a jot. The WordPress Team are now packing their cardboard boxes and heading out the door leaving us wondering what’s coming next.

Battlefield Tourism

 

Villers-Bretonneux mémorial australien (tour et croix) 1.jpg
By Markus3 (Marc ROUSSEL) – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Introduction:

A friend of mine sent me an article from The Guardian about the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre near Villers-Bretonneux on ANZAC Day. It was an interesting piece. You can read it here.

It made me think about the way that many museums these days have become entertainment venues rather than places of learning and about whether it is really right to do that on a battlefield. I actually tapped out the beginning of this post on my phone while waiting for my ride to the Op Shop and finished it here at home later after I’d done some further reading. You may not agree with my take on the subject but that’s OK you don’t have to.

The Sir John Monash Centre:

I recently read about the new museum in Villers-Bretonneux in France which commemorates Australian soldiers killed in battle there in World War 1. It is called the  Sir John Monash Centre. The museum is said to be an experience and cost an enormous amount of money. A hundred million dollars in fact. It has been built adjacent to the original museum which was built in the 1930’s. My question is why? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to give the original museum a facelift and spend all that money on projects that benefited victims of wars and their families?

In fact the Australian National Memorial has  recently been updated apparently so did we need to spend another hundred million dollars on an “Interpretive Centre”?

Here is a description of the original museum.

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MEMORIAL

Designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and inaugurated on the 22nd July 1938 by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, this imposing memorial was the last of the Great War national memorials to be built in France or Belgium. The white stone memorial is composed of a central tower, two corner pavilions and walls that bear the names of 11,000 missing Australian soldiers who died in France. In front of the memorial is a Commonwealth Military Cemetery. The top of the tower provides panoramic views of the Somme countryside the Australians helped defend in 1918 and an orientation table signals the direction of other Australian sites of remembrance.

At the bottom of the staircase, a large wall-plaque displays a map of the Western Front and the emplacement of the five Australian divisional memorials in France and Belgium: 1st Division at Pozières, 2nd Division at Mont St-Quentin, 3rd Division at Sailly-le-Sec, 4th Division at Bellenglise and the 5th Division at Polygon Wood in Belgium.

Please don’t think that I’m being disrespectful to the ANZAC’s . I am just cynical enough to believe that this is more about tourist dollars than history. I do think that these men should be remembered and a museum telling their story is a good way to do that. I don’t think it should be viewed as an entertainment venue. Do people really have to be entertained by everything they see? Can’t they just reflect and maybe learn something?

This is what the same website says about the Sir John Monash Centre

http://www.somme-battlefields.com/memory-place/australian-national-memorial-sir-john-monash-centre-villers-bretonneux

 

THE SIR JOHN MONASH CENTRE

In April 2018 a new interpretation centre about Australia’s role in the Great War will open at Villers-Bretonneux. The Sir John Monash Centre tells Australia’s story of the Western Front in the words of those who served. Set on the grounds of the Australian National Memorial and adjacent to the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, the Sir John Monash Centre is one of the key sites of the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front, and establishes a lasting international legacy of the Australian Centenary of Anzac 2014-2018.
This cutting-edge multimedia centre reveals the Australian Western Front experience through a series of interactive multimedia installations and immersive experiences. The SJMC App, downloaded onto each visitor’s personal mobile device, acts as a «virtual tour guide» over the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, the Australian National Memorial and the Sir John Monash Centre. The experience is designed so visitors gain a better understanding of the journey of ordinary Australians – told in their own voices through letters, diaries and real-life images – and connect with the places they fought and died. A visit to the Sir John Monash Centre is a moving experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Many museums now offer a multimedia type experience to the point where it is almost impossible to learn anything unless you download the app or carry the museum’s device so you can listen to commentary and descriptions. I have done this at one or two museums and galleries recently and personally I find it annoying. I like to take my time, read, look and most of all keep away from the crowds so I don’t always take the set route through a museum but may skip a crowded area and go back to it later.

Back in 1990 David and I visited St Petersburg, Russia. It was still known as Leningrad then. We were not doing a tour so some of the things we visited we were not able to fully understand. However we visited the memorial to the people who died in the Siege of Leningrad in World War Two, or as the Russians called it. “The Great Patriotic War”. Although we could not read the information the long lists of names and the solemn atmosphere moved us as much as if we had it all explained to us. It did probably help that we both had read about those terrible years prior to our visit. I don’t know if that memorial has received an upgrade since 1990. If it has I hope it has not been turned into a circus because that would be wrong.

 

Момумент защитникам Ленинграда 1.jpg
By KoMiKorOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

I’d like to think that this huge some of money has been spent purely to educate but I can’t help feeling it’s more about  politics and making money and I can’t help wondering if it was really necessary. I have included links to the articles that I read while working on this post and perhaps after reading some of them you will see how I arrived at my point of view.

Further Reading:

https://www.battlefield-tours.com.au/html/villers-bretonneux-2018.html

https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/100m-monash-centre-to-form-entry-point-to-france-s-western-front-20180413-p4z9cg.html

http://honesthistory.net.au/wp/money-monash-and-motive-analysing-a-project-in-france-i/

http://www.coxarchitecture.com.au/project/sir-john-monash-centre/

http://www.afr.com/news/world/sir-john-monash-centre-brings-attention-back-to-australias-great-commander-20180419-h0z0l7