Taking Spag Bog beyond the bog standard
Just another night in suburban Australia and the natives are hungry.
What’s on the menu? Stir fry, spaghetti bolognese, meat and three veg. Repeat.
For a nation of smug, telly-watching food obsessives, we’re sure doing a bad job of actually cooking the stuff.
Westfield’s recent survey of Australian families has caught us out. Not only do most of us cook a handful of meals on rotation week in, week out; just eight per cent end up cooking a recipe we’ve taken the time to watch on television.
Yep, we’ve got a full-blown dinner-time crisis on our hands. But all is not lost.
So before anyone (god forbid) calls Jamie Oliver to our shores to “sort out proper food”; here are five ways to get you out of our dinner-time rut. Starting now.
1. Never underestimate the power of mince, says food guru Simon Thomsen. A man who reckons there is nothing wrong with our trusty dinner time staples, as long as we use variations. Cooking bolognese? Thomsen suggests branching out into lasagne or tacos. Making a roast? Try varying the “starches” you serve. Swap mash potatoes for lentils or polenta. Use noodles instead of rice with a stir fry; make your own curry with shop-bought curry paste. Or even try a pizza scorched under the cover of your BBQ.
2. Tribute nights are all the rage in some of the world’s finer dining establishments. According to this recent article, esteemed Canadian Chef Marc Lepine has devised a 15-course degustation that’s been almost entirely copied from the menu of world-renowned restaraunt el Bulli.
I can vouch for the success of tribute nights, albeit on a less sophisticated note. A much-loved ex-flatmate of mine, Stu, concocted Taco Tuesday to ease the boredom of the weekly food routine. Sometimes we even wore sombreos.
3. Follow a food blog for inspiration. I absolutely love this one; but here’s a great compilation by The Times of the world’s top 50. And for stuff a little closer to home, try this list of the best Aussie ones (thanks @Ganga108).
4. While you’re online you could also go to Facebook. Yes, seriously. One of the most inspired of all Facebook groups - “What the f&** do I cook for dinner?” - is full of friends’ suggestions and helpful tips.
5. Reminisce. Remember birthday night as a kid? Check out this blog devoted to people’s memories of their favourite childhood birthday dinners or this one about some parents whose two children take in the sights of New York each birthday. Then call your mum and dad and ask them to make it and deliver it to your house.
What’s your staple food?
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