Mel's Blog

Food and Whine


I’ve had a gutful. I’ve crossed over from foodie to furious.

It’s high time someone pulled the menu writers into line and let them know that we, those blessed with common sense, do not care where the walnuts in our waldorf salad are from.

I couldn’t care less that they’re from a small town in Victoria. So is my nan, but you don’t see her banging on about it. I hope, but don’t really care, if the walnuts had a lovely life before they met with their cruel but predictable fate.

I’m firmly of the belief that menus have become wanky. There’s too much description.

It’s a salad, not a never-before-seen species of krill. I’ve seen salads before, I know what to expect.

I don’t need a short paragraph running me through the lineage of the apples. I just want to eat lunch. I don’t want to earn partial credits towards a Certificate III in horticulture.

This level of detailed, self-important information used to be contained to the world of wine and I liked it that way – you could ignore it then.

I’ve always ordered wine the same way. Step one: Run your finger down the menu until you find the cheapest option. Step two: Ask the waiter about a mid-priced option so you don’t appear a total cheapskate. Step three: After you’ve pretended to consider your options for a few seconds, order a bottle of the cheap stuff.

Everyone is keen to be known as a connoisseur, but at what price to your tastebuds and hip pocket?

Beer is creeping up in price. I paid $7.10 for a pot of the stuff the other day. That’s two Happy Meals. That’s not a fair price for beer.

What’s it made from? Malt, barley, hops and the tears of angels? Just pass me a glass of house red and a straw please.

Also, while I’m on my soapbox, avocado on toast, are we done with this yet? It’s everywhere and it’s always “smashed avocado”.

I don’t think you do actually smash the avocado, I think it’s gently mashed, or pressed with the back of a fork. Enough hyperbole!

I have a rule – if I can make it at home I never buy it while I’m eating out.

I’m happy to buy your slow-cooked beef brisket bagel, because I don’t have nine hours to slow-cook meat.

I have what’s known as a job, and coupled with that, an extreme fear of burning the house down, so I can’t really ever trust a crockpot.

However, if you think I’m paying more than $11 for half an avocado upturned on to a piece of rock-hard sourdough, you’re wrong.

As I draw my public service announcement to a close, I wish to conclude on perhaps the most important point of all – never, ever clear away my wine glass without asking.

If you’re charging $12 for 100ml of the stuff, you need to ask me if I’m finished, because those two drops in the bottom might be worth 80 cents.

I’ve had coffee cups snatched off me half-full and good wine poured down the drain in bars by waiters. I need that wine and that coffee, as you might be able to tell from the tone of this column.

As originally published in The Courier Mail 


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