These are native pepper berries, wattle seed and salt bush that taste like pepper, roasted cinnamon and umami salt. I haven’t found these ingredients package free yet. I wish more stores (even supermarkets) supported native bush foods… In the meantime, it probably quicker for me to rent a home with a big backyard and try to grow these myself.
There was a time when humans would dine and draw together. We’d share stories, impart wisdom and teach the ways of the world.
My partner and I have introduced a bit of drawing into our evenings. We don’t have kids (or wisdom to impart), so creative play is a habit we try to consciously adopt. No Tv is fine by me. Instead, we draw plans for the future, explain concepts or creepishly draw each other drawing!
I truly believe all humans are capable of drawing (…as well as singing and dancing). Our species is partly defined by our creativity. We might not be the best illustrators, but most of us can demonstrate concepts through mark-making. It’s a good practice to exercise our abilities in cognition, problem-solving and innovation. If you’re lucky enough to have full mobility and people to dine with, try a shared drawing session. Flex these muscles! For extra brownie points, use scrap paper and a pencil.
Check out this inspirational Aboriginal rock art in Kakadu. The first pic is a cave drawing above a sitting area. Some of these drawings are up to 20,000 years old.
Long live this beautiful tradition.
Oh, how I wish to live in a cave…
I want to fill my life with as much creative play as possible. Making, experimenting and trying new things is good for our souls. Doing this together strengthens bonds and has the potential to build ritual and knowledge from tasks.
Together is better. We’ve been practising making tortillas, mountain bread, sour dough and naan bread. By shifting dinner from a task to a shared ritual, we’ve change our mindset from “I can’t be bothered cooking” to “let’s cook together”. Being surrounded by modern conveniences, I had lost touch with this way of living.
Quality flour + clean water = freedom. If my partner and I can make these things well, then we‘ll no longer value convenience. Instead, we’ll value quality, core ingredients. It will be more affordable. It will be nutritionally better for us. It will help us tap into traditional cultures and connect with our collective history. It will enrich our lives. It’s a win win win.
I haven’t eaten cow, pig or lamb in almost 10 years. Plus, I’ve hardly eaten any meat in the last couple of months. I’m practically vegetarian. I listen to my body and it rewards me when I feed it an occasional piece of quality meat. I’ll aim to eat anything that has a neutral-positive effect on the Australian environment but I still have much to learn. My approach comes with naive hope that Australia will:
- Favour consumption of over-populated pests;
- Build up the population of native wildlife through consumer demand; and
- Reduce meat consumption overall.
No more binge eating 3-4 types of meat from animals that can’t withstand drought. No more “throw another shrimp on the barbie” or highly televised lamb advertisements in the lead up to Australia day. No more “you don’t make friends with salad”. Respect, diversity and control.
Introduced species such as rabbit, camel and water buffalo are over-populated and problematic for our native wildlife. If they were a popular meat, maybe our native flora and fauna would be slightly better off?
Australia has a lush selection of edible plants and tasty native meats such as emu, wallaby, kangaroo and crocodile. Cruelty aside, if we were farming more natives, surely that’s a better use of agricultural land compared to cattle, pig and sheep farming? It could reduce soil salinity, irrigation and land clearing. Maybe the cattle farmers would maintain employment. Maybe more of our land can be focused on re-wilding initiatives and greater biodiversity.
Supporting any form of monoculture (cow, cotton, soy, etc) can have detrimental effects on the environment. I’m not saying this approach is perfect. It’s just another way to look at conscious consumerism. 🙃
For Aussies: Kangaroo steak can be found at @colessupermarkets and @woolworths_au in the ‘Game meat’ section. Occasionally, we can find rabbit, duck and camel too. These are NOT sold package free. Markets and boutique butchers sometimes have alternative meats where you could try to byo container (still working up the courage to do this myself).
I believe that purchasing alternative food is a vote in favour of diversity. 🐄🐖🐑🐓
A little bit in love with this bush-dyed cotton tea towel. The dyes are created from native Australian plants, which makes me inspired to try it myself one day.
@aboriginal_bush_traders has the most incredible indigenous food, art & designs. It broadened my understanding of Aboriginal Art and built on my awareness of native bush foods. I took some quick snaps of the store but I forgot to get a shot of their teas and spices (which was mostly packaged in plastic). I wish there was more native bush tucker available at bulk food stores and a greater representation of Aboriginal cultures in general. I’m inspired by what we learnt.