Mundane Matters Monthly – October 2016

Mundane Matters Monthly – October 2016

Mundane Matters Monthly – October 2016


A year ago Anett asked me what did I truly want to do for work. I told her I am passionate about food. But I felt deflated as I couldn’t do anything about it – I am not a chef, or a grower, or a genius entrepreneur like Kimbal Musk (yes, Elon Musk’s brother).

‘Stick with design’, Anett and I both agreed. At the time Mundane Matters had received a lot of great feedback, so it seemed natural to follow my design path. I never associated it with food. It is nature that I was exploring.

But when I started to understand how unhealthy our food system was, I realised I had to contribute my design skills along with thousands of others who fought for better health and environment everyday. Today I found myself advocate organic farming and ethical eating. I don’t make much money out of my practice, but I feel fulfilled in every word I share, and every bite of my meals.

I am now learning to listen more to my inner voice. I believe that whatever we do, if it is from our authentic self, will eventually lead us to fulfill our passion and belief.

In saying the above, this letter will be all about food:

1. The land, people and culture first, then food

I am inspired by The Politics of Bushfood, a panel discussion about the increasingly popular usage of Australian native ingredients in the dining scenes since NOMA opened its pop-up restaurant in Sydney earlier this year.

The panel addressed the risk of commercialising Australian bushfood, in comparison to Indigenous art – be it dominated and controlled by the ones in power, or losing its people and culture, or simply planting and selling them everywhere in the world in every season like we’ve already done with other foods.

Something for us who live and eat in Australia to think about. Another good read about bushfood is on Broadsheet.

2. 2050 sounds like a nightmare.

In this article Mashable listed six facts about climate change and agriculture in 2050. It is alarming, but there are many things we can all do to help – because we all eat. It is our responsibility.

3. Climate change is affecting avocados as well.

According to the Hass Avocado Board, the amount of avocados shipped from Mexico to the U.S. in the first week of October dropped from 44 million to 22.9 million pounds year-to-year, due to high temperature and water shortage. Similar situation in Australia too. More on The Atlantic.

4. But $22 for an avocado toast is ridiculous.

The recent rage on The Australian columnist Bernard Salt’s comment on millennials’ ‘excessive spending’ on avocado toasts, which stops them from being able to buy a house is a flight-back from the millennials, questioning the housing affordability in Sydney and Melbourne. For the smart ones, it is a great marketing opportunity to convert millennials customers. For example, now we have an avocado-eater home loan and discounted avocado toasts.

5. I am one of the millennials who love to cook my meals (but still can’t afford to buy a house!)

What can be better than cooking our own meals with filter water, fresh organic produce and herbs from the farmers’ market, that we know every bite will benefit your health? Every time I am feeling my wallet a bit hurt paying a little more for organically made or grown produce, I remind myself that I am also paying for the cost for better farmer welfare and a healthier environment.

6. Fresh milk thistle

A surprising find from my farmers’ market on the weekend was fresh milk thistle. Milk thistle is a herb that is used to detoxify the liver (especially good for you when you have to take anti-biotics), usually sold in herb shop. If you know how to cook it, please share with me a recipe as mine turned out to be a culinary disaster. Feel free to pick some from me too if you want to experiment.

7. Job’s tears (coixseed)

I started seeing the doctor at the UTS Chinese Medicine Clinic to cure my ovarian cyst. The doctor also suggested me to eat job’s tears, also known as coixseed, to clear out the ‘dampness’ in my body. From the Chinese medicine perspective, disease is a result of excessive dampness – I guess it is also relevant to the acid/alkaline theory.

My parents in China eat job’s tears quite often. Highly recommended for you. Boil it till soft, drink the soup and eat the seeds. It is best to add a bit of ginger at least, as it is a ‘cold’ food. It can be found in most Chinese grocery shops.

8. Best homemade sauce by Yotam Ottolenghi:

50g tahini paste
1 small garlic clove (crushed)
1/2 tsp tamari soy sauce
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cider vinegar

I use it in my vegetable stir fry, topped with black sesame seeds. If tahini is not in your diet, I recommend you use it sometimes. In China we praise the benefits of sesame seed, for it rich in vitamins, minerals and natural oils that nourish our skin. More benefits here. I use unhulled tahini, which has slightly higher nutrition than hulled tahini.

Thanks for reading again. Best wishes for November. Enjoy every moment in the second last month of 2016 x

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Posted on at 4:23 am by Danling Xiao.