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Australian/Asian

"We’re a tripe-loving, onion-hating nation that enjoys a good chicken burger." Alison Turner/delicious.

Now how Australian can you get, than the Australian Women's Weekly? Maybe the Country Women's Association but I think that would just be about it.


This is a recent Women's Weekly cookbook that my loving husband picked up for me - apparently they were giving them away - in Woolworths the other day. It says on the back that it's a Team Member Purchase. What is that you may ask? Well apparently it's a little bit of the random acts of kindness trope, whereby team members - I have no idea whether this means all Woolworths staff, or just selected staff - put that sticker on something which means the customer - picked at random does not have to pay.


"a Woolworths spokesperson revealed the act reflects the retailer's commitment to "bring a little good to customers every day" and confirmed that team members will hand out the stickers from time to time." Yahoo News


I saw a comment from one woman whose husband is a Woolworths store manager, saying he had a budget for such things. And no, neither Coles nor Aldi do this. So I suppose it's a good thing although it would be even better if they chose important items like food, and gave them to people who looked like they needed them. Not David. Or does he look that down at heel and needy?

But back to my topic of the day. What really struck me about this particular book was that the majority of recipes were Asian based. And yes I did a count today, and whilst I admit that my figures are a bit woolly, nevertheless it looks like a little over half of the recipes in the book are Asian, followed, by a long way, by Middle-Eastern, Italian and Other which includes a hamburger, a paella and a vegetarian shepherd's pie. Also marginally interestingly, the meals that took the longest - over one hour - had the lowest Asian representation. Fast (under 30mins) and moderately fast (under 1 hr) were dominated by the Asians.


I'm guessing that none of us are really surprised by this, and I will come back to why in a moment, but let me add some other loose statistics to the mix. Intrigued I searched and found a couple of different surveys. One was undertaken by YouGov and Hello Fresh and was of 1000 people who cooked at home. According to their results the most cooked home meals were fish and chips (56%); BBQ (54%); Pasta (54%); Pizza (52%); and Stir fry (45%). When asked which were their favourite cuisines the same people said - Italian (50%); Chinese (36%); Mexican (32%); Indian (30%); American (22%) and British( 26%). The fish and chips in the picture are, by the way, Asian style from Taste. So I suppose those figures showed more of an Italian bias than Asian, but then if you add Chinese and Indian together the picture changes.


Then I found another set of statistics in a delicious. article by Alison Turner which canvassed Google and an Uber Eats survey. A slightly different set of questions and therefore rather different answers, but also still reflecting a particular bias perhaps.


Google reported that the most commonly searched recipe online was for dahl, followed by drunken chicken; mashed potato, fish tacos and jaffles. It's sort of the same question as what people are cooking, and yet not. Presumably the people who are just cooking, know how to cook what they are cooking. The people searching on Google are looking to learn something new. Mashed potato? Jaffles?


Google also reported on searches with the question "how do you cook ...?" And this was truly weird. Would you believe Tripe? Or bunya nuts? Truth to tell I find this result somewhat hard to believe, but that's what Google said.

Uber Eats on the other hand said that its largest orders for takeaway were chicken burgers and burritos - sort of the same thing really? And these two dishes represented half of all orders.

They also reported - and this seems a contradiction to the above result - that the most popular cuisines are Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Middle Eastern. And as delicious. points out that all those cuisines use a lot of onions, and yet the most requested to be removed ingredient is onions.


Then there's pub food - top pub food - well again it varies but the Italians probably win out there with salt and pepper calamari and chicken parmigiana.

All of which is mildly entertaining and interesting, but not very consistent because of being selective in different ways. There were some regional variations well for example.


However, I do think that it shows a definite move towards the Asian cuisines. A quick glance at the recipe index for the current Coles Magazine confirmed this. There are lots of Asian options in there, followed closely by Italian, Middle-Eastern - so perhaps we should just say Mediterranean - and Mexican too.


Why? I suppose it's obvious but there are a few different reasons. The order in which these are presented are all me - and random.


Asian food is delicious. We might each have our favourite Asian food - mine would be Indian and Thai at the top and Chinese and Japanese at the bottom - but that's just me. I'm pretty sure that every single Australian would have a favourite Asian cuisine and would cook from one or more at home every now and then - not to mention takeaway and dining out.


Asian food is often very quick and easy. You just need all the spices and condiments, and we can get virtually all of them these days in our local supermarket. And none of us are very far from an Asian supermarket either. Perhaps not those bunya nuts. Which I have never seen - not even in a Chinese store.


Australia is in Asia. Well in Australasia - which sort of demonstrates how Australia feels about Asia - sort of part of it and yet not.


We have a large - and growing - Asian immigrant population, some of whom have been here for hundreds of years. Maybe some of them settled here before us. After all Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are just on our doorstep. Surely some Indonesians settled here? Immigrants bring their food with them. It makes them feel at home. Just go to a Chinese yum cha restaurant at the weekend.


The young like takeaway, like to try new things, and like to prepare food that is quick and easy. Asian food fits all those categories.


Foodie magazines, foodie websites, TV programs, cookbooks, celebrity chefs - all feature Asian food. Adam Liaw - Asian himself - said once that most food bloggers were young slim Asian women. Several other of our celebrity chefs are Asian themselves, or heavily influenced by Asian food. So it's no surprise that the Australian Women's Weekly has succumbed. Perhaps it should rename itself. No bad thing I hasten to say.


Tonight, however, we are going Italian - a veggie lasagna, although yesterday it was French - quiche - with a Mexican touch - corn, peppers, chilli, and the day before it was curry - from a jar - I was still not feeling that great.


I just wonder when it will be Africa's turn in the cookery spotlight. You see glimpses every now and then, but still just glimpses.

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