Wednesday, 27 February 2013

gods of the stomach

Illustration from my comic, Eating the blues from our anthology Kinds of Blue

Mum and I have started to become concerned by the glut of cooking shows on TV at the moment. On any given night there will be some food-related show on, whether a competition (like Masterchef or My Kitchen Rules), a how-to (like Better Homes and Gardens, Jamie's 15/30 minute meals, Nigellissima or Nigella's Kitchen) or a combination of travel/cultural exploration and food (Food Safari, Island Feast, Luke Nguyen's Vietnam).

I guess the nickname 'food porn' is pretty apt, as the shows bear little resemblance to reality and the food is all tarted up to look good on camera. For example, my colleague, D, has talked about cooking in Vanuatu on a camp and how even though they had a proper kitchen, she needed to chop the ingredients under nets to keep the flies off the food. I remember that from my own time in PNG and Fiji; the flies are everywhere. But on Island Feast? Nary a fly to be seen, so that it looks completely plausible, clean and enjoyable to cook a meal on a beach under a palm tree. And of course, there's the common complaint that there's no way Jamie's 15 minute meals actually take 15 minutes (sure, they'd take 15 minutes if you had a team to prep every ingredient, you only start timing from when you turn the oven/stove on, and you have a team to wash up afterwards).

Food is god. Excellence in cooking is prized, only the best ingredients will do, and spending hours watching others prepare and eat three course meals is a valid thing to do.

But at the same time, we hear constantly about the obesity epidemic, and slim personal trainers who stick to 1300Kj-a-day eating plans and train hard every day are held up as paragons. So fitness and thinness is god too.

On the SMH webpage at 10:45pm tonight, I counted 10 articles or ads displayed talking about weight, dieting or body image. Another nine promoted recipes, restaurants or used food/beverage photos to illustrate the headline.

A cursory scroll down, and scattered fairly evenly down the page were pictures of a purposely grotesque hamburger, people running on treadmills, a handful of sugar, a man's huge gut, fried chicken, champagne glasses, a woman measuring her bust, a bowl of pasta, a plastic surgeon's scalpel, a table set for fine dining. So even if you didn't read the articles, the images were subliminally reinforcing the food/fitness obsessions, pulling in opposite directions.

Is it any wonder problems with food and body image just simmer away under the surface for so many of us?

dictation needs work

I'm always trying to find ways of making my mind-numbing commute more useful. I've already documented my listening to audiobooks - the only real downfall of the audiobook is when you finish it mid-commute. Then you get the bizarre stentorian American voice barking at you, "AUDIBLE HOPES YOU'VE ENJOYED THIS PROGRAM", which is always at odds with whatever you've just been listening to. And you can't really download the next book over 3G or while you're driving, so you're stuck.

This happened today. And I thought, hey, I could dictate a blog post. That would be useful and efficient and even though I was only going to complain about not wanting to get dressed for work, sometimes people enjoy those day-to-day kind of blog posts. So I put in my earpiece and started the Dragon Dictation app and merrily chatted away as I drove.

I feel the resulting work of abstract art Dragon produced is far more entertaining than any blog post I could have actually written.

I'm good inhabit my cupboard good morning, hallowed by invitation. I look at the back at correcting it had blathered and look at the back of Dreckman their hand loudly and publish you get it on the cupboard floor indicated me that I was being ridiculous. Belleplain any Clayview why couldn't I get becoming to where?
At least one thing was clear - I was being ridiculous.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

I am too many different sizes

I recently bought three garments online from Sportscraft when they had a big 'outlet' sale - a skirt, a jumper and a shirt. The skirt is a 14 and fits just perfectly. The only size they had left in the jumper was an XXL, which I would normally avoid, but I loved the colour, it was something like $14, and I remembered that kind of knit often shrinks a little bit. The XXL is absolutely perfect (just as well there were no Ls left!).

The shirt, however, is a problem. I'm not really sure what lapse in judgement caused me to buy a button up shirt online. Being more well endowed in the chestal region, there is often a disparity between my top half's size and my bottom half's size (this makes buying dresses particularly problematic, but I never learn and continue to buy dresses that are either super stretchy or don't fit properly. But that's a rant for another occasion), and anything with buttons is a challenge because you don't know where/how much it will gape. I'm usually quite resigned to sewing in extra hidden press studs or living with a safety pin closing the gap.

Anyway I just...liked this shirt. It's not even my normal style. It's a red and white gingham and now that I look at it, it reminds me of the school uniforms we had at Tanglin in Singapore (though they were red and white pin stripes, and quite lovely really).

But because I wasn't sure about the buttons, etc, I ordered a size 18. And it fits really nicely across the bust, but makes me look like I might be pregnant. It also swims a bit around the shoulders. Sigh. I thought I could maybe sew some darts into it but I'm squeamish about ruining it when I haven't even worn it once - even though I probably won't wear it because it's too big. How's that for thinking?

I watched this video that made it seem really easy (they always do); I had to watch it a couple of times because I was so distracted by the woman's odd voice. I got as far as pinning the shirt, but it's really hard to pin a garment evenly on your own body (I still haven't gotten around to making that duct tape dressmaker's form (mainly because, as I said to Sammi, I don't really want to have to confront a headless version of myself every day)). The darts were weird and uneven and I remembered that's why I stopped making clothes, because I don't have the patience or care factor to be precise.

Also, what looks a cheerful check up close, just dissolves into a lolly pink solid from a distance, and that's really not my colour. Mum suggested wearing a vest over it when it gets cooler. I like that idea. Now I have to shop for vests.

Saturday, 9 February 2013


I was very excited to get an email this week from Natalie at Creme de la Craft, telling me I'd won a competition for $100 worth of washi tape from Freckled Fawn! I had completely forgotten I'd even entered the comp, as I rarely win anything. What a wonderful email to get, and a generous prize. Thank you, Natalie and Freckled Fawn!

Washi tape is delightful, but a frivolous thing to spend money on (although since when has that mattered to a crafter?*). So having $100 to buy whatever I like was just bliss. I am so looking forward to my parcel arriving...

...and then nothing will be safe! As well as cards, I've already washi-ed my desk, the cracked fridge handle, a flash hood I just made from leftover plastic...

What else can I washi?

* when I told her about my prize, mum said, "but aren't you doing the Stash and Treasure market next week to get rid of craft stuff?" I said, "Hush. That's not the point."