Monday, 8 June 2015

Supermarkets and superficiality

There has been a very half-hearted attempt in Australia, following a half-hearted attempt in the UK and slightly less half-hearted in Europe, to embrace fruit and veg that don’t fit some weird Photoshopped Platonic ideal. Woolworths, which is otherwise open to criticism for their unimpressive and extortionate offerings, is pretending to be responsible by selling slightly knobbly tomatoes etc in “The Odd Bunch” packaging (the packaging is a big fail: too much plastic) for only slightly-inflated prices. Other groups are apparently trying to educate the public that just because it looks weird doesn’t mean it tastes funny (or vice versa).

Anyone who eats a reasonable amount of fresh food and hates the duopoly has probably cottoned on to shopping at greengrocers and markets, where the apples are far from round, the cucumbers bendy, and the carrots range from friendly to obscene.

I particularly like selecting the most unusual looking carrots from my preferred organic greengrocers, and I know I am not the only one. Personally, I will take whatever laughs I can get.

I also have no qualms about a mango with a spot or two, an aubergine with bruises (since they get cooked into tenderness anyway), or a bunch of kale with the odd yellowed leaf. In many cases, these things are either removable or can be cooked into oblivion. In the case of ripe fruit, I chop it up and keep it in the freezer, as an alternative to Hepatitis A berries in my smoothies.

Be confident.

One of my local organic shops sells random selections of slightly tired fruit and veg, with the invocation to "Embrace the Ugly". I am more than happy to do so as this is virtually the only way organic food is affordable on a student budget. Less depressingly, it also forces me to try different things and cook different foods, though I was too intimidated by the basket that had a couple of artichokes in it.

I think that it’s a pity that the variety and spontaneity of organic* shapes are so derided, be it our food, our trees being lopped to accommodate man-made structures, our animals being selectively bred for peculiar and unhealthy novel characteristics, et cetera.

It doesn't take a great leap of imagination to draw parallels with the pursuit of perfection in humans (career, status, appearance). We live in a ridiculous, superficial, easily-manipulated era.

*this time, not in the sense of an agricultural practice.