Brisbane academy of gastronomic art

In the last week or so Charlotte has latched onto the dual ideas that (1) food can be something to play with, as well as to eat, and (2) this feeding malarkey doesn’t look too hard, and dammit if dad can feed me that I can sure as hell give it a try as well.

The result is that to varying degrees she is not letting us just feed her directly, but rather insisting on picking up the food with her finger, or (more messily, strangely) trying to use the spoon herself. Now given that she’s transitioning into chunky finger food type meals (perhaps unexpectedly she quite likes broccoli) away from “You’d better not ask what’s in that” mush, the potential for food spreadage is theoretically reduced, but not enough that the overall process isn’t creating a fair bit more work for me at the end of every dinner.

So for the next little while at least we get to roll up her sleeves and ours, and spend the evening making enquiries into the canvas properties of high chair trays, the aesthetic qualities of spaghetti and pre-chewed potato, and the role of passing cats as professional art critics (I don’t know art, says Jack, but I know what tastes good when it’s dropped).

Career change

Well today marked a change in both Simone and my careers.

I started my first day as an orthopaedic registrar (no more ward call – Yay!!!) and Simone began a career diversion as a one year lady of leisure (well perhaps not an entire year, but until the baby arrives at least).

I got to operate all day, and Simone got to sleep in until 10:30am.

Still I also arrived home to a cooked dinner and a martini (both of which had been part of a recent running joke between the two of us), so I can’t really complain about her getting to have a sleep in.

Living it up too-busy-to-cook style

Well it’s about time for my inconsistent weekly update from Dunedin.

Another week of heavy tutorial schedules, late nights in the libraries and computer labs, and only slowly improving test result scores.

The weather has remained largely gray, with a few days where you could get away with t-shirts, and then has descended into drizzling and raining for the last 3 days. Not that that really impacts all that much on study, except that occasionally it gives some pretty raindrops in puddles scenes to look out the window at.

With the low price of the (student oriented) restaurants here, Ellen and I have been eating out a lot. There are a lot of good places, and at $10-15 for a main it’s hardly worth going shopping, cooking, and then doing the dishes. We’ve already been to my favorite indian restaurant three times I think. Plus Cambodian, italian, and thai (and Japanese is on the cards). And the upside is that after dinner most of the places are just around the corner from the med school computer lab, so you can pop in a do a quick set of self test questions.

Depressing really when you look at it like that, and amusing when you find yourself in there at 8pm on a friday night, with the only other people there also being people doing the BSE course…

Violent green flashback

When I was summering in Canberra one of the refreshment options at the hall of residence we were in was this lurid green cordial. We referred to it as “violent green”, as in, “would you like a glass of green?”, or “violent green anyone?”.

Since starting my ED term I have discovered that the hospital also stocks violent green, and I have found that every time I have a glass of it I have the most vivid olfactorily mediated flashbacks to the fun and games that was my superb summers in Canberra.

Who would have thought something so simple (and bad for you) could have such powerful effects.

Wrap your laughing gear around this…

Today slashdot mentioned the ending of an internet show which I had never heard of, but which apparently included the handing out missions to it’s viewers, and one of these had been to make an earth sandwich.

Think of it. Placing one piece of bread in one spot on the ground, and then placing (or coordinating with other people to place) another piece of bread on the exact opposite side of the world, thus creating an earth sandwich. I just love the imagery..

Alchoholic tendencies

Since starting work I have developed some interesting (semi) alcoholic tendancies.

Simone has commented on them.

My Mother has counselled me on not letting them get out of hand.

It’s all rather interesting.

Now I should probably clarify at this point that my drinking is still disconcertingly mundane (largely becuase I only have time to have a drink 2 or 3 evenings a week) and definitely within the safe range as defined by the department of health guidelines, but I still can’t help notice that between Simone and myself (OK, so it’s largely me), we do seem to have been making a pretty concerted dent in our liquor cabinet.

As a kid I never understood the appeal of a small whiskey after a hard day at work, or a little something before bed (as was the semi-regular habit of the father and mother respectively), but now I find myself following in my father’s footsteps of walking in the door, kissing my wife, loosening my tie (I’m not quite prosaic enough to call out “Honey, I’m home”) and heading for the amber relaxant (although I also quite like my Brandy, which sets me apart from my father who was a solely Whiskey man (although whiskey is probably still my drug of choice).

Now IÂ appreciate how wonderful it is for taking the edge off the world, and providing a cognitive separation between the discipline of work and the independance of home life.

As an aside I read a really fascinating article in New Scientist the other week about the possibilities for removing the negative effects (memory loss, nausea, addiction in alcoholics, etc) from Alcohol, by specifically blocking certain receptors in the brain that ethanol appears to act unfaovably on, while leaving other with pleasant effects (eg euphoria, social disinhibition) alone. It’s quite an interesting read. Unfortunately they make one point that in my mind guarantees to stop these effort from ever becoming reality – alcohol is regulated as a foodstuff, while anything that limited or modulated it’s effects would be regulated as a pharmaceutical with all the restrictions that go with that.

Good food migration

It’s been quite funny around Logan for the last week and a bit, because a week and a bit ago a Subway opened within lunchtime walking distance from the hospital, and while the hospital canteen serves OK food, it has something of a leaning towards pies, battered fish, chips, and other grease heavy offerings, and the volunteer staff, while being well meaning, are not not necessarily the most efficient.

So having a healthy(-er) option with the variety you get in Subway opening up 5 minutes walk away has resulted in something of a daily lunchtime staff exodus across the road.

Pretty much the same thing happened when a stairbucks opened in the food court at the PA Hospital (say what you will about Starbucks’ coffee, it’s still better than hospital tuck shop coffee, which as often as not comes out of a large tin with the word “instant” somewhere on the label). While they didn’t sell meal food (rumor has it that this was because the hospital administration made it a condition of the lease, as they did not want Starbucks competing with (and presumably thrashing the pants off of) the hospital tuck shop) they must have been making a fortune off of all the coffee they were selling the staff.

It always makes me wondner whether the economics would be better from leasing an area out to something like starbucks or subway, rather than trying to make a profit out of a hospital run food shop (with all the spectacular ineffciencies that are inherent in any public sector organisation).

Good food guide

Simone and I have taken to frequenting a new restaurant (which is to say that we seem to be going almost once a week at the moment for various reasons).

It is called Azafran, and does modern australian cuisine.

Given that they manage to get me to try (and invariably enjoy) things that I generally don’t eat (Steak on two occasions and Mussels on another) they do do a really good job, and I felt they were worth a comment on the blog.
The restaurant itself is a converted house, with tables on the deck, and in the front and back rooms of the house, and with really friendly staff (several of whom we are already on a first name basis with), who make the small restaurant atmosphere really pleasant.

It’s BYO at this stage, so grab your favorite bottle and go try it out for yourself.

Runny Honey

I have noticed (much to my disappointment) that in australian supermarkets you can only get runny honey. Now you australians out there may be going “What on earth is he on about? All honey is liquid isn’t it?”, but growning up in New Zealand most of the honey in the shops (and indeed this is still true today) was varying degrees of semi firm, and you spread it with a knife (as opposed to pouring it). Simone seems to think that it is a function of the degree of purity of the honey, with liquid honey having been more highly processed to remove more of the wax from the honey comb (which seems a reasonably theory, but seems to imply that she thinks Australian honey is better because it is more “pure”…). Whether this is true or not I wonder why you can only get the one variety here, as opposed to NZ where you can purchse either, as you personal preference dictates.