After work family eating

Chicken home grown

I was talking with a couple of my work colleagues this week about family eating. Putting aside that a number of us do research on food related topics, even those who do not do this kind of work are pretty food aware. There is a member of staff who works on ice fields, but also raises sheep for wool and food (see the post about his lamb here), another member of staff is involved in bee keeping with his local church (he also sells the honey in the department), many of us have small vegetable plots.  I have raised chickens.  An even larger number cook. This provides great opportunities for recipe sharing. Continue reading

Holiday feastings and meanings of fresh

Chatsworth EstateChristmas dinner is always a bit of a challenge in our house.  In the period before we moved to Hong Kong I would always cook a whole salmon.  The first year we lived in Hong Kong, I ventured to the wet market to purchase a fish.  Salmon are not widely available in Hong Kong, certainly not in the markets, so I got some other fish.  I’ve still no idea what it was, but I do know we all got really ill.  For the next two years I ordered the whole meal from a restaurant in Sai Kung, which arrived hot and tasted lovely, but was mostly turkey imported from the US.  This year I am cooking venison purchased locally.  What strikes me about this tale of food feasts is what we understand about what comprises fresh food and how that is so linked up with cultural differences.

Continue reading

Driers of fish and hewers of place


Hewers of fish

While the word hue refers to colour, to be a hewer is to be someone who carves out. When I was in graduate school, one of the more influential papers I read was written by geographer Kathy Gibson. The paper, titled “Hewers of cake and drawers of tea”, was an analysis of class struggle and gender in the face of miners strikes in Queensland, Australia. The point of the paper was to illustrate the importance of domestic activity and women’s work in the reproduction of conditions under which strike action is made possible.  Indeed, strike times, as well as times of employment and plenty, are sustained by the graft of women and the community in which and through which they forge their domestic craft. It is often through ordinary activities, such as cooking, from which social life is hewn. Continue reading

Morning Reflection

Morning reflection

One of my favorite things to do in Hong Kong is have a coffee, or in this case a green tea latte, at the Starbucks located on the Avenue of the Stars (Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood’s Avenue of Stars). This is one of the few Starbucks in Hong Kong with a view and it is a stunningly unobstructed panorama of the famous skyline.  The skyscrapers on the island side now have to compete with an almost equally magnificent skyline on the Kowloon side, dominated by the ICC tower, which you can just see in the reflection on the cup. Sandwiched between these two competing, and sometimes overwhelming views, is Victoria Harbour. Behind this landscape, lost in the background, is a story of fishing boats, food safety, and the decline of an industry.  Continue reading