Glancing through the list of television programmes one would think that food is important. Yes, I know, I eat too, sometimes. (see F/Chaos – Fraudulent Food and Victuals Warfare) But watching some ‘expert’ cooking? Perhaps the TV moguls aim at the Eritrea market. Or at Western women unable to boil an egg. Be that as it may, there has to be at least some demand for such shows; it is unlikely that the overpaid marketing ‘experts’ would get it so wrong for so long. Then again – many people still believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming and so the AGW marketing goes on. Purveyors of highly specialised cooking utensils, “smart” kitchen appliances, exotic spices and obscure vegetables must be laughing all the way to the bank.
Recently, abandoned at a friend’s place for a while I inspected the fridge and the pantry for anything I could drink and eat, and also for something I normally would not buy, but possibly could try, just in case, I did not find anything too exotic beside the Asian necessities like Shinshu Shiromiso, Hikari Miso Wakame, Kim Nori, cannabis sativa (only joking), Enoki Mushroom and Hiashi Wakame, neither of which appealed to me at the time. However, a mundane bunch of fresh asparagus did and I cooked and ate same. The end of story?
Disposing of the tag attached to the bundle I noticed that it came straight to the Aussie supermarket shelves from Mexico. I recalled that some time ago, somewhere on my travels in Australia I happened to see commercial, well, semi-commercial, ‘organic’ growing of asparagus. Puzzled, I checked the internet. It seems that the Aussies are no longer able to grow the stuff economically, because, guess, some manual work is needed. Thus now Mexico and Peru are the largest producers and exporters.
It seems that asparagus grows even in England and enjoys waxing and waning popularity, possibly influenced by the ‘food personalities’ and mindless media. At some stage the EU open borders allowed influx of Polish workers, willing to work, as opposed to the natives, and the humble asparagus, amongst other labour intensive produce, boomed. The Economist of 5th May, 2005 (Asparagus angst) wrote about “the annual asparagus frenzy” in Germany, 5 million on German unemployed unable but mostly unwilling to work, avoidance of taxes, trade unions…you can imagine the rest. The Economist‘s solution was to bring people from Romania or Ukraine!
How it is now you can read, and weep, here – economist.com/news/britain/21699973-british-vegetable-enjoys-boom-casting-asparagus and enjoy your Mexican (or Peruvian) asparagus while you can. Somehow I doubt that the Somali grown asparagus would be coming to the supermarket near you any time soon.