Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Down Under Autumn Comfort Foods

Food lore identifies which foods to eat when and why. It is an important element of folklore. Agreed upon food traditions and customs, including preparation, serving and storing, have historically designed to help a community prepare for and survive significant life cycle changes. 

They have also become opportunities for celebration and identification around beliefs and values. The Thanksgiving Turkey, for example, represents a Fall coming together of cultures; a collaboration, if you will, of resources gleaned from the harvest.  The turkey was a native bird and the customary pumpkin pie (made with fresh pumpkin) that completes today’s Thanksgiving meal is a seasonal vegetable.

Everywhere around the world, people have found creative ways to incorporate seasonal foods into their seasonal meals which are often referred to as comfort foods.  Autumn, in particular, is traditionally harvest season no matter where you live. The Northern Hemisphere harvest season includes cold and cooler weather foods, whereas the harvest season of the Southern Hemisphere (New Zealand) which is more moderate in temperature has its own offerings. 

Here are some examples of Down Under comfort foods: 

Herbs: They grow year round. The more common are mint, lemon balm, sage, parsley and rosemary. Mint can be found next to every stream or grassy area. Lemon balm grows wild and is known for its calming nature. Sage, parsley and rosemary, they are often used as decorative objects for homes. 

Kiwifruit: These egg-shaped fruits are delicious, full of fibre and vitamin C.

Kumara: Brought over to New Zealand over thousands of years ago by Maori settlers, this root vegetable has been growing there ever since. Its color ranges from dark orange to a yellow color and sometimes to white with purple marks. It is related to the sweet potato of South America.

Oysters: Bluff oysters are a prized seasonal delicacy and world-renowned for their taste and size. The oysters are harvested from the rich fishing grounds of the Foveaux Strait, and are in great demand from restaurants and markets throughout the country.

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