Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

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Alcohol and Drinking Culture

August 18, 2010

The DrugInfo Clearinghouse states there are “social and cultural pressures” to drink alcoholic beverages as part of meals, celebrations, relaxation “and to have fun“. It also found there is a societal acceptance “that using alcohol at harmful levels or binge drinking is acceptable“. Binge drinking is the consumption of alcohol to become intoxicated. This is a negative aspect of the drinking culture which can cause serious health issue and other social issues (e.g. violence). A ninemsn reports “hangovers, headaches, nausea, shakiness” as well as “liver or brain damage“.

Drinking can be a social event, reducing inhibitions or enjoyment during a get together. The key to everything is moderation and control. NSW Drinking Campaign 1998 had a tagline which stated “Drink. Drunk. The difference is U“. It is fine to have enjoy a drink once in a while but getting drunk on a continual basis has health ramifications and like other drugs, can lead to other issues such as dependency. Alcoholism is the “dark side” of this culture and its effects can be devastating.

Prohibition (or the banning of alcohol) has proven historically to not be effective and drives the problem underground. Alcohol can be consumed responsibly, the key is understanding and hopefully society can define itself well enough to ensure that people know their limits and can drink without the need to get drunk.

References :

Wikipedia – Prohibition
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition

Drink Drunk Campaign
October 21, 1998
http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/PARLMENT/hansArt.nsf/V3Key/LC19981021035

The effects of binge drinking
May 11, 2010
http://health.ninemsn.com.au/azindex/689748/binge-drinking

Alcohol and Society
by Staton Peele and Archie Brodsky – July, 1996
http://peele.net/lib/sociocul.html

Who drinks alcohol in Australia?
DrugInfo Clearinghouse
http://www.alcoholandwork.adf.org.au/browse.asp?ContainerID=who_drinks_alcohol

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Cooking Culture

August 7, 2010

Australia’s cooking culture (as described in culture.gov.au from the early European settlers of damper and rabbit with predominately English and Irish influences to a multicultural smorgasbord with influences from all over the world. The introduction of celebrity chefs (e.g. Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay) into our culture have influenced society to empowered society to experiment with cooking.

This is further reinforced with the popularity of MasterChef (Season 1 – Finale drew over 3.3 million viewers), the cooking culture phenomenon has taken hold in Australia. Its success with even a higher viewership in Season 2 has opened the idea that cooking is no longer a chore but an exciting way to exhibit culinary skill. A glance into almost every bookshop will yield a plethora of cooking books showing society’s interest in developing its cooking culture.

What is the current attraction to cooking?
Food is a universal link between people and cooking allows the chef to present a dish that represents the individual’s culture and ideals. Cooking in this respect does not represent putting a frozen pie in the oven but experimenting with various pie fillings from recipe books and putting forward an original creation.

Cooking can be an effectively way to impress or create a bond between family and friends. The cooking culture is an important way for one generation to pass down recipes to the next generation as well as (or importantly) having fun while creating something that can be savoured as the end result.

References :

MasterChef finale on track for record ratings
by KARL QUINN – July 23, 2010
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/masterchef-finale-on-track-for-record-ratings-20100723-10o1r.html

Australian food and drink
culture.gov.au – Accessed 07-Aug-10
http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/foodanddrink/

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Fast Food Culture

August 3, 2010

The Fast Food Culture reflects the attitude to grab “food on the go” without much thought to its nutritional value. Convenience and cheap pricing are the most important criteria. The effects of the fast food culture is explored in the movie Super Size Me where the protagonist consumes McDonalds 3 times a day for 30 days and records the effects.

Bridget Murray from Monitor on Psychology states “Stop blaming people or their genes–it’s an abundance of unhealthy, heavily advertised, low-cost food that underlies the nation’s obesity crisis.” The most frightening aspect of the fast food culture is the “passive acceptance” of the multitude of burger franchises and sweets readily available at almost every petrol service station.

Even with a move to more a healthier society, the Daily Telegraph reports over 1.7 million visitors to McDonalds daily up almost half a million from 2007. McDonalds has been pushing Healthy Choice menus, however the article states that is the usual burgers and fries that still are the predominant sellers. This is a large representation of the growth of the fast food culture.

I understand the ease of simply dropping by a McDonalds rather than cooking a healthy meal and hence the populairty of fast food. However, knowing that the food is unhealthy it is the individual’s responsibility to be able balance a quick meal once in a while with regular “good” meals and regular exercise.

References :

Fast-food culture serves up super-size Americans
By BRIDGET MURRAY – Monitor Staff
December 2001, Vol 32, No. 11
Print version: page 33

Top 10 Facts about Fast Food and Culture
By MATT SHERMAN – October 23, 2008
http://www.catalogs.com/info/bestof/top-10-facts-about-fast-food-and-culture

Super Size Me :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_size_me

McDonald’s opens extra restaurants as business soars
by Brittany Stack – August 22, 2010
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/mcdonalds-opens-extra-restaurants-as-business-soars/story-e6frez7r-1225908322593