Whatever Wednesday

At a loss as to what to write here today, I had a look at other ‘post themes’ around and found ‘Whatever Wednesday’ where you talk about what is on your mind. So I asked myself what was on my mind, and uppermost came something that is happening to vocational education in New Zealand. As this is not a political blog, or a sounding board for my thoughts on this process, I am not going to talk about it here. This blog is about, as my husband would say, flowers, cats and ‘cuddly things’.

So moving swiftly on, another thing on my mind is food. Now, not what are we going to eat tonight, nor fancy diets, nor cake or chocolate. I am talking about food issues. As you may have gathered from previous posts, I don’t just like to eat and cook, I like to read about food. I recently picked up Bee Wilson’s latest book The Way We Eat Now, a slightly depressing book about a world where there is an abundance (for some of us) of food choices, people are eating more processed, more additive filled foods instead of the simple, natural goodness of fresh greens.

She talks about the fact that in the new global diet, there are 7000 edible crops and yet 95% of what is eaten comes from just 30. Nearly all bananas that are eaten come from one strain that was developed because it transports well and is disease resistant. She also bemoans the fact that apparently people spend less time eating together, preparing meals, enjoying food in company. Putting aside that apparently more people are living on their own, I wonder how true this is? My husband and I always eat together, make time to cook (even if it is a very simple dish of pasta with mushrooms, parmesan and basil) and enjoy our mealtimes. When my step-son lived with us, mealtimes were always a part of the daily routine. Of course, in this house we firmly believe in a Nordic work-life balance, moving on from the workplace to home, rest, family and relaxation. This naturally encourages sitting down to eat together as a family.

I don’t believe that people have ‘stopped cooking’ as Wilson claims. For example, I stood behind two students in the queue at the vegetable market last week who were discussing what they were going to cook with the baskets of vegetables they were holding. Of course, we are lucky to live where we do, with access to wonderful fresh and seasonal produce. Other people live in a food desserts and have no access fresh food or may not have a kitchen to cook in. Even those with access to choice may be fed misleading marketing information… 95% less fat! (still 5% fat). Low fat! (but we have had to add sugar because the taste has to come from somewhere so it won’t help you to lose weight). Or my pet peeve, gluten free labels on things that have never, ever contained gluten (in any case, only a tiny percentage of the population is actually coeliac anyway).

And the third thing on my mind? Will the weather improve tomorrow….what’s on your mind?

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


  1. What’s on my mind? Alas, politics and the impeachment process that has begun here in the United States. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it has been a miserable few years, and what’s happening now seems, well, inevitable. On a happier note…really enjoyed this post and will add Bee Wilson’s book to my tottering TBR pile. I would love to hear more about the Nordic work-life balance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am also following the whole Brexit fiasco…but trying not to think about it too much. The Bee Wilson book was quite interesting – not sure the target audience of the book is, but well worth the read. In the Nordic countries, there is an expectation that time will be spent with family, with friends, not at work. There is proper paternal leave. I worked 32.5 hours per week, full time, as opposed to 40 hours here. I am always astonished at how little holiday people get in the US.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sigh. So true about overworked Americans. No wonder we are so stressed. To work hard is good, but it’s also important to have down time to spend with family and friends. Yay to the Nordic companies for realizing this! As for Brexit…holy cats!


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