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Awaiting sightings: microwaveable indigenous Australasian cuisine
Posted: 00:05 Tue 01-04-2003.
Snackspot reports: quite an interesting mail here from a (usually reliable) source in the pre-prepared "ready meal" industry, which begins "The food company I work for has just broken an eighteen month industry-wide NPD [new product development] writers' block by discovering indigenous Australasian food, a whole continent's worth of nibbles as-yet virgin of sad Foodservice exploitation." As before, you can read the whole thing by clicking on the "View/add comments" link below (unless of course you're already reading this on the comments page, in which case, there it is). Caution, text may contain strong language, descriptions of Wichetty grubs being toasted on sticks.


Posted: 00:06 Tue 01-04-2003 by Snackspot
Comment: It's the first true frozen delivered breakthrough since South American last year. Now don't get me wrong, SouthAm was a fantastic time to be, well, even on the fringes of product development like I was; it was like the early Blackburn rave scene, or Northern Soul in the 70s, neck em and go for it, the whole business support centre felt like an orgone box, it was rocking its tits off.

But within 6 months it'd all been covered off... we did the obvious... chilli, veg. chilli, enchilladas, veg. enchilladas, chilli enchilladas, tortillas, tortilla pie, veg. tortilla quiche, chilli samosa pie dips, folded salmon tortilasagne... and we were fucked. Weeks went by... nothing. Crunchiminichilli pizza-style tortilla flanges were about all we managed last Autumn. The British Frozen Food Federation awards were *shit* this year! Coated broccoli won it. Gold, to [company name deleted]'s Coated Fucking Broccoli. Sold what, 18 cases in the first QUARTER, for fucksake. Delisted after two price lists. [name deleted] at the [company name deleted] table was acually *crying*.

So the frozen brand manager Loretta's off sick, she's telling us it's glandular fever but everyone knows her head's just gone west. She's at home, daytiming her telly to pieces. And one day she happens across some Discovery re-run of Bush Tucker Man. I remember the exact time the call came through at work. The answering machine was on, she was screaming at us for someone to pick up.

Now imagine what this means.Ten or a dozen new frozen individual portion entrees, right? Maybe get a theme night screwed out of it, good for a business period's promotional activity? Well kiss my arse, because what it actually means is a whole new dimension to the market Literally a new dimension. Mathematically so.

Example? Wichetty grubs. The Black Ant clan toast wichetty grubs on sticks, like marshmallows. These are maggots, but about two inches long each. They taste... weird, sweet, like sweet blue cheese. But okay. Now you've got three *whole new concepts*: eating two-inch-long insect larvae, toasting stuff like marshmallows, and sweet blue cheese. Three whole new concepts. So what? So WHAT? Can you imagine what three new ideas feels like to a food marketing department? It's like ripping the speaker wires out of L T J Bukem's subwoofers and soldering them to your prostate.

D'you remember "Kiev September" in 92? Chicken kiev, veg. kiev, veg. mini kiev, spicy lamb Kiev, that bizarre promo Alveston Kitchens did where in a couple of their cases one of the Shires turkey kievs was topologically equivalent to a Klein bottle, and hence had mathematically only one surface? Well now you can have not only two inch long insect larva kievs, but breaded two inch long insect larvae with a cheese herb and garlic centre, and any number of kievs which are expressly designed for toasting on sticks over a fire. There's even a range of multi-meat maxikievs with sweet bluecheese filling. And that's just the Kiev range. Now imagine doing that again... only Tikka? Only cheesecake? Only ciabatta? What I'm saying is that by the chance discovery of these three fresh ideas we've effectively cubed the theoretical number of products in our ethnic range in one fell swoop, and revolutionised the frozen delivered sector as we've gone. And it's not over yet.

Down the leisure park? Back of MGM? between KFC and Sloppy Joe's? The new unit with very, very little material decoration at all, where you don't have a table as such, but wander from area to area according to the geographical guidance of songs handed down to you by the people that just finished and walked out? That's Johnny Dingo's, that's the aboriginal diner that wouldn't have been there if it hadn't been for me and my mates at work. So enjoy your seafood mallows and your vege tikka toast sticks, and you just give us a little respect.

Posted: 10:35 Tue 01-04-2003 by "Daveybaby"
Comment: I am so very, very scared right now.
Posted: 00:30 Wed 02-04-2003 by "awful"
Comment: It's been a while since I read 8 consecutive paragraphs of text and not really understood a single thing. Baffling.
Posted: 02:10 Wed 02-04-2003 by "eli"
Comment: Wow, I'm married to an australian and that is still the most far-out shit I've ever read. I thought it was funny though. I've been looking for April Fool's all day.
Posted: 14:55 Thu 03-04-2003 by Snackspot
Comment: Credit for the original "Wichetty grub" piece goes to former foodservice firebrand, Dave Pape - also the discoverer of this remarkable piece of "found poetry" from the description of a chicken-processing assembly line:

Mechanical removal of feet;
birds rehung;
singeing - to remove all remaining hair;
1st vent cutter - to remove anus of the bird;
head/trachea puller - minimum of 80% must be removed;
2nd vent borer - to cut intestual cavity;
birds eviscerated - viscera removed;
PMI inspection - hens rejected/passed;
gutting line - back-up gutters;
cropper - machine to remove crops;
lung sucker.

Posted: 11:30 Mon 07-04-2003 by "Ted Maul"
Comment: Kiev September? Who could forget it, reminds me of working for Birds Eye Walls in their skunkworks in rural Bedfordshire. We had 2 months to halve the 'already low' 'meat' content of Peperami's without anyone noticing. Did we do it? Hell yes, the all-nighter's are still the stuff of legend in the annals of the pre-packed ready to eat value-added meat goods industry.
Posted: 12:20 Tue 08-04-2003 by "Kiwi Keith"
Comment: this story is hilarious - just wants to make me partero!
Posted: 17:38 Tue 08-04-2003 by "Mr.Vegemite,Gold Coast,Australia"
Comment: yeh mate, if I ate this, I would partero up a storm,too. Sounds wicked
Posted: 10:43 Thu 10-04-2003 by "KFC,Kentucky,US"
Comment: Is this food for real? sounds kinda like shit to me!
Posted: 10:45 Fri 11-04-2003 by "Heinz"

Thanks,but I think I'll stay with the baked beans

Posted: 12:39 Fri 11-04-2003 by "Hot Dog"


Posted: 15:49 Sat 12-04-2003 by "Ben&Jerry"
Comment: this is bizzare - get outta here !
Posted: 16:01 Sat 12-04-2003 by "Yves S.Laurent,Paris"
Comment: Since we already eat lot of frogs and,lovely,delicious and juicy raw snails, this will go down like a treat ! - send some plus vitement!
Posted: 18:48 Mon 14-04-2003 by "Ella from New Orleans"
Comment: Now,listen up, this food is silly - who is gonna eat this shit ! Try Jambalaya Gumbo - some real food from New Orleans
Posted: 18:54 Mon 14-04-2003 by "Zsa Zsa"
Comment: Yuck ! sounds awful!
Posted: 18:35 Tue 15-04-2003 by "Michael Caine,Chelsea"
Comment: Disgusting! - this is just NOT my cup of tea.
Posted: 19:32 Thu 17-04-2003 by "Eddie"
Comment: Dosen't sound appetising at all - still, a nice story. 74458 4 75
(Please scroll up to view earlier comments or click here for top)
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