Jody dishes up culture through cuisine

Jody Orcher. Pic: Amanda Koh, ABC.

Cooking and bush foods guru Jody Orcher will be one of the star attractions at a new mini-festival at the Sydney Opera House.

The Ularai/Barkandji woman from Brewarrina in north-west New South Wales is renowned for her knowledge of cooking and bush foods.

She will join a panel of scientific, culinary and environmental experts to discuss a range of topics from ethical eating to genetically modified crops at the Fixing Food Festival on July 14.

The mini-festival of talks will see contemporary food fads and local and global food issues come under the microscope.

Other panellists will include New York Times-bestselling author Sarah Wilson and Professor Grant Brinkworth from the CSIRO.

The panel ticket includes a specially curated lunch box created from Indigenous and locally sourced ingredients.
Ms Orcher told NIT this week bush food had become “almost like the new gourmet super food”.

Foods such as finger limes had become a favourite with chefs.

“I did a talk with some chefs and they love finger limes,” she says.

“Finger limes are like one of those new things that have come out and people are using them and stuff but it’s about the intellectual property, about acknowledging and recognising where that food comes from and how it’s used and why it was used and how it was prepared traditionally as well.

“A lot of our foods have a lot of traditional plus medicinal value and (for) survival.

“A lot of our trees and plants, we used to make tools and weapons and things like that, so all these different types of things all around that people don’t know.

“I think it’s sort of like almost disrespectful if you don’t acknowledge the country and where it comes from.

“I always say, where you can, acknowledge the regions and that it is a traditional bush food and where we can support community.

“We might be able to provide that general information of what that food is, but if it went into culture and things we could provide the Aboriginal name for the food, what it was used for, if it was only with men or women or hunting, either for survival, medicinal or nutritional value and then how it was used.

“I think it would be really important for people to acknowledge when they are using food and bush food.”

Other speakers on the day will include Oxford-based Mark Lynas, who will talk on genetically modified food, and British food and environmental writer Louise Gray, who will discuss her book The Ethical Carnivore.

 

Wendy Caccetta

 

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