Elsie Hogfat

Lagom Food. Lagom Philosophy.

Archive for Luciolan language & culture




She’s still prattling.

@ Tony NZ

You sound very much like some local farmers I know in this beautiful region. It is a privilege to be able to support intelligent and caring farmers. I would like to see the homekill become commercially viable, and I think we might see more of that in the future if the success of free-range chicken and eggs is an indicator.

Real improvements to animal welfare and ecology (and also meat-handling workers working conditions!) can’t happen without the active participation of livestock farmers and animal product consumers. Vegetarian zealotry is at best, irrelevant and at worst, a major obstacle to positive changes.


Great niece has once again spoken.  Yes she is flippant and wemmly but she does fika.  Pleased I was to read her oyster confession earlier, that even in her worst semper she wasn’t afraid to take a knife to the rocks and eat an oyster.  And pleased I am to see her plondering over it some more.  I have saved this here in case it is helpful later when she starts shedding tears like a deggin-can for all the lost dogs and big-eyed calves of this world.

Kämsa!  Good luck  chewing through these logic eels;

@ Tony NZ

The reasoning was pretty complicated… I was a complicated girl, as you can see by my oyster exception clause… or maybe that was a flash of simplicity in an otherwise complicated scenario. Hmmmm. There were numerous permutations looking for a way to eat that i didn’t feel guilty about, over at least a decade, at least 8 or 9 different plans, and in the permutation of which we speak, in which I was avoiding dairy but still eating red meat (rabbit mostly), there were a few different factors involved. The ethical factors were as you suggest to do with factory farming, but even on pastured lands I felt the cows suffered so much in their transportation to the slaughterhouse (if they were male and when female and too old for milking) and then there are the conditions in the slaughterhouse as well. I believe in New Zealand there’s an option for on-site kill, which seems better to me. I’m not defending my reasoning by the way, and it changed, many times.

I still haven’t found a way of eating that I’m happy with but it is a lot easier now living as I do in the country (Southwest WA, Australia) with access to free range eggs from farmers I know and pastured meat from farmers I know. I’m eating dairy (and beef) anyway now despite my sadness about the transport conditions for the cows and the conditions in general at slaughterhouses.

So many years of my life spent thinking about this stuff! And in the end, my response basically is “Oh, well.”

Gimme Mootley! Some spirit, at last!

Lovely Lentilla has commented on a post at Tom Naughton‘s blog, Fathead.  I am pleased to see some spirit at last.  Admittedly still flaff-flaff and apologetic but it is a big improvement.

I notice she doesn’t thank me unless I am “& others“… but I don’t need thanks, some signs of forthrightness are all the thanks I need.  Gimme Mootley!!!

Here’s her comment:

You can probably guess by my nomenclature that I’ve been vegetarian (and vegan) in the past, and at different times in my life I’ve been surrounded by beautiful, intelligent, idealistic vegans and vegetarian friends. People I loved and admired, many of whom remain dear friends, but some of whom can’t deal with friendship with someone who eats meat* …

I was vegan or vegetarian for ethical rather than health reasons. Health reasons didn’t really occur to me. Like many of my generation, I was quite sure the cold war would heat up and kill me long before any disease might.

I tried so very hard to be vegan and/or vegetarian, many attempts, over many years, but I couldn’t deal with it physically and the evidence over time was persuasive that at least in my case I would get very sick, very quickly on a vegan diet and very sick, less quickly but still quite quickly, on a vegetarian diet.

It irritates me that even now I am tempted to counter all the rude and disrespectful questions that the above deeply personal testimony tend to generate from zealots… such as the idea that I must have been ‘doing it wrong’ or that I didn’t give it long enough or that it was the detox from my former evil ways or something… Irritation with behaviour like that did help me develop the resolve I needed to be true to my own lived experience and to listen to my body.

I managed to find a kind of balance where I ate mostly vegan and/or vegetarian but ate exactly the bare minimum of animal I needed to avoid getting sick. This worked out to be red meat once a month (I think some ladies might know what I’m talking about!) and regular fish and/or free range chicken. I still abstained from dairy because of ethical considerations, though I never did, even in my most convinced moments, care much for the rights of oysters versus my pleasure in eating them! So I think all those oysters (gathered wild… just me, my knife and a lemon… ah, happy days!) really did help lessen the physical damage I did to myself during those years, as did all those times I weakened in my willpower and just… now what was that phrase? … oh yes, unnecessarily shoveled the flesh of animals in my yapper. Indeed, I did even fill my gut with the flesh of a pig on occasion during those years… never mind that it was wild and trapped for ecological reasons and killed humanely by a gentle and skilled permaculture farmer… Such nuances are wasted on zealots.

Now I just do the best I can with regard to the welfare of the animals I eat but if I am traveling or visiting friends I am happy to set aside my ideals and enjoy a meal that doesn’t meet my ideals. That’s life, flawed and human.

My perfection is not actually that relevant to the planet, and I am doing what I can do with love for myself and my own body as well as for others.

Khrystyna, I think there may be some similarities between us – good luck with the uneasiness – I know what you are talking about! Corny I know but the Desiderata (on the back of many a toilet door) says it well;

…be gentle with yourself,
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

* And grows less easy to shame about that! (Thank you, Tom & others)

Lovely Lentilla: Flickan som blödde näsblod..

“It’s always something… ” said the girl with the nosebleed.

So, Lentilla has had cravings today.  She was anxious and worried and pleased all at once because  Jimmy mentioned her at his blog, and she’s met up with some very special old friends, and she’s worried about what people will think of her, and she’s been working too hard and nobody understands her, and nobody really GETS her, and she’s met some new friends she really likes and what if they don’t like her etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc…

At least she didn’t try to argue the merits of anything she wanted to eat.

I gave her some vemodsbroed with lots of butter and cheese, and that kept her pretty quiet until dinner.

Elsie’s Food Log: D’entrecasteaux Fish

D’entrecasteaux Fish*  Arripis truttaceus is a local fish that is very common, but most people dislike it, for various reasons.  There is a bit of dark flesh that people distrust, and even the white flesh is shot through with a little silver and is strong and hearty.

So, it is a challenging fish in those ways, and working with a fish like this is a quick and simple demonstration of how commodified and remote from the earth and sea that this culture has become.  Even here, in this remote village that Lentilla has chosen for the very reason that it is not totally alienated from the natural world, and the people here are not completely incapable of meaningful interaction with the natural world.

To use a fish like this easily, it’s best to have a workspace outside, where the filleting and scaling can take place.  It’s easier to cook a fish like this outside too, in coals like we would use on the beaches of Luciola.  We would make a Cay Marie;  that is a hole in the sand filled with coals, and we would bake wild sweet potato and fish in there, wrapped in the fresh new green leaves of  the yellow-flowering hibiscus that grew just above high tide line.

In a kitchen like Lentilla’s the sink is too small for such a beautiful big fish.  Her knives aren’t up to the job.  They are very good at opening plastic wrapped fillets… yes, but when it comes to dealing with a freshly caught fish of decent size like this one…  well, we managed.

Now she is complaining about the fishy smell, and fusspotting about with some kind of orange scented room freshener.   At least I can agree that room freshener is a sensible use for oranges

But of course it smells of fish!  What else should fish smell like?

* I refuse to call this fish “Salmon”.  What an absurd name for it.  It is nothing like lax.

Oats (III)

I should not have begun with oats!  And once having made the mistake, why did I then repeat it?

Oats is where it all ends, really… and in the meantime, I feel like a blaffer, telling tales on my lovely Lentilla.

I met an old friend the other day, and he asked about her.  He said;

“So how is Lovely Lentilla?  Wonderful girl.  It’s a pity she always looks as if she’s on the brink of tears.”

And I said, as is it the Luciolan customary response;

“Better to dam the brook than the fjord.”

She’s always struggled with sorrow.  When she was born to her wonderful mother, she rejected even her mother’s milk.  It took weeks before some suitable food was found for her.  They tried cow’s milk and goat.   The soya bean was the only food she could take.  That powdered “milk” is what she lived on.  I don’t know why she couldn’t drink milk from her mother like a natural child.  I was very glad that as soon as possible her mother fed her freshly minced meat, and I’m told she loved it, so perhaps that ameliorated the damage somewhat.   You can be sure that whatever strength she does have in her constitution it is a result of the devotion and intelligence of her mother and father.  They lived on a farm.  Once she was able to eat solid food, her early childhood diet was wonderful.  There was no access to supermarkets so many evils were avoided.  No orange juice.  No bakery.  They ate  meat from the farm; and they cooked with animal fats.  There was an abundant ocean nearby and her father understood it.   They kept hens.  Goats.  Perhaps they had a milker cow, or there was one down the road.  This is just how they lived.  They ate fruit that was in season, and they bottled fruit and made jam.  It’s true they ate too many sweets of the flour-based English kind that are terrible for the teeth and health in general, but at least they ate them with great helpings of fresh cream.  That would have reduced the damage.

They ate oats.  Of course they ate oats!  A bag of oats would feed a family breakfast all winter but they ate bacon and eggs as well.  It was a pretty good diet.