Things have been a little quiet on this blog, for which I apologize. Hopefully in the new year I’ll get to writing up a few posts that I’ve been thinking about.
In the meantime, a quick thought about Orgran Outback Animals Cookies. I picked these up at the local health food store. I noticed they were vegan, & also catered to folks trying to avoid common allergens (like gluten). They’re pretty yummy, I have to say.
My partner took a look at the box, which is emblazoned with various Australian animals given names (Kim Koala, etc. — not quite Suicide Food, I guess, given that these are vegan representations of animals…). Then he snorted & pointed out the big rock looming in the background:
Turns out this rock is called Uluru, & is Aboriginal sacred ground. Despite an expressed wish to the contrary by the Aboriginals living nearby, tourists continue to climb Uluru, & the rock remains, according to Wikipedia, a famous icon of Australia (I would probably think of koalas or the Sydney Opera House instead, but that’s just me).
So what does this have to do with vegan, gluten-free cookies? You got me. I find it disturbing that a spiritually important Aboriginal area would be used so casually to market something completely unrelated. It reminds me in a way of how bindis turned into mere fashion accessories for a certain group of people.
I want to take a more systematic look someday at how ethnicity is represented in food products, particularly ones marketed to a more mainstream/whiter audience: for example, not miso that you buy in Asian markets in Asian neighborhoods, but, say, Eden health food store miso. Trader Joe’s alone would provide fodder for a whole series of blog posts (I love TJ’s food, & that they have so many vegan-friendly products, but sometimes they make me shudder).
Anyway — happy holidays to anyone celebrating. May the usual vegan pitfalls be avoided. See you in 2008.