Culinary taonga threatened species


Sandwich sliced bread  and therefore  the culinary taonga – cheese and asparagus rolls and club sandwiches made with it – are in peril:

Sandwich bread sales in Dunedin could soon be toast.

A spokeswoman for Foodstuffs, which controls New World, Pak’n Save and Four Square, said its shoppers preferred toast bread to sandwich bread.

Demand for sandwich bread had continued to fall in recent years.

People like a thicker, more generous slice, but we think that another factor is that there are so many other options for sandwiches available today. From ciabatta and seed-studded loaves to flavoured wraps, pita breads and crackers.” . .

Crumbs! Bread makers and retailers must be crackers if they think sandwich sliced bread is toast.

Some people might like a thicker more generous slice but I swapped from Vogel’s to Burgen bread when the former dropped sandwich slices which the latter still produces.

As for fancy breads, wraps and crackers, they have their place, but that is not encasing the cheese roll filling or asparagus, with or without the addition of Whitestone Windsor Blue cheese; or for making club sandwiches.

Cheese rolls are generally only found on the right side of the Waitaki River, asparagus rolls and club sandwiches feature at lunches and teas and suppers further afield.

Wherever they’re found, and feature, they will be lost if thin sliced sandwich bread can no longer be sourced and part of our culinary heritage will go too.

That would be really crumby


Not apple but kiwifruit


An apple a day is supposed to keep the doctor away.

While the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables is backed up by rigorous research, I don’t know if the apple prescription has any validity.

But University of Otago research supports the health giving properties of kiwfruit:

A daily vitamin C intake equivalent to eating two kiwifruit a day is required to ensure our muscles maintain optimal levels, researchers from the University of Otago, Christchurch have found.

Professor Margreet Vissers and her team from the Centre for Free Radical Research are involved in a large on-going study to better understand the critical role of vitamin C in the human body. They are also investigating the best way to obtain the vitamin from the diet.

Their paper on the uptake of vitamin C into muscle has just been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the most prestigious publication in the field of nutrition science.

The study has shown that skeletal muscle is very sensitive to changes in vitamin C intake and that the vitamin C content in muscle will fall if intake decreases below optimal levels. This is likely to affect muscle function. Muscle is the largest store of vitamin C in our bodies.

Professor Vissers and her team gave 54 males aged between 18 and 35 either half a kiwifruit or two kiwifruit a day over a six week period. They then measured the vitamin C content in muscle and elsewhere in the body.

The researchers found that general energy levels were increased with the ‘two per day’ kiwifruit dose, and this is likely to reflect the optimal muscle function under these conditions.

She says eating high-value vitamin C foods, like kiwifruit, is the ideal way to maintain healthy levels.

 “Many people think that all fruit and vegetables are equally able to supply vitamin C, but this is not the case. The levels in food vary hugely across the spectrum. We should eat a good range daily, but because many fruit contain only one tenth of a healthy daily vitamin C requirement, we would recommend at least one serve per day of a high-value food like kiwifruit. This will help you easily reach an optimal vitamin C intake, as well as delivering other vital nutrients.’’

The study was funded by Zespri International and the University of Otago.

When I was coping with a baby with a degenerative brain disorder a nurse recommended I take mega-does of vitamin C.

I tried it but remembering to take the supplement on top of the many essential medicines I had to give to my son caused more stress than it relieved.

Eating kiwifruit is however, not only easy, it’s enjoyable, and something I do most days in winter anyway.

My normal breakfast is grainy bread (Bürgen or Vogels) with cottage cheese and kiwifruit and at least once a day I have kiwifruit and yoghurt topped with sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Kiwifruit is only at its best in winter and spring, so where do we get our vitamin C in summer and autumn?

Bigger isn’t better


Dear Vogels

I first came across your bread in 1979. It was love at first bite and I can  still recall the thrill when I bit into the grainy texture and savoured the nutty taste.

That might seem a little over the top, but remember back then there was little variety in bread and any that was readily available was white and insubstantial.  

Now the supermarkets and bakeries offer a wide variety of breads and I will confess that I’ve come partial to Burgen as well. One of the reasons I’ve lost my loyalty to you is that you’ve stopped offering the choice of thin and thick slices.

We used to be able to get most varieties of your bread sandwich or toast sliced. I always bought the sandwich sliced loaves even though most of the time I’d be toasting it.

Now you’re offering us a special, soft sandwich bread which is better for sandwiches than the other varieties. But that’s come at a cost – the sunflower and barley, original recipe and all the other options are only available in toast sliced sizes.

I’m a creature of habit at breakfast time and that habit requires two slices of toast – with cottage cheese and kiwifruit in winter or vegemite, cottage cheese and tomato in summer.

It’s possible that one toast-sliced slices equals two sandwich sliced slices but it doesn’t give the same satisfaction. I’m used to having two slices and that’s what I want to continue having.

But I don’t want to have two toast-sliced slices because that’s eating more bread than I need or want.

Keep the soft sandwich bread by all means, but please bring back the sandwich-slices in other varieties because bigger isn’t better when it comes to bread.

Yours in hope,

A somewhat less loyal Vogels fan.

They’re not eating our bread here


If I had to eat the same thing for lunch and dinner every day I’d complain but I’m quite happy to stick with the same breakfast for months on end.

Toast with cottage cheese and kiwi fruit in winter and topped with vegemite, cottage cheese and tomato in summer.

My bread of choice for the toast is either Vogels’ sunflower and barley or Burgen soy & linseed.

There is a lot to like about much of the food we’re eating in Spain, but we haven’t been able to find any bread which comes near Vogels or Burgen.

Still, early morning temperatures in the 20s and breakfasting on a roof top terrace with almost 360 degree views is pretty good compensation for that.


bread 2

bread 3

The bright green paddocks are growing rice.

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