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Odds & Sods
Woolworths Cooks up a Treat
Monday, 21st August, 2006  - David Farmer

As a writer of wine catalogues I examine all catalogues that are popped in my letter box. I like the Woolworths catalogues as they tell simply and clearly what the customer needs to know. The liquor offers are on the back page so I generally start at the back and flick forward for a few pages.

On the back inside page of the catalogue dated 14th August I found a recipe for a beef casserole which was plausible, made sense and to be honest more imaginative than I would have expected.

The fruit and veggie pages were interesting. I found Flame Seedless grapes from the U.S.A, Pink Lady apples from S.A, Gold Kiwi fruit from New Zealand, Mexican Mangoes, Truss tomatoes, Coliban Washed Potatoes, Broccolini, Red D’Anjou Pears from S.A. and little bags of Baby Spinach. This is exciting as most of these products did not exist ten years ago. And when did we start to label the district of origin of our fruit and vegetables?

Interestingly this branding comes at a time when the wine industry is deciding to simplify its products and remove what some see as confusing detail on the labels. Many marketing people want to get rid of ideas like a district of origin and make wine fun. Forget the pink and just sell the apples.

I continued to read this interesting brochure. Globe artichokes were on special and with a great price I was given a brief description about them. Now an artichoke is one of the most courageous of all vegetables to prepare, cook and serve and I can say this special has changed my views of the average Woolies buyer.

It made me recall a story a friend told me about wooing his future wife. On an early date he took her to a French style restaurant and ordered artichokes. Not knowing what to do with them, and wanting to appear sophisticated he ate them whole, woody leaves and all.

Below the artichokes was a great buy on celeriac. For a moment I thought I was at some overpriced North Sydney, green grocer.

Then on the fruit and veggies page was the following recipe for a Warm Vegetable Salad. The ingredients listed were: Pine nuts, olive oil, baby capsicums halved lengthways, Jerusalem artichokes, a special multi coloured green, white and gold zucchini, witlof, baby spinach, semi sun-dried tomatoes and Italian salad dressing.

Until I came to the Barossa I seldom if ever ate Jerusalem artichokes, here they are common and much loved, witlof is a specialty that is fabulous which I would put in the advanced category use, and where do you get multi coloured zucchinis. Normally to gather this lot you would have to be shopping at Fauchon in Paris.

Gee, the Woolies C.E.O. Roger Corbett has done a great job with his supply chain management.

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