With the advent of takeaway services such as Uber and the like, I am told that chains such as McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut have seen their sales drop. Even more so – the good old Aussie ‘greasy spoons’, which have neither the marketing budget or high profile of the ‘Big Boys’. (Although, I do think quality wins out, particularly if the offer is exceptional.)
Will the novelty of these takeaway services wear off? They are certainly not cheap and, by the time the food has been delivered, they are rarely still hot or of restaurant quality. As Matt Preston recently wrote in The Herald Sun’s Delicious magazine, few (if any) takeaway offerings actually benefit from being ‘taken away’ and, in almost every case, are far better eaten in-house or at the very least picked up by yourself from a nearby premises – when they are invariably a lot fresher and hotter.
Are you a junk food man? Do you finish your shift and grab a Big Mac or a Souva on the way home (or are they Shawarmas or Doner Kebabs up your way?)? Actually, talking of Souvas, which in Melbourne are certainly the province of the rather inebriated fella after a visit to the pub (and I’m not being sexist when I say ‘fella’, because when you visit a Souvlaki shop, the majority of the customers are invariably men – the women have more sense). I once made the mistake of visiting my favourite Souva bar during the day – stone cold sober. Well, to coin a phrase – that was a sobering experience and certainly cured me of the desire to partake of such late night feasts. I suppose I had known that the quality of the so-called meat was crap, was cooked within an inch of its life in an attempt to tenderise it and was happily left on the spit day in day out until it was used up or worse still bunged in the fridge still hot and returned to the spit the next day. The tomatoes and lettuce were fine, but that awful garlic sauce made from bad yoghurt and fake garlic was disgusting. And don’t start me on the fairly new habit of adding chips to bulk them up. (I think wee Georgie started this). But, at least I can say that obviously when you have had a skinful, it makes you immune to any nasty reactions to unhygienic practices.
As far as burgers go, there are some pretty terrific designer numbers out there these days, but they are pretty bloody expensive, but the chains (if it’s possible) seem to have gone backwards – I think it’s because they have expanded their offer and are just trying to do too much. Even the chips are no longer hot and crisp. And, talking of the chains, I am considering sueing them for misleading advertising – in the TV ads, the burgers are always about 10 cm tall. Yet, when you buy one, you’d be lucky if they’re half that size. Actually, I remember when I was a kid, England brought in laws concerning misleading advertising. For example, if a hotel advertised itself as being a ‘stone’s throw from the sea’, it had to be stone’s throw from the sea. And, New Zealand had to change the name of Chinese gooseberries, because they were neither Chinese nor gooseberries – hence Kiwi Fruit.
But, back to takeaway, the better pizza shops do a pretty good job, but do choose one close by and, in the same vein, fish & chips, but find one that batters and cooks the fish to order, makes their own chips and runs the fryers at a decent level, so everything is crisp and golden.
I also remember how good KFC was when it started. Those were the days of queues down the road, a very limited menu and fried chicken straight out of the pressurized fryer. It was always fresh, hot and delicious. The slaw wasn’t bad either, but the less said about the mash and gravy the better. The odd rotisserie chicken shop can be good too, but too many of them (especially the supermarkets) cook the sh.t out of the chicken and then leave them stewing away in those lined bags for hours.
So maybe the answer, as Matt Preston suggested, is that we should just cook our ‘takeaway’ at home. Then it’s sure to be hot, fresh and of course super tasty!
Listen to the podcast here.
ROLL YOUR OWN SOUVLAKI
Marinate 1 lamb backstrap in olive oil, fresh lemon juice, crushed garlic, chopped fresh oregano and seasonings. Set aside for 30 mins or so, tossing now and then. When ready, barbecue or grill to medium. Rest.
Put a few heaped tbsp Greek yoghurt in a small bowl and add 2 crushed garlic cloves and 1-2 heaped tbsp chopped mint. Mix well and place the bowl on a platter. Then neatly arrange baby cos leaves, tomato wedges, sliced peeled continental (telegraph) cucumber, finely sliced red onion and wedges of radish around.
Slice the lamb on the diagonal and add to the platter. Serve with warm pitas (or tortillas), which have been wrapped in kitchen foil and warmed in the oven.
Click here to go to Hueys Youtube channel
Who Is Iain “Huey” Hewitson
Born 4 October 1948 (age 69)
Otaki, New Zealand
Iain “Huey” Hewitson (born 4 October 1948 in Otaki), is a New Zealand-born chef, restaurateur, author, and television personality who moved to Australia in 1972. He is best known for his television involvement with Network Ten. He was also the face of supermarket chain BI-LO.
image for illustration only.Thomas J. Story