Restaurant charges $57 for cauliflower
As I was browsing the news, munching on my humble lunch of vegemite toast, a restaurant review caught my eye.
It was for the restaurant at the Art Gallery of NSW, Chiswick At The Gallery, whose sister restaurant, Chiswick Woollahra, in Sydney's east, I frequent (if "frequent" means "I've been there once and it was delicious").
I can't recall what I ate at Chiswick Woollahra but I can tell you what I didn't eat: an entire cauliflower on a plate. I know this because an entire cauliflower on a plate wasn't featured on the menu at the time, but it is now, at both Chiswicks, for $30 at Woollahra and $57 at the gallery restaurant.
A $57 cauliflower feels like something to be outraged about, and indeed, my kids were outraged when I told them. To be honest, though, my kids hate cauliflower, and wouldn't eat it if you paid them $57.
I thought Chiswick's cauliflower looked very tasty, and vastly better than my own version of cauliflower, which involves microwaving the vegetable and then sprinkling it with cheese.
Come to think of it, this is probably why my kids don't like cauliflower.
And really, if Chiswick At The Gallery wishes to charge $57 for a cauliflower and patrons are willing to pay, then good on them. It may seem like a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a veggie that costs about $4 at the supermarket but, hey, people will pay ridiculous amounts of money for all sorts of foodstuffs.
For example, a bottle of plain, unflavoured water for $A60. A pack of coffee, which doesn't have any special powers for $A700. A burger that comes with truffles and a bottle of wine but that is essentially still just a burger for $A7500.
Or a banana taped to a wall, which is literally a banana and some duct tape, for $A180,000.
But let's be real: the price of the cauliflower is not the issue here. What is the issue is the very concept of an entire cauliflower served on a plate as a meal.
Because - and I don't wish to be indelicate, but there's no nice way to say this - a cauliflower is basically a fart in vegetable form.
The cauliflower is considered one of the most gassy of the cruciferous vegetables, all of which are known to cause havoc in the intestines. A cauliflower is not a food generally associated with fine dining, because the effects wreaked on your body are not something you would welcome in a fine dining establishment.
If a man took me to Chiswick on a date, and he ordered the whole cauliflower, I would excuse myself before desert and make my own way home in an Uber. No way would I risk lingering over cake and coffee after such a potentially eruptive meal.
Of course, Chiswick's cauliflower dish isn't necessarily intended to be eaten by a sole, brave diner. It can be ordered as a side dish and divided into much smaller portions, to be shared between two, four, or 20 other patrons. After all, cauliflower is best enjoyed in small quantities, especially when dining in the company of others.
But it's still quite a lot of money to spend on a side of veggies, especially a veggie that can cause all sorts of mortifying disorders. There are so many other delicious meals to try which don't necessitate enforced social isolation.
So when you're next at the Art Gallery of NSW, hang on to your money, and maybe save to invest in a nice piece of art.
Perhaps a giant cauliflower duct taped to a wall? Now that would be quite the dish.