Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Life Without Internet

How did I manage to survive before we had internet?! I was thinking about that last night as I googled an ingredient that is common in the USA, but not in Australia, to work out a substitute. It got me thinking - what would I do if I didn't have the internet to look up what the product actually was, or what a suitable substitute would be.

As I have dual citizenship for Australia and the USA, I love baking and cooking using a lot of American recipes acquired from my grandmother's recipe tin, other family/friends in the States, American cookbooks or from Betty Crocker (I've subscribed to 'her' website and LOVE trying out many of her recipes). However, the draw back is that some ingredients/products are either nonexistent here in Australia and therefore I need to find a substitute, or they are called/referred to as something completely different and I need to find out what it's called in Australia. Either way, the easiest way to work it out, is to go to the internet. I just type in the ingredient and wah-la, up come a million (give or take!) links to that ingredient, giving me information on what it is, how to use it, a substitute for that product, other recipes using that product, little anecdotes from others using that ingredient or the most annoying link to click on: someone else asking the same question I have in a forum, but no one has answered the person, meaning no answer for me! But my point is, there is a heap of information right at my fingertips, helping me with my dilemma of food lost in translation!

But my second point is - whatever would I have done if I had the same passion for cooking as I do now, before the days of internet, or even more importantly, Google? Firstly, I probably would have given up making that particular dish/recipe that day because researching would take a while and I'd run out of time. Secondly, I'd ring my mum and find out if she knew what the ingredient was and if there was a substitute, or another name for it. It wouldn't be guaranteed that she'd know, so I'd have to email one of my family or friends in the States and wait for a response. But, hey! This is in the days before internet, so there's no such thing as email! Snail mail would just be silly by the time I got a response, but if I was to ring them, I'd have to wait until an appropriate time because of the time difference. And by the time I coordinated that phone call, chances are, they would know what the product was, but would have no idea what the Australia equivalent would be! Grr... I'm nearly pulling my hair out with frustration writing this and this is just a hypothetical! Hence, why I would have given up making the recipe at that time, perhaps giving up all together and not bothering to pick it up again, placing it in the 'too hard' basket.

So, that's the first obvious drawback to having no internet. A second drawback, which is related to my passion for cooking, is no longer having access to the internet to find new recipes to try! I love the Masterchef Australia website, so get quite a few recipes from there. As I said before, I subscribe to Betty Crocker as well, so enjoy trying her recipes, as well as other cooking related blogs, Facebook pages etc... all in existence, only because the internet is in existence.

And I haven't even touched on the obvious use for the internet - communication with family and friends. Especially in my case with my mum's family overseas and having moved away from family and friends in our 'home' state, as well as the friends we made while living in Adelaide while Hubby studied, the internet has been a life-line to keep in touch with everyone. I'm not someone to pick up the phone and call, so email is a great way for me to stay in contact.

One final thought... if we were living in the days before internet, you wouldn't be reading this blog right now! And in actual fact, you wouldn't even know what the word 'blog' meant, and for that matter, google. Excuse me?! What's a google? And a blog?

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