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Homepage: PAL canapes are being served in first class

Homepage: PAL canapes are being served in first class

My first job was with Masterfoods, the company that makes that excellent spread called Promite. (That'll annoy Vegemite eaters who think Promite is about as palatable as something you'd scrape off the bottom of a beer fermentation vat. In truth, that's where most of those yeast spreads come from.) It was a vacation job that consisted of writing down all the company's recipes. Up till then, at best they were on scraps of paper, and most probably they were only in the heads of one or two of the leading hands. These guys knew by instinct just how many chooks and how many bags of herbs and fillers and other ingredients to dump into the giant mincers and mills and cooking vats to make the Spicy Chicken paste or whatever was on that day.

You could always tell when it was Hot English Mustard day because birds and other wildlife would stay some kilometres away from the factory which issued an intense, acrid smell of mustard oil they added to the mixture. They say that once you've seen sausages being made you'll never eat a sausage again. However, they sometimes had the opposite problem at the Masterfoods factory - some of the assembly line workers would souvenir a can or two. If the cans had been through the autoclave they were pasteurised and everything was OK. If not, and the people were lucky, the tin would go bad and explode in their cupboard at home. If they weren't lucky, they'd eat it just before it started to emit noxious gases.

A sister company in those days was Uncle Bens Foods which made many of the best known pet foods. It was common lore that once a week Uncle Ben's management would have a tasty morning tea of various company products - tinned ChunkyRoo or whatever they called it. The idea was to demonstrate their confidence in the quality of the ingredients, the cleanliness of the production area and so on.

Now, if we're to believe the stories, most of the commercial aircraft in the world will be in the skies on New Year's Eve this year. They'll be full of politicians showing how confident they are that both their airlines and their air traffic control systems are Y2K compliant. So, I suggest you take the kids outside at midnight and point to our PM, flying across the sky, waving to all of us. Hi John!


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