I desire mutton flaps

I desire mutton flaps

Mutton=sheep meat, older than lamb meat, fuller in flavour but slightly tougher
Mutton flaps=older tougher flaps of meat that are good to eat

A few months ago I was in a lecture for Australian Government medical officers who are based in Canberra. The lecture was from Prof. Sharon Friel from the Australian National University. She was speaking about policy coherence in a health context with some emphasis on international trade. Sharon mentioned the problem with New Zealand (and to a much lesser extent, Australia) selling mutton flaps to people in Tonga and the contribution this trade has had in Tonga’s obesity outbreak.

Sharon displayed a drawing of a sheep which made it clear that mutton flaps are the breast meat from the lamb or sheep. This meat is about 50:50 fat to meat and the fat is saturated fat. It’s full of flavours and when spit roasted the delicious aroma spreads through market places. These market places were traditionally for trading deep sea fish, but because the fish fetch a better price on the export market and because mutton flaps taste so good, the diet of many Tongans has changed from being fish-based to red meat based with huge amounts of fat.

Yes, this is a sheep I drew displaying where the mutton flaps are Gary Lum
Mutton flaps

As you may imagine, especially if you know me, as soon as Sharon began describing the mutton flaps I was on Google looking up recipes and where I might find mutton flaps in Canberra. I promise I did listen to her lecture and I did take away strong messages about the importance of policy coherence and ensuring policy development considers wider ramifications, especially health ramifications.

It turns out that mutton flaps are used extensively to make doner kebabs and apart from the market to Tonga, most Australian mutton flaps go into pet food. This means that your dogs and cats are getting a good loading of ovine saturated fat in their diet. If I understand the canning process correctly, the meat will be super tender and very tasty.

Anyway, I discovered that mutton flaps could be purchased on the south side and north side of Canberra. Given I’m a dweller of the north and rarely venture to the south of Canberra, I visited the Belconnen Markets this morning at 7 am with a view to getting some mutton flaps to fulfil my carnal desires. To my dismay, I was told that each week all the mutton flaps are bought by a regular customer and they don’t keep any extras. I asked about other vendors in the market and was told no one stocks mutton flaps. It sounds like if I want mutton flaps, I’m going to have to put in an advance order and that may take some time. So what’s a boy to do when he wants to get his lips into some mutton flaps?

Dejected I went on to do my grocery shopping at Westfield Belconnen. In Coles, I came across some scrappy looking meat and noticed they were lamb offcuts. They looked like ribs with quite a bit of meat and fat on them. In my mind, these may as well be mutton flaps. So I bought about $7 worth and started thinking about how to cook them.

Lamb bones ready for slowly roasting Gary Lum
Lamb bones ready for slowly roasting

Now if you want to see how it all turned out, you’ll need to venture to Yummy Lummy and check out the post on slowly roasted lamb bones. Sadly, there’s not much over there about policy coherence though.

Changing the subject to a change on my blogs

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made a change to the way I’m handling comments here and over at Yummy Lummy.

I’ve been noticing some strange online behaviour here with odd comments. Basically spam but not in the usual spam structure. No links and no abuse, but the comments seemed to be from random people who I had not reached out to and who didn’t seem engaged with the blog. When I saw it I would remove it. I thought the safest thing to do would be to moderate all comments so I had a greater level of control.

Of more concern, I’ve also had a sort of reverse problem with some good (online) friends not being able to comment and their words ending up in my spam folders. I hope by increasing the control I have over comments, this problem will be ameliorated.


This raises the issue of online trolls. I’ve been really fortunate that I can count on the number of fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve been trolled on my personal sites (including Medical Fun Facts). On the other hand, from time to time at work, I get abusive messages but that’s very different. Friends who keep an eye open for me have sent some interesting screenshots from various social media accounts. It would be inappropriate to describe these in any detail here but it’s one of the reasons why I try to be polite, friendly and courteous here. There are a few safe spaces where I can be more myself online and in those forums, it is nice to be amongst like-minded people.

When online, I usually write with trolls in mind. I’m not wanting to be controversial and if I have anything controversial to write I’ll try to couch it carefully.


It remains a constant problem and what I don’t get is with good anti-spam products like Akismet, why do spammers bother. Unlike the tasty canned pork product, I hate online spam, especially now malware and ransomware are becoming more common.

Gary Lum spam

If anyone has ever sent me an e-mail and I’ve not responded, I’m sorry. Unless I know you, I’ll probably delete the e-mail.

Other posts you may like to read

Is my drawing getting any better?

My warped and twisted mind

10 reasons why podcasting is fun


22 Replies to “I desire mutton flaps”

  1. That sounds yummy, lummy 🙂
    Now I feel like lamb … or mutton … dead sheep is one of my favourite foods … In fact Mum and I both agree that if we had to evacuate the planet and could only take one meat animal with us, it would have to be sheep … although I must admit I have two reasons … I could also use the wool for felting, or spinning and crocheting/etc 🙂
    … and re a couple of the comments – if I am blogging at 5am it is usually because I have not actually gone to bed yet!
    (Yes – this is the same @UTLAU who follows you on Twitter … UTLAU being an acronym for Up Too Late As Usual 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and it’s good to see you UTLAU 😃
      Given the versatility of ovine goodness, I agree, although belly pork would be hard to do without 🤣 but that’s the Chinese in me I think.

    1. I hope my comments aren’t too distasteful. I tried to behave myself.

    1. In my mind Sue, all the meat I eat, I feel like you’re sharing with me along with many other vegetarians, your share of meat products to enjoy.

      I probably make too much of my love of Spam, but really, when I want something with a slightly salty meaty taste, a thin slice under the grill with a bit of Coon cheese. I’m a happy little Lum 😃

  2. Lol you were indeed multi-tasking in Sharon’s lecture. An intellectual and gastronomic time there 😀 I’ve also had my fair share of trolls and hate emails over the years I’ve been blogging. You just never know when they will strike. When I write online, I usually don’t write with trolls in mind but just aim to keep a balance opinion, keeping aware that my opinion may not be someone else’s. If someone doesn’t like it, so be it but when they become a troll, Askimet usually does a good job for me.

    1. Thanks Mabel, I had every intention of listening intently to the lecture, however, I’d never heard of the tragedy of the mutton flaps in Tonga. It is a sad reflection on how rich economies can alter the lives of the citizens of another economy with such devastation. If Tongans went back to a fish and local vegetable diet, they wouldn’t be suffering from diabetes and obesity in such great numbers.
      Hopefully I can turn off the extra level of control on the blogs soon.

    2. It is unfortunate to hear of the dietary situation in Tonga. Education is key and hopefully things will change at some point.

      You already do a very good job responding to comments quick and fast, Gaz. You’ll and your blog will be right 🙂

    3. Thanks, Mabel. WordPress Reader is a great tool for replying to comments.

    4. Hahaha…I personally think WP Reader and Notifications could be better. Once I left my blog for a few days, and WP would only load a certain number of comments and notifications for me 😀

    5. Well as I lay here in bed Mabel I’m grateful for the app that lets me approve and respond to comments 😃👍

    6. The app isn’t bad at all. But I still prefer using WP and blogging on a laptop or computer sitting upright on a cushy chair. Blogging is serious business 😉 😃

    7. I am the opposite. No way will I be blogging at 5am 😱 Full steam ahead for me now until tomorrow morning 😂😂😂 Sleep well, and shop and eat well on Sunday 😀

Go on, leave a comment, you know you want to