THE DAY WE ME GRAVNER they’d fallen out of love with him; “Gravner e pazzo!” (blah, blah, blah) but we didn’t know… we only wanted to meet him. It was a complicated and somewhat convoluted process too. Direct contact had failed. Our faxes - this was still the days of faxes – were met with only silence from the hill above Gorizia. And so, meeting the legend had been consigned to the too-hard basket. A little earlier, a year or so before, there had been the crazy drive down the Tuscan coast. Through the Cabernet soaked hills of Bolgheri, down to the Maremma and the… read more.
I’M NOT A NEAT PERSON. I’m not particularly organised either. I carry around an everything book, where I put everything I might need at any one time; parking fines, recipes, to do lists, you name it. The thing weighs a ton. It’s falling apart at the seams because so much is jammed in there. Just looking at it makes me anxious. Really, it’s a metaphor for my life. As hectic as everything gets though, I make sure one thing is in control. My pantry. I’ll organise and re-organise it; colour code it, sort it into ‘ethnicity’, size, shape, genre - and I’ll sit for hours… read more.
It’s a simple truth; they do not love you back. In my case, it was something about the way she crammed my pita bread with falafel balls, hummus and pickled cabbage; her left hand tenderly working the soft bread, as her other, armed at turns with tong and spoon, selected salads and condiments for my lunch. Her name was Shelly, and if there is a more genuine representation of unbridled affection, I am yet to find it. It was as if in some part, she herself was an ingredient, her willingness and enthusiasm a piquant addition, communicated with a knowing, heart-melting smile. For the very… read more.
“Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” - Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady Unless, of course, you first read that sentence as a university student coerced into dissecting character psychologies within James’s classic novel or as someone not yet acquainted with a verity that comes, sooner or later, to us all: we acquire a taste for what we love most. What goes unloved one year has a tendency to sneak up on us, to become the most cherished of another era. Soon, Randy Newman’s story about composing his… read more.
"Some people tell us that Manjimup is a dying town, but I for one won't believe this, as towns fall and rise again." - Andrew Muir Jr (2006) "The most learned men have been questioned as to the nature of this tuber, and after two thousand years of argument and discussion their answer is the same as it was on the first day: we do not know. The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: eat us and praise the Lord." - Alexander Dumas A bitter wind is flowing freely through my thin cardigan, and I'm hoping to warm myself up with something… read more.
As a kid growing up in St Kilda, eating could be a terrifying experience. Almost all of my inner Melbourne, Windsor Primary schoolmates were recently arrived immigrants: Italians, Greeks, Maltese and Germans, mostly. How often I would find myself at these friends’ houses, trapped at a dinner table, staring at the food on my plate, trying to figure out how I could shuffle aside or hide the weird things I was being served… or eat them. Plenty of times I would go home with damp pockets stuffed with pieces of fish or strange meat. I’m in my mid-fifties, a product of the classic, 'white-bread', Aussie… read more.
SHAKESPEARE USED EVERYTHING in the literary pantry. Every metaphor, every rhetorical device, every inference. Chief nourisher at life’s feast, he embraced the totality of existence, ate experience and drank it up, leaving a seeming glut of wonders behind. But casting a cursory glance over the canon reveals something curious. While his works are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes, there aren’t as many references to food as you might expect. Not even in the plays with the fattest Lord in Literature. We assume that Sir John Falstaff has come by his ‘huge hill of flesh’ less by consumption of capons [overfed castrated… read more.