The innocence of peas

“In the vegetable world, there is nothing so innocent, so confiding in its expression, as the small green face of the freshly shelled spring pea. Asparagus is pushing and bossy, lettuce is loud and blowsy, radishes are gay and playful, but the little green pea is so helpless and friendly that it makes really sensitive…

The happiness of garlic

“It is not really an exaggeration to say that peace and happiness begin, geographically, where garlic is used in cooking.” Marcel Boulestin

The immortality of cheese

“A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be oversophisticated. Yet it remains cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality.” Clifton Fadiman

The nobility of pizza

“Nobody is king when we eat pizza. Nobody carves, nobody gets the best bit, there is no point on the circumference from which the most succulent cut is taken. … Born amongst the Neapolitan poor, gathering to its self the culinary traditions of the whole world, the modern pizza is, for all its shortcomings, the…

Music and dinner

“Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.” G.K. Chesterton

Eating and Deeper Things

It’s been 10 years since I began this blog. As the subtitle says, it’s about ‘the food we eat and the tables we share.’ It’s an idiosyncratic thing, an odd collection of recipes, reflections and quotes, suggestions for reading and good places to eat. Underneath is an abiding sense that eating is about more than…

F*ckin’ blueberry pies

I ate my first blueberry when I was 16. It was just days into my kitchen career. Ray was the pastry chef left with the new boy. He was a good natured Kiwi with a foul mouth and a permanent grin. As he scooped a mound of reddish-blue berries into a sweet pastry case, he…

Poetry from the kitchen #16

Decision After dinner which consisted of polenta,roasted cod on chickpea mushand lemon geranium cake with organic wine I picked up an attractive programmethat advertised a weekend of green cuisineand a special course on women’s health: I would learn how to eat for well-beingradiance and vitality in three daysat the genuine mediaeval organic centre where I…

On food fundamentalists

It’s no secret … I like food. There’s not much I’d rather do than cook and eat. And in between to think and read about it. I love recipe books and restaurant guides. I even relish weighty books on the anthropology and theology of food. But one thing I cannot stomach is a diet book….

Poetry from the kitchen #15

Capsicum Rap Am a red, am a orange, am a yella, am a greenwhen ya pull ma pin, ma seeds is snow-storm whitean’ am raw in da jaw, am spittin’ when ya bite,am a red, am a orange, am a yella, am a green. Am a green, am a yella, am a orange, am a…

Anzac cake

There is NOTHING as cosseting as a homemade Anzac biscuit. Especially one still warm from the oven. It’s the combination of crisp and slightly chewy, and that sweet mouthfeel of oaty, syrupy, coconutty goodness. And the memory. It’s baking gold! I’ve just read Allison Reynolds’ little book with a big title, Anzac Biscuits: The Power…

Buttered toast

“The smell of buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy…

Eating, sex and communion

The tale of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is as famous for its apple as it is for its nudity. Indeed, in this ancient story of hunger, food and sexuality are entwined. As the young couple succumb to the forbidden fruit, the story says “the eyes of both were opened and they…

The loyalty of soup

It’s winter in Melbourne. This morning my dear son and I stocked up my trolley at the market with neck bones and veggies and bacon and herbs. And today I’ll make soup. A big pot of warming, nourishing soup. I like soup. In the season of thick socks, scarves and pesky viruses, soup fits. When…

Poetry from the kitchen #14

Our lemon tree is in full bloom. Each time I come in from the garage and through the side gate — the days cold and overcast — the sight and smell of yellow fills the space. The Italian poet Eugenio Montale calls them winter’s “golden horns of sunlight.” That they are! The LemonsEugenio MontaleTranslated by…

Poetry from the kitchen #13

Fish Magic Here lies the holy fish: its fading glossComes off as tacky sequins on your hand.Nothing averts its eyes of milk and glass,Or improves the dead sournessOf its downward mouth. White meat conveyed to the white tooth,That melts in a memory of salt,That leaves its last taste on your tongue —But it leaps to…

Julia

In the late 90s I had a crush on an older woman. I was in my thirties and married. She was in her 80s, widowed with bad knees. Still, I was enthralled. I was living in California at the time, doing postgrad studies. As an escape from the books, I watched old reruns of Julia…

Poetry from the kitchen #12

A la Carte Elisabeth Rowe Let me prepare for youCorn fed carp with a coulis of saffron marmaladeFilo parcels of snails in sorrel sauce Let me bring to your tableCaribbean caviar with galette of pistachio and endiveBallottine of quail with mozzarella Consider tonight’s specialRack of pigeon with Roquefort and chargrilled pinenutsRed mullet in a maple…

Poetry from the kitchen #11

The Simple Truth Philip Levine I bought a dollar and a half’s worth of small red potatoes,took them home, boiled them in their jacketsand ate them for dinner with a little butter and salt.Then I walked through the dried fieldson the edge of town. In the middle of June the lighthung on in the dark…