In my view, Marion Halligan is one of the most intelligent food writers on Australian shores. While her second food-related memoir, The Taste of Memory, will not suit all palates, I found it a mesmerising and gentle read.
As a writer, Halligan is insightful and easy to be with. More importantly, she is wise—a moderating voice in a genre often given to pomposity. For Halligan, food is a conversation, a relationship, a way of being in everyday life. Its beauty is in its simplicity, its connection to the earth and its rhythms and seasons. Halligan understands food.
This little book is part philosophy, part literary review, part story, part cultural critique and part recipe book. It’s an evocative and intimate recollection of the significant ways food is a part of our spirits, individually and communally.
I’ve often thought that one day I’d like to write something about food. Yet too often the confession sticks in my throat. Are there not more pressing issues? For me, Halligan’s approach is inspiring and permission-giving. Perhaps it’s an honorable aspiration after all.