Food: the time of our lives

This morning I had breakfast. At midday or thereabouts I’ll have lunch, and then tonight, once home from work, I’ll make dinner for the family. In between there’ll be breaks for coffee, and then, if I am as undisciplined as usual, a late evening raid on the refrigerator.  No doubt, what I eat and drink from…

Gopnik on taste

‘None of us can escape the web of competitive, cyclical, counterintuitive, imitative relations that shape the social role of taste. There is no privileged space from which we can look down and say, Your tastes are trends, my tastes are truths. All taste effects depend on contexts. The smell in our nose changes the taste…

‘shot glasses of salvation’

After reviewing Keeping the Feast yesterday, some words of poetry from the author communion we pass the silver plate of broken bread with less confidence than we pass the peace easier perhaps to hug than to admit to our hunger we take and eat without a word and wait for the wine’s weaker friend shot glasses…

‘Keeping the Feast’ by Milton Brasher-Cunningham

‘We make bread so that it shall be possible for mankind to have more than bread.’ So said the ecologist John Stewart Collis back in the 1970s. He’s right. Food is never just about the food. In fact, when we write about food as an end in itself, it’s likely we’ve misunderstood our subject. That…

Cicero in favour of dinner parties

“Really Paetus, I implore you to spend time in honest, pleasant and friendly company. … I am not thinking of the physical pleasure, but of community life and habit, and of mental recreation, of which familiar conversation is the most effective agent; and conversation is at its most agreeable at dinner parties. In this respect…

Visser on food and civilisation

“Food is ‘everyday’ — it has to be, or we would not survive for long. But food is never just something to eat. It is something to find or hunt or cultivate first of all; for most of human history we have spent a much longer portion of our lives worrying about food, and plotting,…

Stephanie on ageing

Near the end of her biography A Cook’s Life — one I’ve commented on before — Stephanie Alexander shares an insight into her daily life at the ‘greying’ end of an extraordinary career: ‘Despite these marvellous trips and all the activity associated with being the founder and figurehead of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation…

McDonald’s and religious ritual?

I’m no fan of Macca’s. Frankly, I would rather go without than line up for a Big Mac. But with close to a thousand outlets around Australia, I’m sure management is not overly concerned with my indifference. What’s more, my son has worked at a local franchise for the past couple of years. Likely he’s…

God and the cornflakes

‘The idea that ordinariness should be so fraught with heaven, and that a thing like mere eating should open out onto vistas that we thought were the province of religious mystery — it is all too heady. Not that we are transported every time we sit down to our cornflakes, any more than we are…

Cooking and stillness

I’m often asked what I love about cooking. It’s a fair question. I not only cook a lot; I read and write about it; I teach about it; and I find endless connections between food, tables and other things. The trouble is, when asked about my love for cooking, I often feel as though my…

Seriously therapeutic chocolate tart

My beloved has left me. Actually, she’s gone to some exotic place for ‘work-related reasons’, but the long and the short of it is I’m left here beloved-less, alone, and on the verge of serious melancholy! We all have our coping mechanisms. Mine is chocolate, so, considering the clouds gathering overhead, I decided to act….

Jim Hearn on the professional kitchen

‘Dreams drive hospitality. While some people like to think of it as a component of the service industry whose responsibility it is to address the needs of the body, for those on the inside it is a weird and sometimes wonderful dreamscape of ungodly hours, ridiculous pressures, unkind owners, absurd customers, torture, humiliation and occasional…

Gopnik on wine … again

‘Between the rhetorical and the real lies ritual. And wine is a ritual thing before it is any other kind of thing.’ ‘ … it is not wine that makes us happy for no reason; it is the alcohol that makes us happy for no reason. Wine is what gives us a reason to let…

Gopnik on recipes

After posting my lemon and lime tart recipe yesterday, I was reminded again just how difficult sharing such a thing is in this medium. So much about cooking is intuitive. To give intuition words is fraught. I look through my mother’s tattered box of recipes, little bits of culinary wisdom scrawled on yellowed pieces of…

Another review

There’s another review of Eating Heaven by Sheelagh Wegman in the Tasmanian Anglican. You can read it here.

Lemon & Lime Tart

Headed to a dinner with friends, a ‘pie night’ in celebration of all things dough entombed!  My contribution is more held than encased, technically not a pie at all. But entrusted with the sweet ending to the meal, I decided a tart would be a fitting and lighter end to things. I’m not sure where…

Gopnik on Cafes and Restaurants

I quoted yesterday from Adam Gopnik’s beautiful book The Table Comes First. As one who tries to write about tables and food, I bow down to writers like this. Gopnik not only writes well and ranges broadly, he sees in food so much more than food. The book is a delight to read. I don’t…

Gopnik on Coffee and Wine

‘French cooking was made not merely in the space between caffeine and alcohol but in the simultaneous presence of both, thus blending, in sequence, the two drugs by which modern people shape their lives. Good food takes place in the head space between them … Modern life is regulated by these drugs, morning to night–one…

The coffee lover’s psalm (with apologies to David)

The coffee lover’s psalm Caffeine is my shepherd; I shall not doze. It maketh me to wake in green pastures: It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses. It restoreth my buzz: It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of addiction,…

Feast Yourselves: a prayer

  God beyond all our gods Lord of lords You offer us life’s bread crusty     warm     yeasty     buttered     dark– as healthful as good– and we gum day old white; in the midst of Your banquet we nibble away at the same Old Kraft cheese sandwich There is…