Eating and Deeper Things

It’s been 10 years since I began this blog. As the subtitle says, it’s mostly about food, ‘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 a deep sense that eating is about…

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 Julia Child. 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 doing postgrad studies. As an escape from the books, I watched old reruns of The French Chef, the public…

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…

We give thanks for winter

Michael Leunig We give thanks for the blessing of winter:Season to cherish the heart.To make warmth and quiet for the heart.To make soups and broths for the heart.To cook for the heart and read for the heart.To curl up softly and nestle with the heart.To sleep deeply and gently at one with the heart.To dream…

The olive

The whole Mediterranean, the sculpture, the palms, the gold beads, the bearded heroes, the wine, the ideas, the ships, the moonlight, the winged gorgons, the bronze men, the philosophers — all of it seems to rise in the sour, pungent smell of these black olives between the teeth. A taste older than meat, older than…

Tandoh on eating well

We accept the lie that there is a perfect way of eating that will save your soul and send you careering blithely through your 80s, into your 90s and beyond. Do what you want, we’re told – but you’ll die if you get it wrong. I don’t want you to feel this way. Food shouldn’t…

The taste of sadness

The week after dad’s death, two gifts arrived on my doorstep: a foil covered tray of chicken enchiladas and a ceramic pot of beef Bourguignon. Both were homemade and left by friends. As different as one dish was from the other, they tasted equally of comfort. There is something about food and grief that are…

E.B. White on kitchens

At a meeting of the American Society of Industrial Designers in the 1950s, one of the speakers made the assertion that “the kitchen as we know it today is a dead dodo.” In response, White offered this: I think the kitchen, like the raccoon, is a dead dodo only if you choose to shoot it…

Ephron on certainty

What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It’s a sure thing! It’s a sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in…