Food & Wine

Managing comments on the website

By | Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Humour, Language, Media, Music, Politics, Religion, Research, Road Safety, Society, Sport, Theatre | 43 Comments

I’ve had to think hard about how best to moderate the comments on this website. A number of the recent posts have had more than 100 comments, and one has passed 200. Just following them is a decent amount of work, and it gets in the way of other writing important to me. My own practice has been to respond to anyone who I think is seeking a real answer to something, or who has found a weakness in what I have written, or who seems to have misunderstood what I wrote. I learn from such encounters. If I find I…

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Could this be the perfect lamb stew?

By | Food & Wine, Health, History, Society | 3 Comments

I’ve been cooking seriously for a long time, and I love winter because of the chance it offers the cook to play around with stews, daubes, carbonnades and the rest of the slow-cooked meat and vegetable composite repertoire. I have never been able to reproduce the perfect boeuf à la bourguignonne that I enjoyed in France fifty years ago, though I do try again each winter. There’s always just something missing. But I came across a fantastic lamb stew in the Newsletter that goes to HCF members. The Newsletter always offers a recipe, and I try a lot of them, because they are ‘healthy’, meaning…

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The last essay for this year

By | ABC, Books, Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Humour, Indigenous, Language, Media, Music, Other, Politics, Religion, Research, Road Safety, Society, Sport, Theatre | 26 Comments

Even websites need a holiday, and mine starts tomorrow. I’m back at work in the week beginning 12 January, and wish all my readers a relaxing, safe and enjoyable holiday break too. I started this website in June 2012, so it is now two-and-a-half years old. Over that time it has attracted about 27,000 unique readers, who have in total visited the site more than 70,000 times, and read nearly 150,000 pages. Readers have made nearly 3,700 comments to my 608 posts, and of course to one another’s comments. Before I get carried away with such success, I should mention that my…

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Progress gives with one hand, and takes away with the other

By | Economy, Environment, Food & Wine, History, Media, Politics, Society | 3 Comments

A couple of weeks in the outback have reminded me of the slow change in the commercial geography of Australia’s cities and towns since my boyhood, and of its consequences, for good and ill. I have no proposed solution, and think that what has happened has been almost unavoidable. I wrote in a recent piece that economic change rarely provides the new jobs to the displaced workers, and you can see an analogy in geographic change too. Let me start with a personal memory. In 1950 my family had moved to Armidale, where I wanted to join the local tennis…

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Living sustainably

By | Books, Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Politics, Religion, Research | 35 Comments

Three or so weeks ago I wrote a piece on ‘the good society’, setting out what I thought were the primary values that would inform such a blessed state. It was picked up on On Line Opinion, where commenters battled away with each other. Before the final duel began one commenter, Ludwig, wrote that I had missed something really important: This is to live sustainably. To live well within our means. To keep the scale of everything well within the ability of our resource base to provide not only all the necessities for life but the necessities for a high…

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And a Merry Christmas to all

By | ABC, Books, Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Humour, Indigenous, Language, Media, Music, Other, Politics, Religion, Research, Road Safety, Society, Sport, Theatre | 7 Comments

This is my last post for the year — a phrase my wife says needs a trumpet call, which would be the case had I capitalised the phrase. Ordinary transmission will resume on Monday 6 January. What a year it has been. What other year saw Australia have three Prime Ministers within a few months? The last was 1945, when John Curtin died, to be followed in an interim way by his Deputy Frank Forde, before the Labor Caucus elected Ben Chifley as the new PM. And there were two similar earlier years in my lifetime, 1941, when Menzies, Fadden,…

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John Howard and the ‘contest of ideas’

By | ABC, Books, Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Indigenous, Language, Media, Music, Other, Politics, Religion, Research, Society | 6 Comments

Former Prime Minister John Howard was the guest speaker at a dinner held a couple of months ago to celebrate the 500th issue of the magazine Quadrant. In his speech, which you can read in the current issue of the magazine, he said this: In the end, politics is not a public relations contest, it is a contest of ideas. I think he is right, and I wondered, as I read, what he thought the contested ideas were. Some examples came later. There were people of unsound thought [who] have preoccupied themselves with other causes [than communism]: the causes of radical environmentalism,…

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‘the social cost of carbon’

By | Climate Change, Economy, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Language, Media, Politics, Religion, Research, Society | 4 Comments

Apparently the American President has become exercised about something called ‘the social costs of carbon’, and his office has issued a paper about it, from whose executive summary we get the following: The purpose of the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) estimates presented here is to allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that impact cumulative global emissions. The SCC is an estimate of the monetized damages associated with an incremental increase in carbon emissions in a given year. It is intended to include (but is not limited to)…

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This website has its first birthday!

By | Climate Change, Economy, Education, Food & Wine, History, Other, Politics, Society | 3 Comments

I started this blog on July 16th last year, so it’s now in its second year. I started it because I like thinking about the issues of the day and writing about them, and I had been doing that for a long time. The decline of the print media, and the possibility of running my own website, combined to push me into it. In the first year I wrote 326 blogs, which is a little more than six a week. I’ve settled down to a Monday to Saturday darg, not because Sunday is for rest and religion, but because what…

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Whatever happened to port and sherry?

By | Books, Economy, Food & Wine, Health, Research, Society | No Comments

Today I leave the worlds of ‘climate change’ and Australian politics for a moment to consider wine, for me the indispensable accompaniment of dinner — except when I will be playing bridge afterwards. In a doctor’s waiting room the other day I was leafing through the recipes in a magazine, and came across notes for two ingredients: apera and tawny. Tawny was what I thought it was, tawny port, but apera? It turned out to be what we used to call dry sherry. At once came a flood of memories, and an urge to find out more. My parents did…

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