Food & Wine

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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How should you deal with ‘wing nuts’?

By | Climate Change, Economy, Education, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Language, Media, Other, Politics, Religion, Road Safety, Society | One Comment

I came across a couple of articles about how best to deal with the passionately deluded. ‘Wing nut’ is a relatively new expression to me, and is explained by one of them like this: ‘A wing nut is someone who has a dogmatic commitment to an extreme political view (“wing”) that is false and at least a bit crazy (“nut”). A wingnut might believe that George W. Bush is a fascist, that Barack Obama is a socialist, that big banks run the Department of the Treasury or that the U.S. intervened in Libya because of oil.’ They sound like prats or…

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Australian food: what has happened over seventy years

By | Economy, Environment, Food & Wine, Health, History, Other, Society | One Comment

From time to time I read advice about how to set up one’s own kitchen garden, even for people who live in apartments. If we do we will live so much better, the story goes. In fact the two of us maintain a herb garden, run an annual battle with the possum about how many tomatoes we will each enjoy, and harvest lemons, limes, apples and pears — again, after we have paid the possum tax. When I lived in Canberra as a boy, during and after the second world war, we did indeed run a large kitchen garden in…

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Forty years of Australian politics — a review from outside

By | ABC, Books, Education, Food & Wine, History, Media, Politics, Society | No Comments

If you were an election-night watcher during the period from 1969 to 1998 you would have seen, on one or other of the channels, an Englishman with a clear Oxford voice, a slight stammer, and an air of real authority. That was David Butler, Britain’s ‘teledon’ and the originator of ‘psephology’, or the study of elections. The Greeks, who themselves invented elections, did so by depositing a pebble in the relevant jar, and a pebble to them was a ‘psephos’. Butler coined the term as a bit of a joke, and has had to explain it thousands of times since….

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Scrambled Eggs with a difference

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

Scrambled eggs is probably one of the worst-made dishes that people encounter as they grow up. (The worst of all for me when I was a student was something called ‘Brown Windsor Soup’.) Scrambled eggs is an institutional standby in schools, hospitals, the services, and of course hotels and boarding houses. And on buffets it may have been there for some time, leaking as the minutes go by. But it can be gorgeous, as well as most sustaining. Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking has one recipe for it, which is her own, and one for Piperade, which is a mixture of…

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Restaurants come, and they go…Eating out in Canberra over fifty years

By | Books, Food & Wine, History, Other | 18 Comments

From being an army-trained cook I became a foodie, combining eating out in restaurants with creating dinner parties at home. As a writer, who would write for anyone about almost anything, I started to write about the food I was eating. In the 1960s, in a Canberra of 45,000 people, there wasn’t much choice in restaurants, but nonetheless in 1967 Canberra Consumer decided to to do a book on Eating Out in Canberra, and asked the Canberra Wine and Food Club, of which I was the Foodmaster, to act as inspectors. In this Centenary year of our capital city, it is worth noting what…

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Salt is in the gun again: cooking without it

By | Food & Wine, Health, History, Other, Society | 4 Comments

The National Health and Medical Research Council has issued new guideliness on good eating, and it urges us all to reduce our salt levels. It said so ten years ago, too, but the advice is now stronger. We can’t do without salt, and it in ancient times it was a much traded substance. Sodium chloride is needed by the body in all sorts of ways. Too little of it, when you are under stress physically — in sport, for example — can lead to cramp. But too much salt is bad for you, too, because it can lead to high…

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A hell of a walk

By | Books, Environment, Food & Wine, History, Other, Society | 4 Comments

My time in the Army gave me something of a taste for long-distance marching, and in later life I became fond of bushwalking. Those who have done that know the sort of pleasure that comes from putting on one’s boots and adjusting ones pack at the start of the walk. What will the day bring? One is ready for it, whatever it is. The longest walk I have done in one day was about 34 km, across Barrington National Park, in New South Wales, and I was pretty tired at the end of it. Imagine then a six-week walk, covering…

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My Five Goddesses of the Kitchen

By | Books, Food & Wine, History, Society | 2 Comments

The growth of the Internet has caused me largely to dispense with my cooking books, of which I once had several hundred. The Internet is particularly useful if you have three ingredients, and can’t quite think what to do with them. It is also great if you want quickly to find the common ground about how to do something you’ve never done before, as with a standing rib roast a couple of nights ago. But I still keep my core books, Larousse, two Time-Life series from long ago, both of Marcella Hazan’s books on Italian cooking, and dozens of books that I bought for…

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