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Showing posts from March, 2020

Cannery Go: teaching the twenty-first century world to eat out of a tin.

I started this blog in 2003 to record recipes, mostly ones that I had 'improvised' to put it mildly. The URL was ironic , because I was not a great cook. I'm OK now, can get around most recipes. I still don't like show-off, look-at-me recipes or meals, and I have never watched a reality cooking show on TV, and I'm not going to start now. However I did watch cooking shows produced by people who incorporated some kind of geographical context in their shows such as Mildura's Stefano di Pieri. A couple of the British chefs were good such as the straightforward Delia Smith and Scot Nick Nairn, while Antonio Carluccio's show was one of my weekly favourites. But the best cooking show of all time, in my opinion, was Two Fat Ladies . Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson said what they thought and didn't give a toss what anyone else thought. Refreshing, entertaining and mature. Anyone wanting a look into a more freewheeling era with fewer cultural or ver

Another kind of crown.

And so we wind back the clock, past the GFC, the Y2K non-bug, the '87 crash, that '70s stagflation thing, the early '60s credit crunch, post-war austerity, two world wars with a depression in the middle, and a Boer war; and we crash land on page 245 of Martin Boyd’s The Cardboard Crown , where we find ourselves in the middle of the 1890s depression which, as always, followed a boom. Arthur is giving a party to welcome his relative Alice back from England. He notes: Nobody talked of anything but the financial crisis. Later, Alice, whose diary is the basis for the novel, records: '31 December. Dimanche. ... Went with Austin to the new cathedral. I do not like it ... hard, striped and confused ... No repose for the eye anywhere. They should whitewash it and hang up some good tapestries as at Arles. It needs softening. Sermon on the financial difficulty and trouble of this past year.' Then the narrator: As she listened to this financial sermon in the new striped cath

The Jargon Virus.

The big autumn wet (most March rain since 1929 – and that fell in the first few days) ended and a longer period of warm sunny days came in. I went to bed, the smell of new cut grass and lavender stealing in the open window and the long stems of the rose bushes – almost up to the eaves – tapping against the house in the night air. The night was mild and I pushed down one blanket. It must have been well after midnight when I woke. I pulled up the other blanket. Near dawn, I woke again. This time I was cold, so I got out of bed and put on a warm top. In the morning I dressed warmer than the temperature – 26 celsius – warranted. I felt like I wasn't there. I felt weak. The day passed in a kind of surreal light as if I was watching it but not in it. That night was cooler but this time, towards morning, I threw the blankets off. I wasn't cold any more. I was hot. I sweated. That day I stayed home. The doctor had two questions: - Have you been overseas? - No. Not ever. -

The Paper Chase.

I read John Wyndham's science fiction novels in 1972 across the long mild winter in the wooden building that housed Four Gold. The library had purchased new Penguin copies with newly designed covers combining clean negative images over 1970s-style fluoro backgrounds and now, decades later, I looked for them again for the boys, who are now the age I was then. I ordered new copies from Pictures and Pages. The publisher is still Penguin, but the cover art is new, each book themed with effete-looking (SOED def. 3) youths with pale faces, doe eyes and sensitive lips. One has a bird sitting on his head ( The Midwich Cuckoos ), one lichen growing on his face ( Trouble with Lichen ) and one sits in a deck chair on the seabed ( The Kraken Wakes ). What on earth was the publisher's brief to the cover artist? While I'm on the subject, the print and paper quality of these books is appalling. The type almost bleeds into the rough paper, on which you can see flecks of darker fibre, w