Food is essential to culture, and should never be reduced to a simple to-do list.
– Adam Liaw in The Guardian
I vacillate between thinking food blogging is a vacuous exercise, and just simply enjoying the doing and the reading of the digital communities formed by food blogging. Despite identifying as a writer, I’ve had trouble articulating why it is that I love food culture so much. Then last week I read this article by chef Adam Liaw and he succinctly articulated why food and food culture is essential to our well being, our selves, our histories and our communities.
But before you roll your eyes at every cook’s personal story, think of the alternative. Although recipes are transactional by their nature, they should never exist in isolation. Food is not a bare set of ingredients and instructions.
By removing the cultural framework from food, we lose the centuries of wisdom it contains. Throughout human civilisation, food has codified every aspect of culture: science, health, geography, economics, relationships, and even politics.
The Chinese philosopher Confucius considered food one of three foundations of a stable state, along with military might and the trust of the people. He also placed emphasis on feasts, and not just because he liked parties. The act of feasting gave people something to look forward to. It brought families together to prepare and enjoy the feast together. It encouraged cooperation, for farmers to build relationships with their neighbours. It stimulated economies, and united communities around common beliefs.
And reading that, I remember why food writing and reading and learning (and eating, obvs.) brings me such joy. Why it is so integral to who we are, as individuals and as a collective.
And on that note, here is a post that isn’t actually all about food!
When I first started this blog and had but the one child, and but the one job, I used to do a round-up of favourites at the end of each month. That fell away (as did regular posts) after a second child and a move back down south and work and uni and all the things that make up life encroached, as is their wont. But I’m going to try and reinstate favourites. As much for me as for you – as a way to remember what I do with these days that seem to go so slowly and so quickly all at once.
I’m taking a leaf out of Heidi’s ‘happenings‘ from Apples Under My Bed. Every so often she writes updates that use verbs as provocations – doing, hearing, watching, reading. I’m not going to be nearly as thorough as she is, but here goes…
– Tracy K. Smith’s latest collection of poems Wade in the Water
– Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend But The Mountains, award-winning and essential reading for any and every Australian that has voted in the past decade; this is what we’ve done to people seeking asylum
– P.G. Wodehouse’s Pigs Have Wings for some light relief
– ‘This, Too, Was History’ is a brutal and well-written piece of journalism about police torture in Chicago, reparations and how what we teach our kids is history in the making
– This is hardly a new article, but I am crazy for anything and everything about high alpine mountaineering and this piece by veteran journalist Jon Krakauer about the after-effects of the ice avalanche on Everest in 2014 is a chilling (see what I did there?!) read
– Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer’s unsettling, beautifully-wrought novel that was made into a movie last year
– This and this (obvs.)
– A kale/preserved lemon/cauliflower/tahini dish that is all kinds of awesome and that I do intend to photograph and pop up here some time soon – maybe next week?
– Um, these Nutella, Sea Salt and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are BEYOND
– Dreaming about luscious beetroot swirls of this
– The gelato from here is the bomb, and conveniently it’s walking distance from our place!
– S and I had a home date last weekend and we ate this simple & delicious Cacio e Pepe, accompanied by a rocket salad and a glass of wine, and this gorgeous Glissade Chocolate Pudding from 101 Cookbooks for dessert (we added fresh raspberries with the cream and it was all kinds of lovely
We bought a record player a couple of weeks ago and thus far we have four thrift-store records:
– the Hair soundtrack (!)
– Dean Martin classics
– Antonio Carlos Jobim
– a jazz compilation
So basically these, on repeat.
Travel. Perpetually planning everything from short camping trips next week to years-long overseas holidays years from now. Travel has always been one of my life’s loves, and the planning is half the excitement.
– A lot of swimming and running around at the park with the kids, tiring out our energetic small ones and making the most of the beautiful warm days – no longer the excruciating heat of mid-summer but still hot enough for no sleeves and icy poles.
– Settling the kids back into school and kinder – missing summer holidays already but enjoying the routine again, somewhat.
– Writing – not just for work, but on some personal creative projects that I’ve been meaning to do for ages (literally, some of these projects have notes dating back to 2015).
– Lying in the hammock watching the
bats flying foxes fly overhead at night as the sky turns all shades of lilac and peach and egg-yolk yellows.
– Attempting to reinvigorate my Instagram feed and give it a little visual consistency. Check it here.
Pictures are from a berry picking trip we took over the holidays!