Books about food, and what I think about them.

See also: review of Dan Barber’s The Third Plate  



John Newton, The Oldest Foods on Earth: A History of Australian Native Foods with Recipes

John Newton’s long-standing interest in cuisine and culture has resulted in several awards and numerous publications, and has now extended to a PhD. This book presents some of his research into the provocative question of why Europeans in Australia have largely ignored native food sources.

‘The oldest foods on Earth’, according to Newton, are ‘the unique flora and fauna that nourished the Aboriginal peoples of this land for over 50 000 years.’ With some 6000 edible plants in Australia, even harsh environments like the Western Desert offer 150 different foods seasonally throughout the year. READ MORE.


Margaret Pomeranz and Philippa Whitfield Pomeranz, Let’s Eat: A Cookbook Celebrating Film, Food and Family

Film critic Margaret Pomeranz appeared on SBS and the ABC for almost 30 years, the longevity of the shows largely due to the dynamic between herself and co-critic David Stratton. She bounced off Stratton’s more restrained, dignified persona, appearing by contrast warm, delightfully silly, volatile, with her trademark earrings and her gorgeous hiccupping laugh.

Given her screen personality, Pomeranz appears as someone who would be a fantastic dining companion, and this book, written in collaboration with daughter-in-law Philippa (Pip) Whitfield Pomeranz, confirms that any invitation from them would be worth accepting.  READ MORE.


Luke Barr, Provence, 1970: MFK Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard and the Reinvention of American Taste

Do not expect one of those ‘running away to Provence’ books.

Yes, this non-fiction work is set largely in southern France, but it doesn’t recount some lucky person’s triumphant renovation of a crumbling Provençal house. Instead, it traces a number of shared meals and often tetchy interactions among a group of privileged, mostly American, members of the food fraternity. Or, as author Luke Barr describes them, ‘the seminal figures of modern American cooking’. READ MORE.