Jan O'Connell
Jan O'Connell

Waiting for Snow

Christmas in Hampstead, 1976

On Christmas Eve, Katty and I made gingerbread. It was going to snow, she said. It was going to snow for Christmas and for her father, and he was going to push her toboggan from the top of the hill.

Australian food heroes

From a talk for the Hawthorn Historical Society

On 21 October I spoke to the Hawthorn Historical Society about some of the characters who have helped shape Australian food history. Food manufacturers, café proprietors, writers – and a totally fictional woman.

The mystery of musk

An Aussie favourite Americans don’t get

Bloggers from elsewhere express incredulity at Australians’ taste for musk Life Savers, musk sticks or any confectionery flavoured with a substance that used to be derived from the nether portions of a deer (in fact, the word musk originated from Sanskrit muská meaning ‘testicle’).

Doomed to drink?

Trezise hotels and the Cornish heritage

By Tre, Ros, Car, Lan, Pol and Pen
Ye may know most Cornishmen.
I was born a Trezise – a Cornish name through and through, and one that seems to have cropped up regularly in the history of Victoria’s licensed premises.

Mastering the pasty

My Cornish family tradition

Saturday mornings during my childhood saw a Cornish pasty production line, with my grandmother chopping the potatoes and the onions while she kept a sharp eye on her daughter-in-law, my mother, who was making the pastry.

New book coming soon

In bookstores December

A Timeline of Australian Food:Mutton to Masterchef chronicles 150 years of Australian food, beginning with the first Australian cookbook in the 1860s and ending in 2010 with the game-changing cooking show, MasterChef. It will be in bookstores in December 2017.

My food memoir

Stories from life before pizza

Me and My Big Mouth is a personal account of how Australian food has changed in the baby-boomers’ lifetime. It’s the story of a generation that can remember life before pizza – a generation that has seen the demise of the local grocer and, decades later, the resurrection of the small local deli.

The Milk Dock, Markets and Banana Alley

Another side of Flinders Street Station

At the opposite end of Flinders Street Station from the famous clocks and dome, you’ll find evidence of the station’s commercial past. Including the Milk Dock – the distribution point for much of our milk supply in the early 20th century.

The Paris House

Sydney in the Belle Epoque

Opened in 1890 in Phillip Street, The Paris House was the premier restaurant of Sydney’s ‘Belle Epoque’. Later run by Gaston Lievain, from Lille, it offered a ground-floor bistro, a top floor sponsored by the Moet champagne house and private dining rooms where lovers could meet, The expression “As dumb as a Paris House waiter” was testament to the staff’s discretion.

Turning 60 in Paris

And being 60 in Italy

I was turning 60 and my objective was to be as far away as possible from anyone I knew. This led to five amazing days in Paris and further culinary adventures in Umbria.

The Yoplait story

How I wrote myself a trip to Paris

In 1982, when the French were still testing atomic bombs in the Pacific, launching a product with a French name could have been problematic. But research groups gave the go-ahead, so we were off to Paris to shoot the commercial that changed the Australian yoghurt market forever.

Has it come to this?

Frog in a Pond just ain’t what it used to be

Frog in a Pond has been an Australian favourite for decades. But the DIY version (spotted in the bistro at the Barooga Sports Club, aka Sporties) just doesn’t pass muster.

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