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.
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.
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’).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How Australia’s first Prime Minister missed his train after stopping for a tot of whisky; how the mobile catering unit nearly caused a train wreck; and other stories from the history of Australia’s Railway Refreshment Rooms.
I was working on an ad campaign for a client’s new building, Sky Plaza. So I consulted an online thesaurus looking for “words associated with sky”. The words on the screen sang to me. Some line breaks and a little punctuation turned them into a poem.