Food and other obsessions,
by Jan O'Connell
  • Eating what’s good for you

    Every time you open the newspaper (or, more accurately, the online version thereof) you find a new pronouncement on what’s bad for you. Or, occasionally, good for you.

  • Down the hatch

    Today, Australians are drinking less alcohol, fewer soft drinks and less fruit juice. We’re increasingly turning away from cow’s milk to non-dairy alternatives. We’re drinking more water, coconut water and iced tea. And sports drinks are still going strong.

  • The great Penguin Ice Cream mystery

    Last week I had a note from Mick Ainsworth who had happened across this old advertising sign and wanted to know whether I could supply any more information about the Penguin brand.

  • Camp pie

    Is Camp Pie truly Australian? The Oxford dictionary says so, defining it as: (Australian, history) tinned meat. And it certainly has a long (if not glorious) history in this country. But its origins probably lie in the Old Country.

  • Reward Custard Powder

    I had a note from Dennis, who was trying to track down the origins of an old brand of custard powder. It’s certainly not as famous as Foster Clark’s. My guess is that it was packed for a grocery chain called Lakins.

  • Heard the one about the Irish Strawberry?

    The Irish Strawberry Tree, is native to Mediterranean regions like Portugal and Spain, where it’s called the Madroño tree. However, pollen from the plant dating back to 4000BC has been found in Irish bogs and a native population is also found in those chilly northern climes.

  • The vital ingredient

    There are, what, 20,000 or so items in your average supermarket? Yet, each time you shop, maybe 40 different items end up in your trolley. Who buys all that other stuff?

  • Out, damned sprout.

    When I was a child, Brussels sprouts were one of the few foods I wasn’t made to eat. And they’ve been voted Britain’s most hated vegetable. It turns out, food preferences (and phobias) start with the breast.

  • Refrigerate After Opening

    The Refrigerate After Opening column was published in the first edition of Regional Food magazine in winter 2005. It initiated a series of musings about the way we eat, drink and shop.