ME AND MY BIG MOUTH
Food and other obsessions, by Jan O'Connell

In bookshops now

150 years of Australian food history

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’s available in bookstores and online now.

On the nose

What's that I can smell in the fridge?

This column was written back in the noughties when we lived in Bungendore. It was planned for the fourth issue of Regional Food Magazine – the truffle issue. Sadly, the magazine folded and it never happened. Also sadly, there are rarely truffles in our fridge these days.

Dinner at Al's

Revisiting memories in Rome

Our first visit to Hostaria al 31 (fondly dubbed Al’s) was in 1990, the second in 2001. And when we visited again in October 2018, we found that very little had changed over nearly three decades.

The other Italy

Getting warmer in Puglia

Maybe it was the weather, maybe the food, maybe the laid-back feeling – or maybe it was just because we’d never been there before. But we fell in love with Puglia – madly, deeply and…ahem…trulli.

Higher ground

Food with a view in Spello

Picture a hillside town, where mediaeval stone overlays Roman marble. Where streets are often staircases and every archway frames a landscape worthy of an artist’s brush. This is Spello.

La Rossa, la Dotta, la Grassa

The many faces of Bologna

The red, the learned and the fat – Bologna has many epithets. It was the “la grassa” part that we were most interested in, but the city had more than good food to offer.

A guilty pleasure

In Venice, we're part of the problem.

The tourist hordes are both supporting and killing Venice and the locals are leaving. But it’s still a magical place to visit.

Time to tango  

When afternoon tea went Latin

In March 1914 The Herald reported on a new phenomenon at the Paris Café in Melbourne’s Collins Street, writing that for the past three or four weeks “Tango Suppers” had been in vogue and the idea was to be extended to the Paris Café’s Afternoon Tea Assemblies.

The clubs with no beer

Melbourne's 1950s nightclubs

As the 1960s approached, the city that is now renowned for its night life was dull indeed – and not just on Sundays. Nightclubs came – and went – discouraged by Victoria’s draconian liquor laws and the Licensing Squad that enforced them.

A taste of home

From The Big Issue 2018

An overview of Australian food history, written for the food issue of The Big Issue in April 2018. From megafauna to mutton to MasterChef, Australian food has evolved for millennia. But perhaps the most dramatic change has been in the last 70 years.

A Career in an Advertising Agency

Australian Association of Advertising Agencies c. 1954

In 1963, at a careers night at school, I received this informative brochure telling boys everything they needed to know about working in advertising. On Page 21 was a section called Opportunities for Girls.

All you can eat

The $23 Chinese smorgasbord in Portland

Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be visiting the Canton Palace again, despite the attraction of the $23 “all you can eat” Chinese Smorgasboard [sic].

Previous page Next page