Good Reading : May 2008
14 good reading ı MAY 2008 Ileft home at eighteen and joined The Australian Women’s Weekly magazine as a cadet (trainee) journalist, following in the footsteps of my parents. I lived in a group house in trendy Paddington, and the five friends I shared with were either students or unemployed. I was the only one with a paying job ($29.75 a week) and even though my flatmates threw money into the food kitty, I was the one who ended up doing most of the shopping and cooking, on a very tight budget. We were saved by the magazine’s test kitchen. Every afternoon I would go down to the studio where the recipes were being tried out and see what was on offer. For 15 – 20 cents I could pick up a large container of beef stew or casserole, a tuna and rice dish or even a pie or quiche (quite an avant garde recipe in those days). Sometimes the food was pretty ghastly – failed recipes that would never appear on the magazine pages. But we ate it anyway, grateful for cheap food that had been prepared by somebody else! One evening I was invited to a dinner party at the home of a work colleague. She served spaghetti bolognaise which I had never even heard of, let alone eaten – beef mince in our house was used only to make meatloaf, savoury mince or shepherd’s pie. Spaghetti without the toast – how quaint! My friend must have done her research properly because she served the pasta and rich sauce with a side salad, crusty bread and grated Parmesan cheese. I took one sniff of the cheese and recoiled – it was revolting.The cheese we ate in those days was a simple, rather bland cheddar and it took years before my palate adjusted to the more exotic and flavoursome cheeses imported from the northern hemisphere. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the popular cuisine was kitsch. While the inspiring works of the English food writer Elizabeth David had filtered through to the more sophisticated and well travelled ‘foodies’, with cookbooks written by the likes of Graham Kerr and Robert Carrier, the rest of the population followed recipes in bestselling cookbooks that were advocating lashings of tinned pineapple and sliced beetroot.To say the food was colourful is an understatement. In recent years I have scoured second- hand shops in search of some of the ookbooks from that unfortunate era MARY MOODY says that the cooking of food to share has always been for her an act of love. Her beautiful new book The Long Table, which is part-memoir, part-cookbook takes us on a sensory journey through her childhood, her marriage and family, to her life and adventures in France, and finally settling in to her farmhouse in Bathurst. cooking the books for the love of Raising the family was the busiest and happiest time of my life. FOOD Mary Moody at 18. Mum and I at Balmoral beach.