Five reasons to read Barbara Santich’s new book Bold Palates:Australia’s Gastronomic Heritage (Wakefield Press, 2012)
- For the insights: this is a fascinating look into Australia’s food culture and how it affects our identity, ‘from picnics and barbecues to lamb chops and lamingtons … this book contributes to a deeper understanding of Australian identity and its expression through the way we eat.’
- For the food: you name it, it’s here. Pumpkin scones, barbecued prawns, spag bol, tzatziki, beer… If you want to see an 1890s’ recipe for roast scrub turkey, a menu featuring quandong pie with wattleseed cream or wartime advertisements exhorting housewives to cook with lamb (‘the body building food’), you’ll find them here.
- For the photos: there are some gems, drawn from archives and libraries and family collections. Look out for the nuns around the barbecue, the nineteenth-century bush picnics with men wearing suits and ties, the CWA ladies ‘unpacking cakes for a cookery competition.’
- For the nostalgia: I loved the ’70s photos (Summer Wine, flares, eskies), but there’s something for everyone, from the Diamantina cocktail to iSnack 2.0
- For the breadth and depth of the research: this is a book that celebrates ‘all the librarians and all the libraries throughout Australia – without them this book would not have been possible.’