One Continuous Picnic: A gastronomic history of Australia
Melbourne University Press, $32.95 pb, 336 pp
For almost half of the twentieth century, train passengers travelling into Sydney from the western suburbs and beyond could observe a large sign, painted in drop-shadow lettering, on the vast blank brick wall of an industrial building facing the tracks between Redfern and Central. It carried the message: TEAGUE’S HAMBURGER ROLLS – WHAT YOU EAT TODAY, WALKS AND TALKS TOMORROW.
United in this remembered image are two of the many themes of One Continuous Picnic, Michael Symons’s landmark history of gastronomy in this country and of the Americanisation of Australian food. The latter began in the 1920s when Kellogg’s, Kraft, and Heinz established their beachheads in our grocery stores, roughly coinciding with Teague’s introduction of the newest thing in baked goods and a growing awareness that what we eat affects our health.