Teresa Oates and Angela Villella: Mangia! Mangia!; and Nouha Taouk: Whispers from a Lebanese Kitchen

Tutti a tavola

Christopher Menz


Cookery books by immigrants or their descendants on the food of their homelands form a rich sub-genre of migration literature. Several books have been published in recent decades that celebrate the food of Greek, French, Chinese, and German immigrants. Clearly, old food habits die hard. Even when other aspects of an immigrant’s culture have long been abandoned – language, mores, dress – culinary tastes often endure. I well remember meals in 1970s Adelaide with Lachsschinken, Mettwurst, Heringssalat, Pumpernickel, and rye bread, all a remnant of my father’s German ancestry. Nothing unusual about that, except that his great-grandparents had settled in Adelaide in 1849. Even though they assimilated quickly, their descendants retained their taste for German tucker. On the other hand, the food they made and sold for a living – in 1850 my great-great-grandmother established a store that became a large biscuit and confectionery business – was firmly allied to the Anglo food tastes of their customers (though some of their manufacturing equipment was indeed German).

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Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz is a former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia (2005–10) and in 2011–12 was Acting Director of The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne. Prior to these roles, he held curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the National Gallery of Victoria, specialising in decorative arts. He has published extensively on the decorative arts, notably the design work of William Morris, and is a regular contributor to ABR.

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