Christopher Menz reviews 'The English and Australian Cookery Book' by Edward Abbott

Christopher Menz

Given the deluge of cookery books and unrelenting television programs, it is hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t a single Australian cookery book. This year marks the sesquicentenary of the first: The English and Australian Cookery Book, a volume published anonymously in London, and compiled by ‘An Australian Aristologist’, Edward Abbott. Abbott (1 ... More

Christopher Menz reviews two new Australian baking titles

Christopher Menz

The Australian sweet tooth and ongoing love of cakes and desserts is evident in two recent publications. Both cover the basics as well as offering more ambitious fare; they are good places to start if this is your thing.

Phillippa Grogan’s eponymous pâtisserie in Melbourne, established in 1994, offers the type of baked goods presented in this publication: ... More

Gay Bilson reviews 'The Bloomsbury Cookbook'

Gay Bilson

In the first volume of Virginia Woolf’s diary (1915–19), an entry in June 1919 mentions England’s possibly ruined strawberry crop. ‘This is a serious matter for us as we have just bought 60 lbs. of sugar, & had arranged a great jam making. Strawberries are 2/ a lb. at this moment. Asparagus 6d & 7d, & yesterday at Ray’s I ate my first green pea ... More

Christopher Menz visits 'The Agrarian Kitchen'

Christopher Menz

Two quite different books from two very different chefs illustrate some major trends in cookery writing and publishing in Australia. One is by a city chef who runs a restaurant, and the other by a country chef who runs a cookery school.

... More

Gay Bilson reviews 'One Soufflé at a Time'

Gay Bilson

Not everyone’s father sends his daughter a brace of pheasants while she is studying economics at Cambridge. With a choice of two gas rings on which to cook them, Anne Willan eviscerated and plucked the birds, then used one gas ring to cook a pheasant casserole and the other to make a caramel custard that she ‘steamed over a galvanised tin laundry bucket’. She ... More

Gay Bilson reviews 'Cooked'

Gay Bilson

If Michael Pollan were a terminal illness, I’d be in the fourth stage of grieving. He has had a brilliant and successful run until now, producing seven books in just over twenty years, taking up a university teaching position (yes, food-related), writing long articles, mostly for the New York Times, and all the while cooking and thinking his way to se ... More

Gay Bilson reviews 'The Art of the Restaurateur'

Gay Bilson
‘Hello, my name is Tony. I’m your waiter, and I’ll be dining with you tonight.’

One subspecies of cartoon in the New Yorker addresses the balance of power between diners and waiters. The caption above, from a cartoon by P.C. Vey, accompanies a drawing of a bemused couple holding menus, and looking at a waiter who is s ... More

Christopher Menz reviews 'Michel Roux: The Collection'

Christopher Menz

Here are two welcome additions to a long list of cookery publications in Australia promoting Gallic cuisine. French or French-style cookery in this country has come a long way since Ted Moloney and Deke Coleman’s charming but slight Oh, for a French Wife! was published by Ure Smith in 1952. Both Michel Roux: The Collection and Diane Holuigue’ ... More

Sally Burton on 'The Remarkable Life of Julia Child'

Sally Burton

One day as I was reviewing this book in London, I happened to turn on the television, only to discover that BBC One now features three hours of cooking programs on Saturday mornings – very appropriate when one is reading a biography of the woman who changed American eating habits. When you are not watching the likes of Michel Roux demonstrating how quickly he can ... More

Christopher Menz reviews 'My Umbrian Kitchen'

Christopher Menz

My Umbrian Kitchen – part memoir, part recipe book – reflects the Umbrian-Australian life of its author, Italian-born Patrizia Simone, who, with her husband, opened her first restaurant in Bright in north-eastern Victoria twenty-six years ago. This publication draws on her wealth of experience in the kitchen, decades of cooking, and the rich culi ... More

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