Jill Dupleix recently wrote an article in The Age newspaper about food biographies. The idea being that you pick ten foods that have had real meaning for you at different periods in your life and write them in chronological order. Someone else who looks at these foods can gain an understanding of your life and the influences on it.
I thought it was a great idea and so here is my food biography listed from when I was youngest to now.
1. Smoked cod, mashed potatoes and tomato & onions
My favourite meal when I was tiny. I have very vivid memories of eating this meal by candle light during an electricity black out (we had a gas stove). I probably haven’t had smoked cod in almost 30 years!
My primary school had a large number of Greek-Australian students. Every school fete, all the Greek mothers made yummy Greek sweets. Baklava is now part of my cultural heritage even though I have no Greek roots.
3. Pritikin food
My mother went on a multiyear Pritikin binge during my tween and early teen years. Blah. It was bland. I need cream, butter, olive oil and full-fat cheese to function properly (just like some people need coffee).
4. Brie cheese
I am a cheese fiend. I need to restrict myself or else I just eat and eat and eat it and then I, um, go up dress sizes and that’s not good. I thought a while before choosing the cheese to represent me. But I think brie was my first love. That yummy gooey cheesiness can’t be beaten.
5. Cheese Cake
Decadent and the perfect food for meet ups in coffee shops and cafes during my university days
6. Vegetarian Lasagna
I became vegetarian at 8 (well ethically, it was a bit hard on my poor mother so I still ate meat a couple of times a week under great personal and private sufferance) and stayed that way until my late twenties. My adaptation of Kurma Dasa’s vegetarian lasagna was my go to recipe during my twenties. Guaranteed to be loved by vegetarians and omnivores alike.
7. Thai food
In the late 80s and 90s Thai food took Australia by storm and my love affair with Thai cuisine began.
7. Sweet Chilli Sauce
There was a time in Australia when sweet chilli sauce went on just about everything. Hot chips with sweet chilli sauce, there was a dip made with cream cheese and sweet chilli drizzled over the top, sweet chilli as a dipping sauce, sweet chilli with sausages instead of tomato sauce. Just about everything. Those days have gone but I still love my sweet chilli sauce.
8. Fish Tacos
I lived in California during part of my 20s and there (and on trips to Mexico) I discovered REAL Mexican food. Light healthy and tasty. Not the overly cheesy Tex-Mex variety that we mostly get in restaurants in Australia. Now that I’m back in my home country I try subtly educating Australians to the joys of real Mexican food via fish tacos. They would have to be about the perfect food.
I come from a family of big natural yoghurt eaters. On cereal, for lunch, instead of cream, mixed with honey or jam, in cakes…. And in the last couple of years I’ve taken to making my own. I chose yoghurt to represent my “make your own” adventure.
10. Beef and Guinness Pie
In the last few years I have started coming back to my British roots after years and years of eating mostly Indian, Italian and South-East Asian food at home. Beef and Guinness Pie is the dish that best represents what is good and hearty about a cuisine that I have spent most of life dismissing as stodgy and tasteless.
What is your food biography?