I think I’ve stretched enough…

by | Aug 23, 2011 | food

So for a while now I have made food a huge part of my life. Some call it a passion, others whisper obsession… I think it’s more of a socially accepted addiction.

Much like others, I can remember the first time I realised I had a problem. Sure, I’d noticed that I ate on a daily basis, but it was only when I joined thousands around the Australia, raising money for the needy, in a selfless moment of teenage altruism, that a mere 6 hours into my first and only “40-hour famine” I realized I was an addict. And I have been dealing with it ever since.

Many years ago in an attempt to justify, or perhaps disguise my addiction, I made it work for me, or possibly more accurately, I worked for it. Hospitality fed me throughout my university life, as I hop-scotched my way through many versions of food and drink disposals: pizza joints, upper-middle class suburban bistros, student cafes, chic bars, the omnipresent tex-mex, and 24-hour casino eateries. I have worked my way around the various formations of what globally feeds those who won’t feed themselves. But throughout this whole career, I never succeed in seducing (or working for) one of my life long loves: McDonald’s. My unrequited relationship with the golden arches will always represent hope and regret, neatly wrapped up in a perfect happy meal.

So, towards the end of my hospitality careers, in an attempt to put all those moments of “I could do this better” which I had had into action, a mate and I decided to open a tidy little restaurant. And so we did. At the time we could both had been described as foodies, coffee wankers, pretentious gits, or perhaps just young and good looking, and so our restaurant reflected these qualities. The place tried to push a few boundaries, which back then in Brisbane it was not hard to do. Brisbane’s restaurant scene was little more than an expanding food court: a carvery, fast-food in every shape and size, a couple (at most) of worldly options so assimilated, they made the white-Australia policy seem positively open minded; and the obligatory Coffee Club. (For non Queenslanders, The Coffee Club is to coffee what Nickelback is to music…) So, putting ingredients like saganaki, israeli couscous, kangaroo or chermoula on the menu was seen as risky and challenging, or dare I say it, unAustralian. Mind you, like many other restaurants, in times of trouble, insecurity or discomfort, one could always utter the safe-words… “I’ll have the chicken, thanks.”

After leaving hospitality I moved to Melbourne and joined the many behind a desk. I ate out at some of the city’s best and ordered aplenty. I made the most of what living in Australia’s culinary capital has to offer: a combination of multiculturalism, amazing produce, and an exploding cultural desire to prop food up to the realms traditionally reserved for war heroes, film stars and sports-folk. But now, driven either by my contrary nature or my fiscal conservatism, I am moving further and further away from this world, and now struggle to justify or even enjoy all that jazzed-up grub.

So, I thought, in order to better understand my views on food, and my relationships with it, (I use the plural because I also have issues with commitment, and most dishes I’ve had would not have made it past a first date), I would start this and see where it goes. At this stage, I only have a vague idea of where that might be… There might be some introspection and autobiographical over-sharing, the occasional rant, reviews and praise for various places which I frequent; along with opinions on how either I, society, or the government, should challenge the status quo… There might be some research, or fiction based on something I wish had happened. But overall, it will be an exercise in embracing my online persona, which for so long I have kept conservatively quite, repressed and case sensitive.

I also hope not to get too hurt in the process.