Hello, I’m Charmaine O’Brien and I write this blog for people who like to think about food, as well as take pleasure in cooking and eating it. Our fundamental need to eat for survival, and, once this necessity has been satisfied, our use of food as a status symbol have shaped our world. The development of agriculture settled us and led to a vast increase in the human population; the desire for luxurious spices in the middle ages drove significant advances in marine technology that ultimately resulted in European colonisation in the Asia Pacific region; and the production, consumption and disposal of food plays a significant role in shaping our modern environment and our waistlines. For all these reasons and more I find food endlessly fascinating. I have written several books [link to books on this] on food culture and history and I am currently researching and writing a book about food in colonial Australia.
My culinary explorations via books, travel, cookery practice and sharing meals have provided me with an extraordinary education, and many friendships cemented through broad ranging culinary conversation. I enjoy thinking and writing more deeply and widely about food beyond reviews of the latest fashionable restaurant, celebrity chefs and product and gadget fads (although these can all be fun and are history in the making) and hope I can engage you in this by sharing my knowledge and thoughts on this blog. Posts meander over various topics both historical and contemporary: to try and make these easily accessible I file the posts into several categories.
Meat and three veg
Posts in this category are largely historical, but are often linked to contemporary food trends and issues, and focus on food in colonial Australian and my efforts to take a more nuanced look at our often derided Anglo-Celtic culinary heritage. I also share my practical experiences reproducing recipes from nineteenth century cookbooks.
Posts in this category feature comment on food in contemporary advertising, television, film and other popular culture.
Posts in this category are about my attempts to educate myself to eat like a ‘lady’—and lots more besides—using nineteenth century etiquette manuals to guide me. I believe that the way we eat is as important as what we eat and this experiment is an attempt to find a graceful and creative way out of my own ‘disordered’ eating habits (you will have to read the posts for the back story on this one).