It’s been 981 days since my last post. Did you miss me? I didn’t think so.
This is the last post from farfromfamished and then it will be no more.
I love words and the construction of them to evoke the imagery in a readers’ head, but social platforms, like Instagram, proliferate and an overabundance of pictures have replaced the narrative. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all, and a thousand words… at least my thousand word-essays, took a lot of time. Time to write, time to refine and refine some more. Time that I have not had for a few years now.
So, how does this end? The simplest out would have been to fire out a review of Scott Pickett’s latest, Matilda 159. I’ve been there three times in the last month (go there, please. You won’t regret it). But instead, it’s time to start playing Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance’ in your head whilst you read on. This last post is farfromfamished’s eulogy and my homage to my food journey thus far, that has largely lived on through this blog.
This blog was born eight years ago; nearly to this day and this technically makes my blog my middle child, as Matilda, my youngest came along in October 2010. As I look through the reviews over the years, many of the places are long gone – some bring a pang of longingness for their revival; places like Josie Bones (best chicken skin ever), the short lived Little Hunter and Papa Goose, which has only recently closed.
In July 2011, I stumbled across a guy in his first restaurant as Chef Proprietor. It was called Estelle. I loved the kitschness of it; the retro pink and grey tiles, complete with matching crockery, the bar made from a ten-pin bowling lane and some scruffy looking dude that came across as a little bit mischievous, but it was all seriousness when he stood at the pass in chef’s whites with jeans. The food was sublime, but more so, this chef’s genuine caring for us as new customers on the night established what would become a seven-year fascination with Scott’s journey and ongoing success, many meals at Scott’s restaurants and perhaps a small man-crush too.
Another Estelle review led to me documenting my first culinary experiment and extending the repertoire of farfromfamished from just restaurant reviews; I made Duck Prosciutto.
The next month, in August, was my first deep dive into the world of truffles, ramblings about pho and throwbacks to recipes from my childhood. My little blog was slowly taking off and gaining some readership. I was also meeting some wonderful and inspiring sages along the way. People like Suzanne (Essjay) and Ed Charles, who were instrumental in creating some very memorable grass-roots food events in and around Melbourne, through their Fringe Food Festival. Folks like these were old hat at food writing and intimately knew the Melbourne cooking fraternity.
Thanks to interstate work trips, I was also venturing out and reviewing places in Brisbane (Malt) and Sydney, eating at Four in Hand and 4Fourteen, when Colin Fassnidge, aside from being a master at cooking pigs, was better known for his witty repertoire on Twitter than his now regular spot as judge and mentor on MKR.
This little blog kept me sane through divorce and satiated my needs to be creative through words and food. It kept me close to the Melbourne food scene and drove me to conquer new techniques. I can happily and confidently cure my own meats, cook via sous vide and my baking is a lot better. Culinary trepidation and impatience when things do not go right has been replaced with confidence and persistence.
Cooking and writing made me feel good. A brief relationship with someone, that sadly ventured out of my life through circumstance just as quickly as they became a part of it, was the catalyst for my favourite and one of my more poignant posts. The post itself was a tribute to this person and aside from the cooking I shared with them that had challenged me (see: raw prawns), it also reinforced the distinctive human connection through food; people, sharing, memories. Thank you, CEJ.
It was the untimely and unfortunate death of Anthony Bourdain that got me thinking again about my blog. Bourdain, the bon vivant and bard was the sole catalyst that turned my like into a love, an interest into an attraction and he did it through his words.
A small digression… in August 2000, a month-long trip across Western and Eastern Europe evolved into a five-month backpacking journey that continued east until we found ourselves back in Australia. This journey opened my mind in many ways; so much so that I am sure it has been crucial to shape the me that writes this today. And whilst I didn’t think about it at the time, food was a commonality and core to the fabric of the families we met and throughout the communities – it was core to culture. Nearly half a life later, the details may have become a little more hazy, but I can still remember that afternoon where we sat in a Turkish family’s living room, on their dirt floor, sharing their lunch of a tomato and meat stew, the biggest piece of bread I’ve ever seen and chunks of fresh peppers.
Fast forward to early 2001 and when I first read Kitchen Confidential. This guy got it. This guy transported me to his places with his food experiences that had shaped him. I was hooked. His books and TV shows combined my love of food and travel, with a prose that made it addictive viewing. It was made for me.
Sadly, his passing didn’t resurrect the spark of going back to find the time to express my food experiences through my words on this blog, but it did make me decide that like all good things, they should come to a definitive end.
A three-year hiatus could have simply continued. Several people over the years have asked why I stopped posting. I don’t eat out as often, but when I do, my brain kicks in about what I’d write. Sadly, I don’t have the four, maybe six or so hours, nor the inclination to follow through. And I forget to take the ubiquitous and bad iPhone photos. I still cook a lot and I always will. I even reference my own posts if I forget the intricacies of loved recipes; Hainanese Chicken and rice, bao buns and the ratios of ingredients for the batter in my okonomiyaki recipe.
We have now come to the end. To those known and unknown that have fuelled and fostered my passion; my hobby, my relaxation, I thank you all sincerely.