The week that was (6 August 2015)

From the soapbox:

- The 25 best bars were also celebrated in the SMH. It’s an interesting list as they are all small, and generally places you can snack. This is such an important change to our food culture. I have long believed our “yob” problem, that of alcohol related violence, is more cultural cringe than a culture of consumption. If you look at the French, who on average drink 50% more than us, they still have one of the lowest rates of alcohol related violence in Europe (this also rings true across different states in Australia depending on their drinking laws and habits … unsurprisingly Melbourne had it right). I wrote an article on this topic for the Oz a few years back. More small bars with small kitchens please.

-  I have so much more interest in someone’s bookshelf than I do their medicine cabinet ... Lethlean put together a list of the favourite cookbooks of some great chefs and writers. It's a worthy read. I particularly enjoyed the cross-overs among chefs and find the go-to cookbooks for a particular genre so intriguing. Cooking Thai? Thompson. Cooking Mexican? Diana Kennedy. Researching an ingredient? Davidson's Oxford Companion. Middle East? Ottolenghi. Italian? Marcella. Loved it.
PrimeSafe, Victoria’s meat licensing authority, are doing their best to put the kibosh on dry-ageing. Anything over 21 days is an issue for them and by this account, their procedures are making it nigh on impossible for small butchers to operate. They sound like a bunch of thugs. Lock up your eggs and your dry-aged beef ladies and gents, the inspectors are coming.

- Huckstep rants about “eternal dissatisfaction” as the curse of the creative for FoodService this month. “Every night as I pull the Venetian blinds over my eyes, the what-could-be’s of future endeavours pop around my cranium like corn kernels at high heat. Butter and salt come at breakfast.” It’s a great read.  

- I feel the need to add a tiny rant myself about the Produce Awards last week. I think it was cruel to limit the invitations to one person per nominated producer. No farm operates as a one man/woman band. The more I have heard about it (and think about those left to have a beer at the Opera Bar while everyone else sipped Champagne upstairs) the more upset I become. The Produce Awards is a wonderful event and is without question hugely important, but at its core, it's about the producers. If you can’t fit them all in, dump the fancy-restaurant-that-just-opened and find somewhere you can.