The week that was (21 October 2016)

- On Wednesday night, Gourmet Traveller celebrated 50 years in the game with a whole lot of tequila. Pat and Neil made some just for the occasion. This is no mean feat - did you know it takes seven years for one piña to ripen? That’s only enough to make two or three bottles. 
Their special edition mag (out next week) looks at the 50 most influential people in food, with lots of fabulous and familiar faces (i.e. not dominated by “celebrity chefs”) on their eclectic list. The list includes: Joost Bakker (environmental activist/florist), Sarah Doyle (front-of-house extraordinaire/restaurateur), Bruce Pascoe (through his work spotlighting indigenous agriculture and thus exposing the myth of terra nullius), Giorgio de Maria (all things natural wines), Maggie Beer (her work on food in aged care is so important), Ronni Kahn (always fighting waste), Maurice Terzini (redefining all the things, all the time), Jock Zonfrillo (he has experiments and ferments using native ingredients that go way back), Richard Gunner (killing the providore game). From the snapshot I have seen it’s a pretty interesting bunch.
There were also the 50 dishes that define Australian cuisine, an age-old question with no resounding answer. It included: Sixpenny’s potatoes with oyster and raw mushrooms, Kylie’s saltbush cakes, Bennelong’s yabby pikelets, the bottarga/pretzel business at 10 Willy, stracchiatella at Embla, a blood sausage sanga at Ester, the anchovy with its bones at Provenance and those croissants at Lune. It would be a delightful list to inform your dining decisions over the coming months.
Finally, they take us through the key players over the decades and invite us to “Meet Generation Next. Smart, passionate, bold, they’re forging their own paths and reshaping the Australian dining landscape.” It’s a list of eight: Ben Devlin (Paper Daisy), Josh Lewis (Fleet), Mat Lindsay (Ester), David Moyle(Franklin), Daniel Pepperell (Hubert), Daniel Puskas (Sixpenny), Aaron Turner (Igni) and Duncan Welgemoed (Africola). So, there is no question our dining landscape is in good hands – individually and collectively their food is excellent. It was also good to see a future that is spread across both towns and cities (half of those restaurants are not big city). But why, oh why, are there only penises on our horizon?
- Joanna Savill collated an excellent list of her favourite food memoirs: Rulhman, Slater, Bourdain, Hamilton, David, de Neefe, Reichl, Dunlop, Bilson, Buford, Steingarten and Gray, If you are looking for a book for bed, look no further. Do start with ED.
Port Douglas musings:

(1) There's a a furious perfume of fermenting fish in the streets right now, more prominent at night. It was kind of like holidaying in an amphora of garum. Turns out it's a local tree that produces the odour to encourage bats to eat the fruit - I think it's the Great Morinda, but would love to know if you know.

(2) The mud crabs are currently shedding their carapace (which means sadly they were not on my plate). This moulting is said to occur around the full moon, which also means, much to my nephew’s dismay, the fish were not biting - instead feasting on the defenceless crabs. 

But those not being eaten are getting laid. Prior to moulting the female, if up for it, will release a hormone to attract the male, if he feels likewise he will court her by carrying her around for a few days (waiting for the moulting to occur), this is followed by a day of action and then three days where he protects her (by sitting on her) allowing the shell to grow over her eggs. Nifty. If you haven’t seen a crab shedding its shell, today is your lucky day.

(3) If you want to cool down, eat a cucumber. Due to their high water content, the inside of a cucumber is actually, literally cooler than room temperature. I have long loved that idea. Read many other incredible thoughts about cucumbers by our very clever friend Miss O Tama here.