The week that was (16 March 2017)

- In devastating news for our food media landscape Lucky Peach have announced they will be closing both their mag and their website. May 1 is the date they’ve put on the site, with the last regular mag due out then (the theme is “Suburbs”), followed by a double, bumper issue planned to farewell the mag. I love Lucky Peach, I love all the incredible articles, the historical and cultural explorations, the tongue-in-cheek humour, the essays and long form articles, the whacky illustrations. Critically acclaimed, I am certainly not the only one thinking this is pure culinary journalistic excellence. It's a serious loss for our industry and a worry for the future of food journalism. It can’t all be click bait, listicles and insta posts. It just can't.
- Let's celebrate lovely writing, like the beautiful thoughts of Paulette Whitney (for GT). In her column this month (not online) she visited producers Erika Watson and Hayden Druce who have just bought property in the Blue Mountains. I love the way this woman sees the world: “They can now invest in permanent fences, enjoy the luxury of the morning commute being done on foot across a paddock, and plant trees and stay to watch them grow.” To stay and watch them grow, such a lovely idea. Her article also talked of Sepia’s low plastic ethic – everything they get delivered is instantly transferred to kitchen trays, avoiding plastic waste. This is also a lovely idea.
- We recently talked take-away cups, which got me thinking about what makes a good recycler – and voila, an article answers. I was fascinated to know how a recycling plant works. Some things you can do to help: remove bottle tops and lids, wash out tins and containers where possible, no plastic bags (derr), no ropes, no hoses (seriously?? God knows why people would think hoses are appropriate for the recycling bin?).
- In more frivolous news, the SMH created a culinary field dictionary for 2017. I wanted to hate it and accidentally relaxed and had a chuckle. On the other hand, if you want eye-rolling fodder, read Jill on the future of food (according to London-based Future Laboratory), it’s all things flexitarian, instagramafication and adaptogenics. No, none of those things should be things.
- Instead, I am for a return to the simpler things, the true pleasures of the table. I have been having the best time following around Giorgio and Pasi on their That’s Amore adventure – the conversations these two are having each week to build their menu is unlike anything I’ve been privy to before. Sometimes they start with the wine, sometimes it's an ingredient, a herb or a culinary concept, but it always ends in a creating a symbiotic relationship between the two. It's very beautiful and thoughtful - I am trying to capture some of this on Insta.*  
- Mike Bennie recently explored this idea (in Men’s Style, sadly no link) by talking to a few chefs about wine’s place at the table. I was intrigued by Moyle's suggestion that bottle matching could be the way of the future, and also by Duncan pegging wine as a seasoning for his food - as important as salt and pepper. Bennie concludes: "Chefs at the top of their game understand their pantry should match their cellar, and that local, organic, small farm on a menu supported by a wine and drinks list that's weighted with industrial, large scale wines is completely counterintuitive." I agree - and believe this plays both ways - those who want to bang on about their natural cellar should be sure it's matching their pantry too.
- If you want to read more, try this article on treating wine as food in The NY Times “… the food revolution that has vastly improved both the quality of what we eat and the pleasure we take in it. Yet when it comes to wine, many who care deeply about their food are still drinking the equivalent of the square tomato.”
- I loved this story of nonnas in the kitchen at Enoteca Maria, a Staten Island restaurant where the chefs are actually nonnas from all over the world. What a delight this is. Eating nonna's food is the best. For me, cooking like nonna is the end game ...
- And while we’re on nonna’s, when they stop cooking for us of course we should start cooking for them. Maggie Beer’s leading the charge here, with her work around Australia to improve food in health care facilities. Her tips are simple and applicable to us all: fresh veg, no boosters, no marge, no low-fat, no preservatives, no processed, plant a herb garden. The bookends to these ideals feed into The Eden Alternative – it appears to be a version of Stephanie's Kitchen Gardens for the elderly. We should all pay attention and get behind this, we are not getting any younger …