Eight Days (4 July 2018)

- Fool Magazine have issue number 7 readying to hit newsstands/your post box. The theme is politics, the line-up is epic, the magazine will be too. Get yours here.
- There’s a good story in Eater about the work of Malena Martínez (Virgilio's sister) in Peru. “Native communities get smaller because they see Western life as progress. The older generations have the knowledge and wisdom of their culture, but are the only ones who keep speaking their language. It’s very sad to see cultures disappear, but we think that through food we can change that.”

I agree. We need that here too. It made me think of Richard Flanagan’s Press Club address: “It is, after all, extraordinary, and beyond a disgrace that there is in the 21st century no museum telling that extraordinary story, so that all Australians might know it, so that the world might share in it, and so that we might learn something of the struggle and achievement, the culture and unique civilisations that were and are Indigenous Australia … And yet if we were to have the courage and largeness to acknowledge as a nation both truths about our past, we would discover a third truth, an extraordinary and liberating truth for our future, about who we are and where we might go.”
- The Rockpool Group have hit the papers for wages. It would be hard to suggest they are Robinson Crusoe on that front. (I would welcome any thoughts on this.) There is no question we must work to change wages and hours in the industry, this, in part, surely comes down to getting people to spend more for the food on their plate. Our problem with that may just be the desire for people to add up the ingredients on the plate, mistakenly seeing that as the cost. Good luck turning that into a good news story ... 
Postcards (lessons from a month in Pantelleria):
I have learnt how strong the right place feels, that pull when you, when your body, is in a place it belongs. On Pantelleria, I feel relaxed, different, like time doesn’t exist (in the local dialect that is a literal truth, the Pantesco have no future tense). Selfishly, it feels like all the beauty on the island has been created – some by hand, some by nature – just for my eyes and my enjoyment.
I have learnt that not all youth feel the need to leave a small place; that the magnetism of this island extends to the natives. Like the right grape in the right vineyard, the people here are so entwined in the terroir that even if they chose to leave they always return.
I have learnt that while the wind can berate you, but it can also caress you. I see that the Pantesco are not driven mad by the incessant winds, but rather shaped by it just as it is with their stout olive trees, the fruit trees cowering behind volcanic stone walls and the capers clinging to the rock crevices. Is it habit? Or a part of their psyche, shaped, like the land they live on, by the wind that sweeps over them every day? I, too, have learnt the magic of those winds, the way they touch all of you at once: your legs, your hair, your neck. Apart from swimming in the ocean, what else is there that touches you so completely?
I have also learnt that people can be perfectly happy with a very small amount. Their happiness doesn’t come from money or fame, but a feeling of completeness with the land on which they belong. Is that the ultimate idea of terroir?
I have learnt that women can be welcoming to a foreigner (not always my experience in France, but then again perhaps I am older and a little less of a threat!). In fact, everyone welcomed me, but the women surprise me most: warm, comfortable and totally at peace with themselves.
I have watched men with a relaxed physical affection for each other. They use their hands voraciously when they talk, but this extends beyond emphasis, to touching each other when they talk, but also when they have nothing to say. 
I have learnt that food should have a sense of place and, when it does, you can put three or four ingredients on a plate and create a feast: octopus with celery, potatoes and olive oil; eggplant in a rich tomato sauce with breadcrumbs and grated ricotta; grilled zucchini served drowning in olive oil and fresh mint. That when fish aren’t swimming in the ocean they should be swimming in olive oil and the juices of tomatoes, olives and capers.
I’ve learnt that I love the music of other people dining. That a delicious dinner is delightfully consumed alone – but that I am not alone – I have the sound of other people dining, the taste of the food and the words in my notebook to keep me company.
I have learnt that old is only as old as you feel. Every day I watch the 70-year-old jellyfish hunter and his beautiful wife scale the cliff to my swimming hole. I have also watched their love and admiration for each other. Maybe that keeps them young?
I have learnt that community keeps you young, too. That activities, going out on the town, having an ice cream at midnight – that keeps you young. That the town and its nightlife should be a shared space for all generations. Our towns are not designed this way …