Warranwood, Victoria, Australia, September 22, 2014—
IN GENERAL I seem to have developed two modes of dining: at home, where our diet is relatively simple and certainly consistent, as you will have noticed; and away, where we visit an immoderate number of restaurants and eat, on the whole, very well. Even the restaurant dining is consistent, for the most part: we lean toward a Mediterranean cuisine, even when traveling in the Netherlands.
Currrently, though, I'm in Australia, visiting and staying with my Australian brother and his family. He married a Melbourne girl decades ago; they have four grown daughters and a passel of grandchildren; they live in a relaxed country-style suburb; their lives center on family, community, and school — a Rudolf Steiner school, but that's another story. I raise the points of this last sentence simply because it pertains to my present diet.
I arrived with a system somewhat out of sorts: it's a long flight; airplane food is filling but I think not particularly nourishing; the time was out of joint. It's seven hours earlier here, and a day later: this puts my digestive apparatus into shock mode. So I was happy that we ate lightly that night, Thursday night: Fred, the French-born son-in-law, brought sushi he'd made; Mel, my sister-in-law, contributed a casserole of chorizo and garbanzos. That was a nice idea, as it recalled the trip Cook and I had made a year and a half ago, driving through Spain and Portugal for a month with this brother and his wife, a bonding trip I've savored often since, and regretted not writing about…
FRIDAY NIGHT Mel roasted a chicken, flavoring it with herbs from her garden and serving it with buttered spinach.
Saturday was soup day: for lunch, a thick minestrone Mel had begun the night before; for dinner, a delicious spring soup, clerar broth with leeks, carrot, and cubes of delicious local salmon. It was a daughter's birthday, so we ended with cake…
Which brings me to yesterday, another day of modest dining at home: a good thick lentil dal, garnished with tomato-cucumber concasée and yoghurt and taken with pappadums.
My breakfasts here have been exactly like those at home: coffee and bread. The coffee is taken mostly black, though; and I dress my toast with a little olive oil and salt -- bread, oil, and salt makes a good component of my lunches, too. Green salads now and then. A piece of fruit from time to time. Local wine, on the simple side. Lots of conversation.