Richard Glover is an Australian talk radio presenter, journalist and author of The Land Before Avocado and Flesh Wounds. He is best known as presenter of the drive program on 702 ABC Sydney.
Tell us a little about your book.
My new book, The Land Before Avocado, is an anti-nostalgia book about the Australia of the late 60s and early 70s. That period had its good points, but the Australia of the time was also boring, insular, authoritarian and a tough place to live if you were ‘different’ in any way. By travelling back to that time and capturing its oddities, I think we can appreciate how far we’ve come – and feel good about all that’s been achieved, as well as having a good laugh at ourselves.
What inspired you to write it?
There’s a real pessimism around today – from people both young and old – as if the country is “going to the dogs” and life is much worse than it used to be. I thought it might be useful to remind people of the realities of this longed-for golden past. Be careful what you wish for …
Does food and cooking feature much in your book?
Yes, there’s a chapter on food early on; and then the 70s dinner party towards the end.
What was your most joyous moment and your most difficult challenge?
I had great fun preparing an authentic 70s dinner party for a couple of 20-something friends – and watching their expressions as they attempted to politely eat the food. I had some tough times at the NSW State Archives reading through the divorce cases from the early 70s, a time in which people still had to prove to the judge they had a right to separate. The misery of the time rises from the pages like a bleak mist.
What is your favourite cookbook? Why?
Miss Australia Cookbook, from which I sourced some of the dishes for my 70s dinner party.