Portrait of a recipeWe are having a 1970s and Auguste Escoffier double this episode. Not only did the chef Escoffier invent the Peach Melba, which we featured for Debra Oswald's novel The Whole Bright Year, he was also the first chef to mention sauce a la Diane in 1907, which we are featuring here to celebrate Richard Glover's book The Land Before Avocado. The dish of Steak Diane derives from the myth of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, and hence its designated pairing with meat. Its modern incarnation is believed to have its genesis in the United States, and it was a very popular dish in restaurants in the 1970s.
Author Q&AABC talk-radio presenter and author of The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover, shares his thoughts on the 1970s with Word of Mouth TV. After incorporating extensive research and personal experience, he reminds us that the Australia of 50 years ago is not the great place that nostalgic, dewy-eyed boomers would have us believe: it was boring, insular, authoritarian and intolerant. Nor is our country going to the dogs; life has improved on nearly every metric. On the upside, he says going back in time offers a great opportunity to laugh at ourselves and to appreciate just how far we've come.
Sarah's reviewRichard Glover really knows how to pick his topics and The Land Before Avocado, set in the 1970s, is no exception. Despite being the land of plenty, Australians endured a myriad of deprivations, which Richard investigates with excruciating humour. The cars, the food, the fashion - they all left something to be desired. Yet the clumsiness of the period is reminiscent of any pubescent teenager, and The Land Before Avocado reminds us that the 1970s was a tipping point for Australia, the decade in which it graduated from small pants to big pants. A wonderful read.
Author Q&ADebra Oswald, creator of the TV series Offspring and author of The Whole Bright Year , shares her greatest inspirations and challenges as a writer, in a career that has brought her to the vibrant heart of Australian culture. For those of you who don't know, Debra's screen credits also include: Bananas in Pyjamas, Police Rescue, The Secret Life of Us, and various dramas for ABC TV Education. Debra also shares her passion for food. The Whole Bright Year is set on a peach farm in the 1970s, and she takes great pleasure skewering the hilarious food moments of the era.
Iconic literary food momentsIn honour of our super '70s episode, we decided to dedicate this moment in literary time to a poet who was actually writing during the period. Li-Young Lee is a Chinese American poet renowned for the zen-like simplicity and passion of his poems, a refreshing break from the angst of modern poetry, and he penned the most sublime poem about peaches, titled From Blossoms. Of course, our guest Debra Oswald's novel The Whole Bright Year is set on a peach farm in Australia in the 1970s, so it seems the perfect celebration. It is a poem so vivid in its evocation, it lingers in the memory, suspended in time. Enjoy!
Kate's reviewThe gorgeous title and cover of this novel are instantly enticing … and then I open the book and find a quote from Homer referencing my favourite Greek myth, the story of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, whose daughter Persephone is ravished away by Hades, the god of the underworld. At once I wonder if Debra Oswald plans to allude to the myth in a book that I know (thanks to the blurb) is set in Australia in 1976. I love books that drawn on myth and folklore in bold and unexpected ways, and so I settle in to read with a heightened sense of anticipation and interest.
We're living in the 70sThanks to Penguin Books and Harper Collins, Word of Mouth TV has a super 70s giveaway to celebrate the season finale with one of Australia's most talented literary couples, Debra Oswald and Richard Glover. Their books The Whole Bright Year and The Land Before Avocado will take those of us who remember it on a rollicking romp back in time to Australia in the 1970s - few better times to be. And for those so careless as to be born post-1980, they will take you to a place of wonder that defies belief - a foreign land. You know the drill! Don't forget the hashtags!
Join us for this fun and fab night with one of Australia's most talented and interesting literary couples, Debra Oswald and Richard Glover, as they share the backstories of their fantastic books: The Whole Bright Year and The Land Before Avocado. Both books were set in the 1970s and it was an absolute blast from the past as we ventured back into one of the most fun and fascinating eras in Australia's recent history. This season finale is a classic and very funny!! It was just a fantastic way to end the first season of Word of Mouth TV.