Iconic literary food momentsTo celebrate Richard Glover's book, The Land Before Avocado, set in Australia in the 1970s, we have opted for another modern author, Sylvia Plath, as the subject of our iconic literary food moment. Plath never experienced the 1970s, having committed suicide in 1963, not long after she published her novel The Bell Jar. But it is a fairly safe bet that she would have found the prospects for women in the 1970s just as dreary as for women in the 1950s and 1960s. As Richard stresses in his book, we have come a long way.
Portrait of a recipeWe chose to kick off our 1970s menu with Richard Glover and Debra Oswald with a prawn avocado and fennel cocktail, because it was the universal starter at restaurants around the world during the decade. Its popularity proved its downfall and these days it is considered incredibly retro, despite being a wonderful, classic dish. It tastes best served with champagne, so of course we found it irresistible. According to the website loveFood, it owes its origins to a California miner, although this is hotly disputed.
Recommended readsPrepare to take your seats (or beds) whatever the case may be as we have a slew of recommendations for our season finale. Richard Glover kicks off with You Daughters of Freedom by Clare Wright, a momumental history of the suffragist movement. Both Kate and Sarah are strong feminists, so it was right up our alley. Usually, we just run the publisher's blurb but to celebrate the finale, Kate has reviewed both Richard's and Debra Oswald's suggestions. Enjoy!
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.
Portrait of a recipeGiven Debra Oswald's novel The Whole Bright Year is set on a peach farm in Australia, and given Dame Nellie Melba was such an Australian icon, we settled on a Peach Melba Eton mess as our dessert. After all, what could be more peachy, or Australian, than a Peach Melba, right? As it turns out, the Peach Melba was actually invented by a French chef in the 1890s named Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, in honour of Australia's great soprano; and Eton mess, is a traditional English dessert - but there was a method to our madness!
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.