As the 11th Symposium of Australian Gastronomy convenes in Australia’s second oldest city, Hobart we are reminded that it was home to Edward Abbott, the Aristologist. Abbott was the author of Australia’s first cook book and his life and writing are part of a rich food history.
Today Hobart is capital of Australia’s bountiful cool temperate region where salmon is farmed, saffron cultivated, cheeses created, truffle cultivation is nascent and cool climate wines with a genuine appellation are produced.
Against this backdrop, in the final years of the millennium and with a republic imminent, we can look forward and backward. Do we now live any better than Edward Abbott? ‘Living standards’ have continued to rise yet our tables are less gracious. What was so special about Van Diemen’s Land in 1864 that such an unrivalled treatise on the good life could emerge?
How should we pursue happiness in Australia in the new century? Is there a position in any constitution or bill of rights for a gastronomic statement? Do we merely make an indulgent response to food and drink or can we become a cultivated nation? How can we persuade Australians to take Brillat-Savarin’s Aphorism III more seriously?
The venues, the wine, and the food will enhance these themes, being redolent of the past but speaking to the future.
Scott Minervini convenor
Anne Ripper secretary/registrar
Peter Althaus, Robin Black, Anne Bright, Stephen Bryan, Sue Dyson, Mike Jones, John Levett, Liz McLeod, Roger McShane, Graeme Phillips, Karen Pridham, Michele Round, Kathryn Wakefield, Mary Walker
‘The destiny of nations depends on how they eat’
Brillat Savarin Aphorism 111