‘Teaser’ for the Second Symposium of Australian Gastronomy July 2018
For the first years of my life in Australia, I felt that the food I had grown up on was very much out of place. It was the 1960s and I was a ten-year old Sri Lankan living in Sydney and then in Singleton in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales.
It wasn’t only that the spices that my palate craved were virtually impossible to get unless smuggled in by some third cousin twice removed in a packet that had invariably leaked staining forever the carefully packed white shirts ready for the first job interview. It wasn’t that the vegetables that formed what is still my strongest childhood taste memory – mung beans, manioc, fresh grated coconut at a Sunday breakfast more spiritually nourishing than my First Communion – were not available in the nascent supermarkets of lower north shore Sydney or rural New South Wales.