Welcome to Winter – it’s been a beautiful sunny day, albeit a bit chilly this morning, but I can deal with it if the sun is out – it’s the overcast, grey windy and rainy days that are more challenging. I’ve started taking vitamin D on top of vitamin C and also had a flu shot a couple of months ago as a number of people I know have started coming down with the dreaded lurgy! It’s the first year I’ve also had my kids immunised – apparently suffering from hay fever makes you more predisposed to the flu so I’m not taking any risks this year. Besides gastro, I reckon the flu is a close second in terms of worst communicable illnesses.
On to nicer things – the Darebin Home Made Food & Wine Festival is currently on and if, as you’ve grown older like me, your preference is for simple food, then you may be interested in some of the events that have been taking place this past week. Melbourne has become such a multicultural city and food is a unifying force – there’s nothing better than trying a new cuisine for the first time.
Speaking of Darebin, you may be interested in Writing This Place project – ten local writers who’ve written works inspired by ten places in Darebin. It’s lovely to see that Sian Prior has chosen the Bundoora Homestead and Art Centre.
My next Bold Thinking Series lecture on Cyber Security is taking place on 21 June at one of our partner venues – the National Gallery of Victoria and it’s exciting to see that pieces from New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) are coming to Melbourne over the Winter, for MoMA at NGV while MoMA gets a refurbishment. There’s nothing like a blockbuster exhibition to visit during the colder months of the year.
If you’re a fan of Pop and Scott, their warehouse sample sale in Northcote is taking place this weekend – retailers seem to have gone on sale early this year probably due to the unseasonally warm Autumn we’ve had. I’ve been eyeing off some chunky winter knits (above) – some more modern versions are being done by Revel Knitwear and I love Mr Mittens. It’s times like these I wish I could knit!
It’s the name of my next lecture that asks how can we age without getting older? It’s an interesting premise but given the fact that many of us will live to an advanced age, there are many repercussions to think about. Joining La Trobe ageing specialists Professor Irene Blackberry and Dr Rachel Winterton will be ‘Older & Bolder’ author, writer and community activist Renata Singer – wife of ethicist Peter Singer and an interesting person in her own right. She is one of the co-founders of social enterprise Fitted for Work (although no longer involved) and spends half her year in Melbourne and the other half in New York.
Speaking of interesting enterprises, I watched the news about the Melbourne Coffee Co. last night with their idea of potentially turning our old W-class trams into cafes for export. It’s such a clever, original and sustainable idea for these iconic trams that were originally built in the 1920s and now no longer in service and I hope it becomes a reality.
I spent my Mother’s Day at Hunter Lane Cafe yesterday which was packed out with multiple breakfast, brunch and lunch sittings. The owner Dennis was interviewed last week on ABC radio about the Rosanna Level Crossing so it’s been an action packed week for him. I still feel quite ambivalent about the crossing and the need for it given the great cost and inconvenience but time will tell.
I’ve started hauling out my winter clothes and heavier quilts and blankets with the cold snap we’ve had. I bought some Apiary Made beeswax liners not that long ago and have been using these instead of plastic wrap in the kitchen. My clever cousin Beck from Fabric Drawer has done one of their designs and they’re great for wrapping cheese in particular. I also now carry a glass straw in my handbag and have camp cutlery in my drawer as I’m wanting to reduce my use of single use plastics and was pleased to see that Woolworths are phasing out plastic bags by mid-year.
While it’s not quite dumpling weather yet given the lengthy warm, sunny days, I have been eating dumplings at various places including my local favourite Golden Dragon Palace in Templestowe which has consistently good yum cha – I always book the last sitting at 1.30pm so it doesn’t feel as rushed.
My current work colleagues (pictured above) also love dumplings and we regularly visit the Polaris Dumpling Kitchen whenever we feel like a bit of comfort food including last Thursday when we were celebrating a colleague’s birthday. They’re pretty basic and so is the service but if you’re wanting something quick and easy – it’s a good go to place.
If you’re ever on campus at La Trobe University in The Agora you’ll find a great dumpling cafe upstairs (take the external stair case up from the Commonwealth Bank) where they make their own dumplings right in front of you as well as do a fantastic Hainanese chicken rice – great on a colder day. Again, they’re even more basic (order at the counter and take your number with you) but the food is great.
When I left my veganism lecture last Wednesday night, panelists Mo Wyse and Matt Ruby as well as some of their young friends were trying to work out where to go and I overheard ShanDong Mama in Bourke Street being mentioned, who apparently do vegan dumplings. Most Asian restaurants do vegetarian dumplings of some kind but it was the first time I’d heard about somewhere doing vegan ones.
I’ve nearly finalised my lecture topics for the second half year of the Bold Thinking Series keeping in mind the need to appeal to young people so that’s been an interesting exercise and I’m looking forward to locking them in and nabbing some relevant external speakers to complement our academics.
Perhaps I will next week and by then it will be a third of the year done and dusted! It’s flying by for me and I’m sure if you’re local, you’re looking forward to the roads being less fraught and construction completed although I daresay this will continue to be a work in progress given the slow rate at which infrastructure is going up around the place.
I had my sold out veganism lecture at The Sofitel on Wednesday night for over 300 people – while the format is generally the same – it’s a different experience every time we move to a new venue and this one wasn’t without its hiccups with last minute access to wifi, trialling of Facebook Live with limited success and the just in time arrival of panelist Dr Joanna McMillan who got there 5 minutes before we had to start. Sometimes you need nerves of steel working in events and as much as I have a crack team working for me, there are always surprises.
It was indeed a bold conversation with some left wing animal rights protestors in the audience who called out during the lecture about the fact that bobby calves are taken away from their mothers as part of the milking process. While the discussion was more about diet and identity, it was hard not to be drawn into the ethics of eating meat. Both Joanna McMillan and Richard Cornish grew up on farms as children so had different perspectives about being carnivores (or omnivores). Practising vegans Dr Matthew Ruby and Mo Wyse also brought interesting elements to the table (excuse the pun) with Mo talking about food at her Fitzroy restaurant, Smith & Daughters, being all about the taste in terms of persuading people to eat more plants rather than appealing to their sense of ethics. Mo also brought some street credibility to the whole night as a customer facing business owner, who was also a lot of fun!
For me the biggest take out of the night was that only 7% of Australians eat enough plant food and irrespective of whether you eat meat or not, we all need to be eating more fruit, vegetables and grains as evidenced by those who live in blue zones like Greece or Japan where locals are some of the longest living people in the world. I think for those who choose to eat meat and seafood, it’s also incumbent upon us to know how our meat has been farmed, how it’s treated and where it comes from. And rather than setting up division between vegans and non-vegans, it’s better to find the middle ground given global concerns about unsustainable population growth and feeding the planet.
The Ivanhoe Makers Market at the Livingstone Centre in Ivanhoe is on tomorrow as well as Markit and Bake on Sunday at Fed Square in the city. Anzac Day is also upon us next week and locally, you may be interested in attending the Homefront public art launch and unveiling of four new sculptures at the Greensborough War Memorial Park on Sunday.
The Thornbury Picture House movie theatre and bar has just opened in the north and I’m so excited there is another place to go around here. I love that there is a bar attached for those who may just want a drink and it will be a great addition to the area with Palace Westgarth not far away in Northcote. I also went to the Palace Balwyn cinema not that long ago and it was also good to see that that cinema has also been renovated with a new bar area in keeping with the whole Art Deco feel. The Spanish Film Festival at Palace Cinemas starts on 17 April if you’re a fan of all things Latino.
Mother’s Day is also upon us next month and I have already made a family booking at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna which is running a number of sittings from 7.30 am – 1 pm in the afternoon. Be quick if you want to book as they were already running out of room for larger groups. Apparently tradies and spectators have replaced the usual punters at the cafe with the Rosanna Level Crossing almost complete and it is an official viewing station.
Speaking of food, I’m gearing up for my lecture next Wednesday night on the rise of veganism – we’re at over 300 people and I am expecting the lecture to sell out so again, book your tickets now if you want to come along! I’ve got a number of friends and family who are going and it was also interesting to see Smith & Daughters listed in Broadsheet as one of the vegetarian restaurants to visit in Melbourne – I did a quick count and realised I’d been to 7 places on the list so maybe I’m a vegetarian in waiting. Have a great weekend!
Australian furniture designer Grant Featherston produced some pretty remarkable pieces in the 1950s if you are lucky enough to have any originals at home. Featherston by aficionado Geoff Isaac was published over a year ago after Isaac crowd funded on Kickstarter and I’ve also seen copies of the book for sale at Andrew’s Bookshop in Ivanhoe.
Featherston’s wife Mary is actually giving a free talk at the Ivanhoe Uniting Church next Tuesday night at 8pm, brought to us by the Heidelberg Historical Society and if I didn’t have such a packed calendar this month, I would be going to this.
I’ve not been reading anything non-work related but had seen this book Enlightenment Now by Steve Pinker recommended by Readings and it’s on my list as well as social researcher Hugh McKay‘s new book, which I believe is going to be called The Good Society.
I’ve been busy this week promoting my next Bold Thinking Series lecture on veganism, which is highly topical at the moment and as someone who works more behind the scenes, I’ve got a lot of respect for public speakers and broadcast journalists. While preparation is key, the ability to think on your feet and then eloquently make a meaningful statement that can be easily followed is another skill. Speaking of which, I did want to share the Banyule Women in Business 2018 Highlights video link where you’ll see a snippet of me speaking but some other women who I think did a better job of preparing themselves and working out what they wanted to say. Oh well Miss Rosanna, next time!
…and indeed it will be. Details for my food lecture – Diet and Identity: the rise of Veganism – are now online if you’re interested in booking a ticket to this event on Wednesday 18 April at the Sofitel. I have a number of friends and family who are vegan, and while I’ve always considered it at the more extreme end of the diet spectrum, as someone who tries to eat more vegetarian food these days, I can definitely understand why people choose vegan for ethical reasons.