I’ve been having the wrong conversation about feminism

Posted on August 29th, 2014

When I first started writing opinion columns for newspapers – about 16 years ago, for the Herald Sun in Melbourne, sharing a page with The Human Bolt (Andrew)  – I idolised the writing of Zoe Williams and studied her prose to grow my own style.

Image via hellogiggles.com

Image via hellogiggles.com

She wrote a smart column for the Guardian on Saturdays called “Things you only know if you’re not at work”. It chronicled the minutiae of the banal of our small existence. But her slant was entirely captivating.

Zoe still writes for the Guardian. Yesterday’s column “The genius of Kate Bush in an age of Subjugation” is particularly gold. I’d love you to read it. It’s a review of Bush’s sold-out concert. She finds herself comparing the sublime experience with her conflicted thoughts about contemporary female music artists, which she often tries to analyse through a feminist lens. “(Kate) is what music sounds like when it’s the authentic creation of its author, and there are no strings being pulled by marketing guys,” she writes.

Williams realises she’s been wasting her time with the very fatiguing questioning – as a wizened old third-waver – of whether Beyonce’s lyrics are anti-feminist or Miley’s antics are destructive to the sisterhood (or are they reflective of what feminists fought for – freedom to express what you want?).

She concludes that the more important issue is that the mass marketing of culture has meant we lose the creative contributions of people like Kate Bush.

I want to add to this.

I feel that this mass, commercial approach means we’ve stopped wanting or expecting or craving what I think is a very female contribution to life – the female insight and voice.

To me, this is free and slightly wild and maybe slightly mad at times and loose and geared at digging under layers, Read more

How to dine (blissfully) on your own

Posted on August 27th, 2014

I was prompted to jot down some thoughts on this subject when I recently found myself once again causing a stir among those around me for there I was, a 40-year-old woman in a restaurant very happily dining on her own. Oh, the sideways glances!

If I lived I'm #Killcare I'd be getting down to @bells_at_killcare for locals night... $45, two courses, #local #biodynamic wine . Ps thank you to this whole snapper that has sustained me tonight #respectyourfood

Dinner for one at Bells at Killcare recently: a meal like I mean it (snapper), a modified side and a glass of red.

I was up at Bells at Killcare, a little over an hour north of Sydney having a “Think Week”, or more accurately a “Writing Three Days”. It’s something I do when I start on one of my books (which I’ve just done). It’s an indulgence, but it does the job – I go somewhere where I can have an early morning exercise explosion, be in beautiful sunny surrounds and have food covered*.

So there I was dining solo, in a full dining room of couples and… more couples. I’m so undeterred by this seemingly renegade culinary situation that it’s not until I get the glances that I realize many folk just don’t find it as blissful as I do. I genuinely love it; I find it nourishing and opening and I think I’ve felt most “me” at such times I find myself sitting in a bustling restaurant or café with a glass of wine and a full meal and my thoughts.

For those who are not so sure how it all works, here’s how I do it:

  • Sit at the bar. Or somewhere with high traffic and your back against a wall. Good feng shui.
  • To this end, reflect upon the fact that some of life’s most erudite philosophers came up with their most poignant utterances dining in restaurants and cafes alone, their backs against walls to be able to purvey life.
  • Have a glass of wine. Red is good for getting into the right reflective frame of mind.
  • Order like you mean it. A proper meal. Not just the salad. You are here to nourish (after years of living alone, I do the same at home…I never resort to a tin of tuna on a rice cake!).
  • Befriend a waiter. I’ve learned more about humanity from my chats at bars with waiters than anywhere else. There’s Read more

Beet and Turmeric Kvass Tonic

Posted on August 26th, 2014

You read it first here: The next chapter in my health explorations is the microbiome. Yep, I’m all about healing the gut right now. I’ll touch on this in more detail shortly; meantime I’m just working on recipes that get my gut gunning with gas (or without it, as preferred case may be). Kvass is one such ammunition in my holster.

Beet xxx, recipe below

My Beet and Turmeric Kvass tonic, recipe below

A traditional Ukrainian drink, beet kvass is fermented with Lactobacillus bacteria and is a pink probiotic powerhouse punch with a slightly rustic, earthy flavour. As my gutsiest guru Sally Fallon says:

One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”

She also says that beet kvass is widely used in cancer therapy in Europe and in the treatment of chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, allergies and digestive problems.

I’ve added turmeric, because I recently read that turmeric needs to be fermented for the full benefits of this little root to be experienced. If you can’t find turmeric, simply make it with straight beetroot.

Beetroot and Turmeric Kvass

  • 2 large beetroots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
  • 10 cm turmeric scrubbed or peeled (depending on how rough and gritty the skin is), chopped Read more