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

Slow Food and Outdoors Guide to Perth and Fremantle

Posted on July 29th, 2014

I’ve just come back from a jaunt over West. It was a quick one, but I got a very good feel for the scene there in just a few days. My bro’ Ben and I scouted the joint together.

xxxx

Riding the Kalamunda Circuit – possibly the best mountain bike trail I’ve done.

Perth and environs has some incredible produce and wine that fits to the “whole food”, locavore etc vibe. Interestingly, I’d say the city doesn’t really promote its paddock-to-plate wares as much as it could. Which, to be honest, is quite refreshing. The whole “local, hand-foraged basil leaf” palaver can wear a little thin after a while (isn’t a basil leaf just “picked”?).

As I say, I was there briefly, so my recommendations are limited. Thusly, I called on a few local hand-foraged “friends” to share their favourite spots, too.

Fremantle

* Bread In Common.  Even if you don’t eat bread, this place offers so, so much: slow-cooked options, locally sourced and house-made; communal tables; and a lovely heat coming off the big bread ovens where they make their very authentic sourdough (based on a mother culture that’s 25 years old). Check out the Bread In Common site. PS. Every full moon they have a long table communal dinner. Read more

What I eat on planes

Posted on July 24th, 2014

This is another one of those posts I do when the questions on a particular topic roll in too thick and fast for me to respond to on an individual basis. Every time I travel somewhere I cop this one: but what do you eat in the air?

Image via Favim.com

Image via Favim.com

I’ve covered off what I eat when I’m travelling, that is, what I eat in foreign countries when I don’t have access to a kitchen and familiar foods.

I’ve also touched on what I eat on the run, including toting my breakfast and lunch to work. But today we’re going to cover air travel in all its hyper-packaged, processed, over-salted glory.

I mostly don’t eat on domestic routes

On short flights I simply don’t eat. Honestly, all of us can survive 1-2 hours without food. Snacking is a confection of the food industry to get us eating more of their food. Up until the 1990s common wisdom was to eat three square meals a day. This is what our bodies are designed to do. They like to rest a good 4-5 hours between meals. But in the early 90s nutritionists modified this to the “5-6 small meals a day” prescription in response to their client’s crazy blood sugar issues (from eating too many sugars and cheap carbs).

My issue with snacking is also this: snack food is mostly crappy. And always so on planes.

Know this:

Because our sense of taste dilutes at altitude, plane food is jammed with extra flavourings and salt.

On international flights

On long flights, or if my transit and flying time is right on a meal time, I will generally pack my own food and eat it at the airport or mid-flight. This is what I do:

  • I use up veggies that will go off in the fridge while I’m away. I chop up red capsicum, beans, snow peas etc and put in a ziplock bag (these can be rinsed out, dried and rolled up taking up less room in my suitcase than a lunchbox). I tend to always have a wedge of avocado or cheese lying around. I put that in the bag, too (I always eat fat Read more