Professor Barbara Santich, founder of the Graduate program in Food Studies at the University  Of Adelaide.
Professor Barbara Santich, founder of the Graduate program in Food Studies at the University Of Adelaide.

If you have an appetite and a zest for life then read on…

The promo blurb to DINING ALONE describe the collection thus, “Dining Alone was written by creative writing students at the University of Adelaide from 2007 to 2013; young and old, aggressive and reflective, wistful and resolute, some content in their cloak of solitude while others envy the love and laughter at other tables. The stories are poignant and surprising, sometimes with a hint of mystery or political intrigue; some have bittersweet endings while others celebrate brave new beginnings.”

The collection  has been edited by Professor Barbara Santich.  The students stories are journeys with food as well as being journeys of self discovery which satisfy, soothe and feed the soul’s cravings as well.

Professor Santich has been teaching food writing at the University since 2007. An internationally respected culinary historian, she also teaches food history and culture.

Before turning to the students stories I have my own anecdote on the subject to relate. Making a spontaneous decision to try a recently opened, local Indian establishment I was greeted by an incredulous waiter who asked why I was by myself. She promptly provided and plied me with a plethora of pappadums and I ate my lonesome meal hastily.

One could literally eat one’s way through this book. The culinary and gastronomic descriptions are so mouth watering.

There are quite a few literary samples  to taste and devour.  These were my two favourites:-

The Lights in Paris by Jennifer Bailey is about a woman who brings her reluctant partner to Paris. “The dark cherries had been  soaked in a liqueur she couldn’t place, that was mildly humming in the background of her tastebuds. And the cream left a sheen of smooth fat shining on her lips as she took the last bite.”

An Attentive Waiter by Danya Blinksy is yet another highlight about a foreigner in India. “Cauliflower florets bathe in turmeric, paneer cheese is dressed in spinach and the dainty fingers of okra have been fried. Mango chutney and coconut pickle are served in spoon-sized dollops on a banana leaf…The steamed idli are soft cushions that soak the spice-laden liquid into their deep pored skin…What begins as a chilli tingle on her tongue fiercely numbs her mouth. A milk pudding sprinkled with cashews and raisins douses the fire.”

DINING ALONE offers small bites of the cherry and leaves one hankering for more. Hopefully there will be another collection soon.

There’s a lot to savour so do yourself a flavour and purchase a copy of DINING ALONE. The book has been published by and is available from Wakefield Press.


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