Tonight I skipped French class to go to the launch of Matthew Evans’ book, Never Order Chicken On A Monday. When talking about the book, the former Sydney Morning Herald critic pointed out he was slightly weirded out by the sticker on the book that says it’s “Australia’s answer to Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain. To him, Bourdain is this cranky bad boy with this rock ‘n’ roll reputation, whereas Matthew says he’s “a dag from Canberra”, who liked to make tadpoles turn into frogs.
Not that I care about how supposedly “coolsy” he is or isn’t: I’ll always have a soft spot for his food-centric words, not only ‘cos they’re down-to-earth and witty, but also because his “Nice guacamole” recipe is one of the first things I ever cooked, and even wrangled me some compliments from my tough-critic mum.
The book was launched with a l’il spiel by Simon Thomsen the current senior Herald critic (whose down-to-earth and witty words I also enjoy). He talked about passion and honesty and how honesty was kinda “illegal” in Australia these days (it seems to frighten politicians), and Matthew was someone who encompassed both. Extending his honesty-phobic politician comparison a little (Phillip Ruddock was the politician he had in mind), he joked that Matthew was like David Hicks with a fork and a pen.
He talked about the importance of breaking bread to solve the messes of today, and while I thought that was a tad idealistic, it’s true that sugar does make some throat-gagging medicine go down a tad better.
The launch was at Bondi Icebergs Dining Room and Bar with finger food by Richard Marchetti, which was a bit of a clincher. Being a vegetarian, I scoffed four arancini balls (classic vego finger food fallback option) and one spinach tart, and watched many a non-vego platter pass us by. My newly-vegan friend Tabitha, unfortunately, was unable to eat anything. (Vegans really have it tough!) Not even the mini lemon meringue tarts that capped off the night, which is a bit of a shame, because they were lemony crisp greatness.
One of the upsides of being a vegetarian is that you don’t have to worry about ordering chicken on any calendar day. Still, I’m looking forward to leafing through the book’s other lessons.