The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Sweet relief

August 11th, 2009  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  4 Comments


Yep, this is a guilt post. (I’m hopeless, I know …)

I wanted to sort the traffic jam in my head into something coherent and bloggable but, with a case of start-of-week tireds, that seems unlikely …

So here is some eye candy. It’s a box of sugar – literally.

My very kind friends Tabitha and Nathan carefully transported it all the way back from Paris – the amazing aisle of decorative sugar at Le Bon Marche food hall (aka heaven), to be exact.

I was amazed that the box wasn’t ground-full of granules and confectionery dust; that the miniature sugar shapes had stayed perfectly intact across half the world.

But it turns out these sweet little buttons, hearts and trees are surprisingly tough. Drop them into a ceramic bowl and they make a satisfying clink as they hit the surface, undented and whole.


Here are three other food-related things to reward you for your moseying here:

1. The Time Out Sydney Food Awards issue is on sale right now. Even if you were a conscientious objector/non-voter-type or awards-phobic, it’s worth heading over just to check out Daniel Boud’s always amazing food photography.

2. Helena from Clipper Cafe is overseeing a gourmet game that runs throughout August, as part of Sydney Uni’s Epicurean Society: “You send us in your recipe, you receive one back and then you have one week to cook and create that dish, photograph it, document the process, and be your own food critic. Then send in the results via email (making sure that all photos are in jpeg. format) and what will result is a collectively concocted collection of recipes SLAMMED together.”

You know where to click to take part.


3. I am playing catch-up on New Yorker back-issues and I just finished reading an excellent short story by Lorrie Moore which, like all her work, starts off quietly and unassuming and completely had me fixed to the page after a few seemingly innocent paragraphs.

I especially loved these two food-related parts (which I’ll end this placeholding blog post with).

Firstly, her description of a local Chinese restaurant:

I had a handleless cup of hot, stale tea, poured and reheated from a pail stored in the restaurant’s walk-in refrigerator, and one elegantly folded fortune cookie—a short paper nerve baked in an ear.

I would tug the paper slip from the stiff clutches of the cookie and save it as a bookmark. All my books had fortunes protruding like tiny tails from their pages …

And, also … (about a completely different eatery altogether):

It was one of those expensive restaurants downtown, every entrée freshly hairy with dill, every soup and dessert dripped upon as preciously as a Pollock, fillets and cutlets sprinkled with lavender dust once owned by pixies — restaurants to which students never went, unless newly pinned to a fraternity boy or dating an assistant dean or hosting a visit from concerned suburban parents.

I knew that Petit Moulin served things that sounded like instruments — timbales, quenelles. God only knew what they were.

I had once tried to study the menu in its lit case near the entrance, and as I stared at the words the sting of my own exile had moistened my eyes. The lowest price for an entrée was twenty-two dollars, the highest, forty-five. Forty-five! You could get a Taiwanese oil-and-water bra for that price!

(That last part made me laugh, I had to look up “oil-and-water bra” because that phrase had never entered my vocab before. It sounds like something Madonna would wear, on a very bad day.)

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  1. amy says:

    those pastel sugary shapes are too adorable!

  2. bowb says:

    argh! i totally recognised the sugar shapes from that sugar aisle! i stood before them for many minutes, twice, but i i did not buy them because already in my shopping basket i had several bars of chocolate, as well as a canister of fancy spiced sugar — a christmassy blend of cinammon, green anise, cloves, ginger and cardamom (very good for hot, buttered fruit toast, and sprinkling on the top of banana breads before baking. those french people sure know what to do with their sugar!

  3. tim_g says:

    yea that short story was so great, i think it’s an excerpt from her upcoming book. <3 lorrie moore so much, i think she just gets better + better

  4. leetranlam says:

    Thanks guys for the lovely comments.

    Bowb, I totally love that you instantly knew what aisle I was talking about! It is truly insane and exquisite what can be found on the shelves there.
    Yes, the French are sugar geniuses!

    Tim, agreed, Lorrie Moore breaks my heart about everytime. I hope that is from her book, as I would really love to know what happens to those characters.

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Hi, I'm Lee Tran Lam. When not blogging with my mouth full, I'm usually writing, presenting Local Fidelity on FBi radio, making zines, producing podcasts or continually breaking promises about how I really am gonna get through my book pile one day.

All the good pictures on this blog are by photography ace (and patient boyfriend), Will Reichelt, (all the dodgy ones can be credited to me)!

The lovely banner is by friend and ultra-talented illustrator Grace Lee.

This site redesign was made possible by the next-level generosity and expertise of Daniel Boud, whose code-tinkering ways are only outranked by his seriously inspired way with a camera.

You can read more about my co-conspirators here.

This is a blog I do for pure fun and zero influence – there's no sponsorship, sneaky advertorial or advertising. I pay for all the food mentioned, 'cos it seems the ethical thing to do.


This is a blog about eating and drinking in Sydney, Australia (with the odd cross-border or off-topic detour). BYO appetite.

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