Thalias Hospitality

Chapter 265

A list of the requirements to live a happy life: Freedom Self Sufficiency Friendship Thought Wine Bread & Cheese -Epicurus, (#Note: Epicurus was an avowed teetotal, the author here has substituted water with wine) Epicurus The famous Greek philosopher Epicurus reminds us that we replace emotional needs with commercial wants. “Why then, if expensive things cannot bring us remarkable joy, are we so powerfully drawn to them? Because of an error similar to that of a migraine sufferer who drills a whole in the side of their skull: because expensive objects can feel like plausible solutions to needs that we don’t fully understand. Objects mimic in a material dimension what we require in a psychological one. We need to rearrange our minds but are lured to new shelves. We buy a cashmere cardigan as a substitute for the counsel of friends. We are not solely to blame for our confusions. Our weak understanding of our needs is aggravated by what Epicurus termed the ‘idle opinions’ of those around us, which do not reflect the natural hierarchy of our needs, emphasizing luxury and riches, seldom friendship, freedom and thought. The prevalence of idle opinion is no coincidence. It is in the interests of commercial enterprises to skew the hierarchy of our needs, to promote a material vision of the good and downplay an unsaleable one. And the way we are enticed is through the sly association of superfluous objects with our own forgotten needs. It may be a ‘Jeep’ we end up buying but it was –for Epicurus- freedom we were looking for. It may be the aperitif we purchase but it was –for Epicurus- friendship we were after. It may be the new bathing salts and oils we acquire but it was –for Epicurus- thought that would have brought us calm.” Alain de Botton –The Consolations of Philosophy Commensality For most of us in the developed world, eating is no longer a question of survival it is something that has transcended mere sustenance. Food is traditional, cultural, emotional, it is part of who we are, where we come from, and how we wish to live. As the French critic, epicurean and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, (1755-826) once said: “Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are”. What people eat can inform us about where they come from geographically, socio-economically, religiously, or even philosophically. We come together over food, and often it is the very act of sharing food itself that brings us together; eating is communal and community, we commune with family and with friends at meal time, we talk about our lives, we foment ideas, participate in society; we come to appreciate and at times celebrate the food, the wine and the company in front of us. Breaking bread, eating with someone is intimate, it is sharing that which sustains us, it is caring about the person you are with, it is a moment to be cherished and to take into your heart. We choose what we eat, how much we eat, and who we eat it with, and this, in turn, creates who we are in both a physical, (health) and a spiritual, (psychological and emotional) sense. Australia Post War Australia saw a nation rattled by the prospects of invasion, a once introspective country -now it was ready and willing to be more heuristic and open-minded. Although a federation since 1901, Australia’s non-indigenous population was almost exclusively British and for all intents and purposes the young nation considered itself to be merely no more than to be part of the ‘Empire’, an extension of the mother country. Two world wars in only 25 years and an all-conquering invader on its doorstep, one that had bombed a city on Australian soil and sent submarines into the largest harbor of its most populist city, soon changed its approach to nationhood. Immigration was seen as vital to the future defense of the country and was radically opened up for the very first time, ‘Populate or Perish’ was the political catchphrase. At the beginning of the second world war, the official Australian population stood at just seven million people and just 7.4 million six years later at the end of the war, by the end of the 1960s that figure had reached over 12.6 million, and by 1976 the population had double from post-war figures. This brought a dramatic change in the population mix, in its thinking, its culture, habits, and, along with a booming economy, a dramatic change in the national diet. Australian Culinaria was about to embark on a journey of great discovery and transformation, that began with southern European migration in the 50s and 60s, followed by Asian migration in the 70s and 80s, and evolved into a sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and wholly adventurous outlook on food by the turn of the century. Today, Australia has a population of just under 26 million people. Lunches at the Imperial In the early 1950s, a few members of the South Australian wine industry would gather regularly on a Friday for lunch. It soon became custom to bring a bottle of wine ‘masked’ in a paper bag and served ‘blind’ to get some honest feedback from one’s industry peers. Of course, this was not meant to be too rigorous an examination and for decades many recalled with great mirth the time Tom Hardy put on the same wine, masked as ‘Red Number 1’ and ‘Red Number 2’ and then listened straight-faced glee as his colleagues expended a great deal of oxygen and vocabulary pointing out the many differences in the two wines! Ray Drew was chief accountant at Hardy’s winery at the time, and one of the original members of the informal ‘lunch group’. In an ‘oral history’ interview donated to the State Library of South Australia, Drew recalled the camaraderie and conviviality of the time: “I would say that nearly everybody at Hardys—the management team—would go out and have their bottle of table wine for lunch. … Read more