New Zealand Food History

the Aristologist

2015 - Wellington (IX)

Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd

November 2015




Convenors: Duncan Galletly & Lois Daish

The 2015 Symposium of Gastronomy welcomed scholars, cooks, food writers and armchair  foodies to talk about the history, practice, science and philosophy of food and foodways. The 2015 theme - "diversity" - encouraged presentations on the relevance of variety - ethnic, socio-economic, gender, environmental, ecological, biological and botanical - everything in gastronomy (good or bad) that takes us from monotony and sameness. The theme allowed wide interpretation, and this gave the 2015 symposium an assorted and rather unexpected content.


7.00 pm Friday evening dinner with Giulio Riccati : Cicio Cacio - Newtown

Saturday 21st November

9.00     Introduction

9.10     Nancy Pollock : The Omnivore's Dilemma in New Zealand - Seeking familiar foods

9.40     Matt Lamason : Liberating the Captives: redefining our approach to prisons and prisoners

               through food and coffee.

10.00   Peter Howland : Diverse fruits? Grape wine, benign cosmopolitanism and middle-class


10.30 – 11.00      Morning Tea

11.00     John Webster : The Pawky Scot: A brief flick through the life of Rachel Veitch Macpherson.

11.30     Lois Daish : Accept with Pleasure – Patricia Harris (1910-2003)

12.00     Kate Harcourt : Monsieur Robert (Beasley) and Friends

12.30-1.30           Lunch

1.30     Michael Symons : How big was John Locke's spice drawer? An inquiry into whether liberalism

               favours diversity, equality or both.

2.00     David Burton : Chinatown and beyond: Sino-kiwi culinary encounters.

3.00-3.30           Afternoon Tea


               Anne Else : Eating alone in a Foreign City.

               Elaine Reeves : Aprons Upon.

               Dave Veart : Ihumatao: Ancient gardens at risk.

7.00 pm     Dinner with Asher Boote : Hillside - Thorndon

Sunday 22nd November :



               Alana Clark : On Active Service

              Karen Ward  : Losing the Race to the South Pole - gooseberries and redcurrants.

               Alison McKee : The Sunday School Picnic.

               Margaret Brooker : A Diversity of Scones.

10.30-11.00      Morning Tea

11.00     Alison Vincent : A Taste for Diversity – The Restaurant Reviews of Richard Beckett and Leo


11.30     Duncan Galletly : Zero to Connoisseur in 11 easy kilograms – Zomato.

12.00     Louise Wrightson : The Poetry of Food.

12.30-1.30        Lunch

1.30     Amir Sayadabdi : Norwegian Cookbooks (1920-2012) as representatives of food culture in


2.00     Matt Dagger : Kaibosh

3.00-3.30           Afternoon Tea

3.30     Phil Cooke : Doing what we've always done : the non-novelty of “craft beer.”

4.00     Max Dingle : Art , Food and the Sublime  

4.30     Closure. The Symposium of Gastronomy – next meeting and the future.

The Papers

Michael Symons : How big was John Locke's spice drawer? An inquiry into whether liberalism favours diversity, equality or both.

These days, the kitchen cupboard might have to accommodate French, Italian, German, Greek, Thai, Indian, Chinese, Argentinian cuisines … and that's before the basic shelf for regional variations, let alone sodium alginate and calcium lactate for spherification. That's diversity for you. The diner is expected to love, or at least respect, all those culinary styles...

Anne Else : Eating alone in a foreign city.

A short reflection on finding the right place to have dinner in an unfamiliar city - Madrid ...

Nancy Pollock : The Omnivore's Dilemma in New Zealand

Each generation of settlers in New Zealand has been faced with the dilemma of finding familiar foods in a new environment.  Their expectations have been adjusted over the years so that unfamiliar plants and lack of animals have been replaced by a new range of familiar foods – a very wide range in 2015. Biologically their status as omnivores, equipped to eat anything, has been overridden by cultural premises ...

Amir Sayadabdi & Saman Hasibi :

Cookbooks are not only instructional manuals for culinary arts but also representatives of the food culture of the society that has produced them. Apart from their gastronomic value, they reflect food habits, record developments including technological, social, and economical ups and downs, and simultaneously express the historical information about the society. For this study, evidence of such claims has been gathered from Norwegian cookbooks published between 1920 and 2012. These cookbooks .....

Alison Vincent : A taste for diversity. The restaurant reviews of Richard Beckett and Leo Schofield.

In 1971 both Richard Beckett and Leo Schofield began writing regular weekly newspaper columns dedicated to restaurant reviews. Beckett wrote as 'Sam Orr' for the larrikin, outspoken Nation Review; Schofield contributed first to Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Australian and then to the Sunday Telegraph and the Australian. Both sought to change the way restaurant dining was perceived  .....

Duncan Galletly : Zomato - Zero to connoiseur in 11 easy kilograms.

Zomato is a rapidly growing, web-based, restaurant review site from India, cleverly tailored to social media and with clear appeal to a younger demographic.  Review information is contributed by amateurs raising considerable concern and debate as to its veracity and potential for negative impact. For this paper, over a period of six months, I ate and drank at, and reviewed, approximately 200 restaurants and cafes in order to achieve what Zomato describes as "connoisseur" status .....

Dave Veart : Ihumatao, Ancient Gardens at Risk

When the East Polynesian colonists arrived in Aotearoa in the 13th century they brought with them a suite of cultigens which were familiar from their Pacific homelands. New Zealand however was at best sub-tropical and so any environment which was warmer was essential. One such area was Auckland's  volcanic field...

Peter Howland : Diverse fruits? Grape wine, benign cosmopolitanism and middle-class homogenization.

A number of scholars argue that globalized markets are sites where the values and dispositions of cosmopolitanism may be effectively seeded. Not surprisingly this has been critiqued on the basis that the cosmopolitanism enacted is shallow (being primarily restricted to the consumption of 'exotic' cuisine, clothing, art forms, etc); as a form of neo-colonialism; and for being limited to the economically privileged of the 'global north'....

Karen Ward : Losing the Race to the South Pole - gooseberries and red currants.

When I was in Antarctica I had the opportunity to visit a number of the historic huts - specifically Shackelton's at Cape Royds and Scott's two huts (Discovery Hut at Hut Point and Scott's Hut at Cape Evans). At Scott's Hut I noted with interest the food that was left behind and the way in which the rooms were arranged as compared to Shackelton's ...

Lois Daish : Accept with pleasure.

Patricia Harris (1910-2003) had a brief flowering as a food writer in the early 1970s. By then she’d already enjoyed many years of entertaining at Te Rama, a rambling old house on a hill behind Waikanae where she lived with her husband Sir Jack, a prominent businessman. It was her energetic and charming evocation of that life that drew me to her writing ...

Max Dingle : Art, food and the sublime.

Food or Art, Art or Food, what came first?   Food of course, food came first and food was probably the inspiration for the invention of art and quite possibly religion. While they are interlinked and great art has been inspired by both food and religion I will not contend that food is either art or religion ...

Margaret Brooker : The diversity of the scone.

The contemporary café cheese scone is very different from the versions of earlier eras. This is a discussion of how scone recipes have evolved ...

David Burton : Haining Street and Beyond: the evolution of the Chinese Restaurant.

Defying the usual stereotype of racial segregation and hatred of the Chinese, there was a small but significant degree of fraternisation in the early Chinatowns of Wellington and Auckland. Young Europeans smoked opium with Chinese in Haining Street opium dens and ate in their restaurants ...

Phil Cooke : Doing what we've always done - the non-novelty of craft beer.

The orthodoxy that drives innumerable feature articles and colours the coverage of related reportage on food and drink, in general, is that there is a lot of new and exciting things happening in beer. This is completely incorrect ...

John Webster : The Pawky Scot - The life of Rachel Veitch Macpherson.

From my uncompleted research I will recount her diverse career  as a cooking student, followed by teaching in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. For about nine years she lived in Oamaru before going to Australia for good. While resident in Oamaru she helped with collecting funds for the Irish cause; possibly took up wood carving to competition level, wrote an article regarding women's rights in Australia, published there, and then wrote a novel in which one of the characters gets eaten by a lion!

Alison McKee : The Sunday School picnic.

On Saturday 5 February, 1876, 606 children belonging to the Auckland Wesleyan Sunday Schools, accompanied by an estimated 300 adults, assembled at Newmarket, Auckland, and proceeded by train to Remuera. The gathering then walked to grounds in Kohimarama where tents were erected and an “abundance of good things” to eat were provided, at 12am and again at four o'clock. It was reported that the children ...

Kate Harcourt : Monsieur Robert (Beasley) and Friends

Remembering Wellington's restaurateurs of the 70s.

Alana Clark : On active service.