The Real Food Companion, Matthew Evans

posted on: Thursday, 27 November 2014

I did judge this book by its awesome cover

Earlier this year I went on a trip. Now usually when I go somewhere new I research the bejesus out of the food scene and set up an interview with someone amazing from the destination. Except that when I went to Tasmania, I didn't. Even though I was well aware that Matthew Evans, the writer of what I consider one of the most inspiring, beautiful and singular cookbooks, The Real Food Companion, lives there. Even though in the year since I started this blog I had more than 20 interviews under my amateur belt. I made no calls. Wrote no emails. Basically, I chickened out.

When I reached Hobart I randomly walked into Westend Pumphouse to get a coffee where I bumped into a lady I recognised. Oh yeah, that was Sadie - Matthew Evans wife, on the way back to her table with... Matthew Evans. What a coincidence. However, despite my strong belief in intuition/fate/the universe, I still did nothing. Until the next day when I drove through beautiful green farm land and apple orchards to the gorgeous town of Cygnet to go to the seriously splendid The Lotus Eaters CafĂ©. Just as I was driving into a car park out the front, a tall, white-haired man sauntered straight in front of my moving car. Ah excuse me? It was Matthew Evans again.

Matthew with Richard Fidler: an amazing interviewer who remembered to take photo with his subject, as I did not

The universe had spoken. So I wrote him an email. And he wrote back. I wrote him another email. We agreed to meet. I called him. We had coffee (at Tricycle). Which brings me back to The Real Food Companion. People say never meet your favourite authors because they never live up to your expectations and invariably ruin your favourite books. The conversation was a bit of blur, but I came away liking him and the book even more because he has his own opinion and the actual guts to really question things well ahead of the times. I'm not the only one who marvels that The Real Food Companion was written and researched nearly 10 years ago. He said to me: "I'm very proud of that book, and even though I feel more qualified to write it now than when I did, I still have to look things up in there that linger on the fringes of my memory."

How the book actually started: with the search for real milk

It all started with his search for delicious real milk, but grew into something a whole lot more. I can't show you how good the book is by posting a few pages because it's really something worth taking the time to sit down and read. Matthew thanks so much for randomly appearing enough times in front of me that I was finally compelled to contact with you. And thank you for writing my favourite book :)

Check out Matthew Evans' latest SBS TV Show What's the Catch which presents the shocking truth about the seafood we're sold in Australia. And you might like to sign the Label My Fish petition too! On a more delightful note, check out Gourmet Farmer Afloat to follow his fishing adventures and delicious cooking.

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