Book review: 100 food experiences to have before you die

To die for

“100 Food experiences to have before you die” by Stephen Downes, is an easy book to read in short bursts as each food experience is only a page or two long (which is perfect for my daily commute on the train). Many of the food experiences described can only be had overseas, so it would be hard to replicate, although you might be wishing you were there. Some of the mini-chapters contain interesting food trivia and tips on cooking the perfect dish.

Stephen’s ‘perfect 10s’ food experiences are:

  1. Murray River pink salt
  2. a home-grown tomato
  3. freshly opened Pacific oysters
  4. proper chocolate
  5. Japanese rice crackers at a Shinkansen Station
  6. minutes old sashimi carved from your own catch
  7. caviar
  8. fresh lychee
  9. raw-milk cheeses
  10. a ripe mango
  11. charcuterie
  12. lady in pink (apple)
  13. raw fugu fish

The stories of each experience are entertaining and humorous. The section on the fourth mango might even make you blush!


Emma’s top food experiences are:

  1. Matt’s bbq on the Weber
  2. Mum’s roast ham with scolloped potatoes and carrots
  3. Fondue with secret sauce
  4. Lamb chops
  5. Lindt dark chocolate
  6. Italian pizza with a thin crust
  7. Tagliatelle with ragu
  8. Piccata al limone (veal with lemon sauce)
  9. Chocolate mousse
  10. Yakitori chicken with perfect steamed rice

Matt’s recommends the following food experiences:

  1. Bacon butty with HP sauce, pot of Yorkshire tea
  2. Fish and chips with mushy peas, Fullers ESB
  3. Italian wood fired oven pizza
  4. Pork goulash with dumplings, Pilsner Urquell
  5. Beef in stout with dumplings, Guinness extra stout
  6. Tagliatelle with ragu, Montepulciano D’abruzzo
  7. Roast lamb, potatoes and Yorkshire pudding, Black Sheep Ale
  8. Knackwurst in beer, Schneider Weisse German Ale
  9. Trifle
  10. Cioppino

What do you recommend? Send your top 5 to the Traveller’s Lunchbox who is compiling all the suggestions.

Road Trip: Hervey Bay

Humpback whale

Big M and I went off to Hervey Bay for a few nights. We went mainly to go whale-watching. Our big mistake was choosing a cruise based on the “gourmet lunch”. It was a lovely lunch, but we hardly ate any for fear of the sea-sicknesses! Lots of whales, but make sure you pick a large vessel for your whale-watching experience.

Holidays are always a good excuse for eating out, so we tried a number of the local restaurants.

The first night I had “Lamb shanks and vegetables” – normally nothing to write home [or blog] about, except the waif-thin waitress said “I often have the shanks after work, but I can only manage one!”. I replied that I’d had a some help from Big M. Then she said “Just imagine, in the old days they used to be considered dog food!”

There were two food spots we would recommend. “Gringo’s” do excellent and affordable Mexican food. Big M had the nachos, and I had two tacos with Mexican rice. They can adjust the chilli level to your liking, or in my case leave it out.

The other place we enjoyed was “Arkarra” restaurant and Balinese tea gardens. There is a lovely walk around the lagoons with plenty of wildlife (mainly birds) to look out for. Big M had the “club sandwich”, and I had “calamari with sweet potato spiral fries”. Both were good, so….

Lambs Fry

We decided to visit again for breakfast. I was in an adventurous frame of mind and decided to try the “Lamb’s fry and bacon with onion gravy”. Big M had “scrambled eggs and bacon”. Lamb’s Fry is usually liver, and maybe other pieces of offal. It’s robust texture goes well in pies. I really enjoyed it, although perhaps a little too overpowering for breakfast regularly.

Turning the other pig’s cheek

There is a homeliness about British cooking that warms the cockles of your heart. So it’s a shame to hear that some of the old classics are dying out, or is it?

According to a UKTV survey, 70% of young people said they would refuse to eat either hare or chaps. A combination of health concerns, a wider range of inexpensive food and an interest in international dishes have changed the landscape of British crusine.

The ten most endangered savouries are:

The ten most threatened puddings:

The Scots have left off the menu:

  • Crappit heids – boiled haddock heads stuffed with suet
  • Whim wham – a fruit and bread trifle

The Welsh aren’t eating their:

  • Rook pie
  • former national dish of laver bread – seaweed pureed with fine oatmeal into small cakes.

But at least it beats eating monkey chow!

Hay hay it’s bruschetta


Bruschetta is basically toasted bread, and is sometimes confused with the tomato topping, (which can vary). It is usually served as an appetizer, or you can have two or three slices with a salad for a light lunch. Smaller entre size pieces are called crostini.

Silver Spoon’s Bruschetta Recipe
Toast the slices of bread on both sides under the grill or a barbeque. Rub them with garlic while they are still hot and put them back under the grill for a moment. Arrange toppings on the bread. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Caprese Bruschetta (left)
Layer on the bruschetta, slices of mozzarella cheese (buffalo* preferred), slices of cherry tomatoes, and whole or torn (not cut) fresh basil leaves.
*for the creamy taste

Oliveade Bruschetta (right)
Combine in a food processor approximately 20 pitted, black olives, 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, dash of lemon juice, half a clove of garlic (coarsely chopped) and a pinch of thyme. Vary these measurements according to personal taste. Spread on the bruschetta and top with strips of roasted capsicum (red peppers).

Oliveade is tapenade minus the capers and anchovies.

An easy lunch for the weekend. We loved it.