Shortly after I was born I died.
I was allergic to almost all of my favorite foods. Milk, eggs, bananas and peanuts.
An anaphylactic shock took me. The assassin was a Friesian (pictured above).
Like Lazarus I rose again after the nuns had covered me with a sheet and consoled my mother. Fortunately for me, having two living sons, Mum had mastered the memory of individual infant bawling.
After some not inconsiderable argument about the finality of death my mother was allowed to lift the shroud and take me home to a life of goats milk.
That was the last I saw of the nuns but there have been other attempts on my life. As recent as last year in fact.
Like the Friesian's they have been pretty black and white. Crude attempts.
Like the Friesian's they failed.
So my earliest food memories were associated with doctors. Not a good start.
My mother would break an egg in the kitchen and my tongue would go furry in the lounge room while watching the Galloping Gourmet on the Echo. Off to the doc for an adrenalin shot.
A Candy Nut chocolate, alas made no more, would send me off to a steam tent for a weeks camping in.
One small consolation came in the form of the denouement of an Arthur Miller stereotype selling a prehistoric food processsor. Said salesmen staked his credibility on the proposition that he could mix an egg nog, shell and all, in the Burge Supermix and no-one could tell the difference. Hello! The toddler with the Epi-Pen could.
My mother was a farm girl and a fabulous cook. My brother Tony was a chef. My father was a gardener who grew the most amazing vegetables. One of my earliest food memories was next to my father in the vegie patch while he nipped out new season's asparagus with his Joseph Rogers (aptly named a Bunny Knife - and it was. Another early memory - rabbit pie).
It was inevitable therefore that I would form a relationship with food produce and cooking from a young age and I did.
I became a hunter gatherer as a child, a love that has stayed with me and excites me now as much as it did then.
Rabbits, hares, duck , quail. Muttonbird, Cape Barren geese, wild turkey. Mushrooms, walnuts, rosehips, sloes. Crayfish, abalone, mussels, oysters. Boarfish, ling, trumpeter and tuna. This is the stuff of my food memories and these ingredients inspire me still. These are the reasons I had to cook. To this day I have dreams of catching rock lobster by hand underwater (pictured above - the lobsters, not the dream). A pull as powerful as this is not to be denied, notwithstanding the early attempts on my life.