BOOK RE­VIEWS

Mercury (Hobart) - Magazine - - UPFRONT -

TASSIE TREAT

Towns of Tasmania, A Jour­ney Through Time Bert Spinks and Pen Tayler Forty South Pub­lish­ing, $65

Twelve Tas­ma­nian towns are rhap­sodised over in words and pic­tures in this lo­cal hard­cover for hard­core Tassie lovers. The jour­ney through the de­light­ful dozen starts on the West Coast at Stra­han, be­fore head­ing north to Stan­ley, east to Ross in the Mid­lands and on­wards to Rich­mond, Evan­dale, Delo­raine, Both­well, Queen­stown, Derby, Franklin and Bea­cons­field. Amid all those quaint his­toric vil­lages, the fish­ing town and for­mer forestry town of Tri­abunna on the East Coast is a sur­prise in­clu­sion that adds depth to the com­men­tary about con­tem­po­rary so­cio-eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges. Derby is of­fered as an ex­am­ple of a suc­cess­ful small-town re­vival. “It was a town re­plete with beauty and odd char­ac­ters,” says the book’s au­thor, Bert Spinks. “But for a long time, Derby was on strug­gle street. Yet to­day it’s go­ing off its chops, and it’s all thanks to moun­tain bik­ing.”

AMANDA DUCKER

DO IT YOUR­SELF

Tomato: Know, sow, grow, feast

Penny Wood­ward, Jan­ice Sut­ton and Karen Suther­land

Royal Tas­ma­nian Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, $60

Tasmania has a long and proud tomato cul­ture. Ev­ery sum­mer gar­den­ers around the state rise to the chal­lenge of grow­ing a tasty tomato. And, ev­ery sum­mer, the Tassie cli­mate tosses a few curve balls to keep grow­ers on their toes. This year a new book should help gar­den­ers in the an­nual tomato grow­ing chal­lenge. Aptly ti­tled Tomato, the hefty 360-plus­page book, is sub­ti­tled ‘know sow grow feast’. Writ­ten by tomato ex­perts Penny Wood­ward, Jan­ice Sut­ton and Karen Suther­land it was launched in Oc­to­ber to form part of bi­cen­ten­nial cel­e­bra­tions at the Royal Tas­ma­nian Botan­i­cal Gar­dens. The book’s fo­cus is heir­loom tomato va­ri­eties with in­for­ma­tion on how to grow them and tips on how to de­velop your own tomato va­ri­ety. A large chunk of the book (ti­tled Feast and writ­ten by Jan­ice Sut­ton) is about recipes to pre­serve and use toma­toes. Some are from well-known Aus­tralian cooks and chefs in­clud­ing Tassie’s own Sally Wise. JEN­NIFER STACK­HOUSE

EAT­ING OUT

Truth, Love & Clean Cut­lery Jill Du­pleix Black­well & Ruth, $34.99

Are you hun­gry and holier than thou? Din­ers want to know chefs care about the same things they do, says vet­eran food writer and re­viewer Jill Du­pleix in Truth, Love & Clean Cut­lery, a guide to eth­i­cal and sus­tain­able res­tau­rants. Fear not, Du­pleix rushes to as­sure read­ers, the re­view­ing team’s first se­lec­tion cri­te­rion was de­li­cious­ness. Then they wanted to know where the food came from and whether it had been cooked with care and with­out high fat, salt and sugar lev­els. En­ergy and wa­ter use, sea­son­al­ity, com­mu­nity in­volve­ment, re­cy­cling, meat al­ter­na­tives and kids’ menus were other con­sid­er­a­tions. One-use plas­tic straws were noted, dis­ap­prov­ingly.

The book lists the eater­ies first by re­gion and also has an in­dex. Eigh­teen Tas­ma­nian eater­ies are in­cluded in this na­tional wrap-up, in­clud­ing A Tiny Place at Bat­tery Point, Aloft at Brooke St Pier and Peppermint Bay Ho­tel at Wood­bridge.

An odd omis­sion is Ho­bart’s trail­blaz­ingly sus­tain­able Farm Gate Mar­ket, which set the bar high years ago. Ap­par­ently farm­ers’ mar­kets were chef-nom­i­nated, but still ...

AMANDA DUCKER ARM­CHAIR TRAV­ELLER Wilder­ness: Cel­e­brat­ing Aus­tralia’s Pro­tected Places

The Wilder­ness So­ci­ety, $125.

This beau­ti­ful hard­cover cel­e­brates 40 years of wilder­ness cam­paigns across the na­tion. It in­cludes more than 100 strik­ing im­ages from some of Aus­tralia’s most beau­ti­ful places in­clud­ing Kakadu, the Kim­ber­ley, Cape York, Gipp­s­land, Dain­tree Rain­for­est, Great Aus­tralian Bight and Great Bar­rier Reef. Tasmania fea­tures promi­nently, with amaz­ing im­ages from Lake Ped­der and the fight to save the Franklin to the Styx, Weld and Floren­tine Val­leys and the Dou­glas-Ap­s­ley Na­tional Park. Vet­eran con­ser­va­tion­ist and for­mer Wilder­ness So­ci­ety cam­paigner Ge­off Law wrote the text, which in­cludes a fore­ward by for­mer Aus­tralian Greens leader Bob Brown. The cover im­age is Pe­ter Dom­brovskis’ iconic Morn­ing Mist, Rock Is­land Bend, used in the Franklin cam­paign in the early 1980s. LINDA SMITH

GAR­DEN­ING

Aus­tralian Dream­scapes

Claire Takacs

Hardie Grant Books, $70

It’s never too early for this gar­den pho­tog­ra­pher to rise and shine, as Claire Takacs does again and again in her ex­ten­sive mag­a­zine work. This book is a beau­ti­fully sun­lit and com­posed col­lec­tion, but it’s not just a gor­geous glossy. It’s a ref­er­ence book too, sub­ti­tled The art of plant­ing in gar­dens in­spired by na­ture. Hav­ing iden­ti­fied the emer­gence of a less for­mal and struc­tured, more nat­u­ral­is­tic style of gar­den­ing, Takacs records some of the best from around the coun­try, along with ideas and ad­vice from their cre­ators, who in­clude Tas­ma­nian land­scape de­signer Cather­ine Shields. Many gar­den­ers talk about their plea­sure in cre­at­ing en­vi­ron­ments that en­rich bio­di­ver­sity. “It be­came ap­par­ent what great plea­sure they take in ob­serv­ing the life they have brought into their gar­dens,” writes Takacs. Sweep­ing ru­ral and bush back­drops form part of the dream­scapes. AMANDA DUCKER

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