This may seem like an odd post to write, since some of my faithful Twitter and Facebook follows will have known about The Melting Pot ever since its launch in early April. But for those who are coming directly to Gosstronomy and noticing that the blog content has slowed of late, I wanted to let you know that my food writing work is well and truly alive, except that you’ll find most of my work over here instead.
So here’s a formal announcement of The Melting Pot, Australia’s first major crowdsourced cookbook. I’d merely say first, but I’d have to admin that there have been a few other half-arsed attempts thrown out there, then shut up shop before you even noticed they existed. This isn’t one of them – The Melting Pot is a dedicated project for Australia’s multicultural food community that’s in it for the long haul.
What is it, you might ask? Well, it’s a place for dedicated home cooks and unheralded, neighbourhood chefs to share and immortalise their family and cultural recipes. I like calling them ‘heirloom’ recipes – you know, the kind that you’d expect to hand down to your kids, or recipes you might have already inherited from your mum, uncle, grandmother or a distant cousin. It’s that amazing family dish that you rarely seen done as well away from a family dining table.
With all of Australia’s waves of immigration, our comfort food has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Ask someone what Australian food is, and they’re invariably tell you something clichéd like a meat pie, sausage roll, lamington or fish & chips (except for those who like to content that Australian cuisine doesn’t exist). All of which are food that are terrific when done well, but the reality is that, for most of us, our comfort staples look vastly different. Our comfort meals are more likely to be plates like Thai fish cakes, Chinese dumplings, Turkish pide, Italian(ish) spaghetti bolognese, Malaysian roti canai, Indonesian beef rendang, Spanish paella, Moroccan tajines, Mexican tacos, South African ribs or Greek moussaka.
Thanks to inspiration from such multicultural American cookbooks as Molly O’Neal’s New York Cookbook, and crowdsourced ones like Amanda Hesser’s Food52.com, it seemed to be the right time for Australia to have its own version. There are already wonderful places like SBS to get multicultural food content, and recipe sites like Taste.com.au, so I didn’t want double up on what they were doing. Instead, we’re creating a place to open up the content decisions to the community, and allow home cooks and readers like you to submit and elevate your own recipes and stories.
The Melting Pot is about you, your neighbours and your fellow Australians. I’ve met some fantastic cooks already, and look forward to uncovering and collaborating with more amazing people like them. More importantly, I hope you enjoy the site and share one or two of your own family or cherished recipes. This is a meeting place for us to share and swap recipes, and expose each other to our unique cultures via food and personal stories. The best of this will be elevated further, culminating into a printed cookbook of the best Melting Pot recipes to be published by Murdoch Books in 2013.
So why am I only talking about this on Gosstronomy now? It’s simple. I wanted to keep it to our core social audience and see how well the site functioned before I spread the word. And there are still one more round of enhancements I’m planning to make before we take this to the broader Australian food community out there. And does that mean Gosstronomy is going away? Definitely not. I’m still as active on Twitter as ever, but expect the blog posts to be less frequent these upcoming months as The Melting Pot takes up the lion’s share of my time.
I really hope you visit and enjoy the new website, and I also hope you’ll get involved and contribute. Each month on The Melting Pot there’s a different competition (for June, we’re seeking your best soup recipe), and our top recipe submissions each month win coveted cooking schwag – so far that’s been some killer cookbooks featuring recipes by the world’s top chefs and a handful of Japanese Tojiro knives beloved by Heston Blumenthal.
And please let me know what you think. We’re already working on our second round of enhancements to the site, and I hope to continue our steady evolution, for which your feedback is invaluable.
So please enjoy The Melting Pot. It’s an exciting cooking and cultural journey, and I couldn’t do it without you.
Chief Epicurial Officer, Gosstronomy
Author & Recipe Whisperer, The Melting Pot