The 25th anniversary of Good Living in the Sydney Morning Herald prompted a feature wherein several of the Good Living writers over the years reflected on changes over the past 25 years. David Dale went so far as to list the various food fads from 1982 (raspberry vinegar) to 2007 (organic everything). Not all readers agreed with his chronology, but most of us remember these culinary milestones, including sticky date pudding, pork belly and scallops, mushroom risotto and caesar salad.
The article listed losses and gains over the 25-year period. Among the gains were the ban on smoking, screwtop wines, Australian truffles and butchers with a lot more than chops. Among the losses (some mourned, others celebrated) were laminated menus, big Greek restaurants, sorbet between courses and the dinner party.
The Good Living supplement first appeared in Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday, June 15 1982. Leo Schofield wrote the cover story about dining options in public institutions. The founding editor was Jenny Tabakoff. Good Living originally extended beyond food with fashion and lifestyle articles.
In the Sydney Morning Herald article marking the 25th anniversary of Good Living, Tabakoff regretted the passing of the long lunch, which she attributed to the coming of the Fringe Benefits Tax. She wrote:
Once upon a time, lunch didn’t come in plastic boxes or paper bags. People would leave their desks to eat in restaurants. About 3pm, belts and ties would be loosened, chairs pushed back … and another bottle ordered. At 4.30pm, words such as “Should we go back to the office?” and “Nah, what’s the point?” could be heard. They were happy days when a group of friends in suits could write off a good meal as a business expense. Outrageous? Perhaps, but some good came of it. The long-lunch era underwrote the rise of fine dining. However, the tablecloth was pulled in 1986, when the Federal Government started taxing fringe benefits.
Ah, the heady days of the 1980s!