Friday, May 31, 2019


I can’t tell you what love is.
It is as futile as grasping at smoke.
Its colours change as fast as a winter sunset
And we all see an entirely different pattern in the glowing sky.

All we can do is hope our version matches
Someone, somewhere
Then hope that the sky stops changing.

We want to stop and take a snap-shot;
“There. That is my love”
But even as we say it,
The clouds have shifted again in the light.

‘Love is constant’ says the book,
And it is –like the sky. Always there
But always changing.

The discomfort is eased by language,
By institution.
“This is our love. These are our rules”
We prove It with rings of gold.

We demand the constancy, the familiarity
Of the snapshot.
It is framed, worshipped
Deified and defined.

We no longer look up,
But straight ahead.
We are frightened of what
The moving sky might show.

I looked up.
It was already dark.
The colours long vanished.

But they will return tomorrow,
The painted fire of my mutable love,
As constant as the sky
And ever moving, ever swirling.

A thing doesn’t have to be the same
To be beautiful.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

This month's rant on 'wellness', and in particular -the un-wonder of celery juice.

Celery Juice, Spirits and Science

It's a lovely herb, but fellas -let's just take a deep breath and face the fact: THERE IS NO MIRACLE CURE FOR EVERYTHING THAT AILS YOU. I apologise.

Friday, April 19, 2019

20th April, 2019

C. Lockley

Evidence-based Nutrition science is communicated to the public through the Australian Dietary Guidelines, The Dieticians Association of Australia, and qualified Nutritionists. Despite this, the Australian population is getting steadily fatter and sicker ( What if it’s not what we’re communicating, but how?
One-quarter of children and adolescents, and nearly two-thirds of adults in Australia are overweight or obese, and the numbers continue to rise ( Those in regional and remote areas show even greater rates of obesity and diet-related illness ( Improving Australian food habits and increasing public compliance with the Australian Dietary Guidelines would reduce both financial pressure on Government health expenditure, and the risk of diet-related premature disease and death.


With 51% of adults not eating the recommended fruit intake, and 66% not eating enough vegetables (, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that the public is not understanding the science. However recent research ( from the Australian National University on regional Australian adult consumers has found that understanding is not the problem –engagement and trust are.
People find current food and nutrition communication convoluted, complex and inconsistent, impersonal, and devoid of emotional engagement and pleasure ( The ‘medicalization’ of food consumption and the avoidance of pleasure or ‘hedonism’ in meals holds very little appeal ( Food reduced to a measurable set of ‘nutrient’ and ‘health’ parameters that ignores flavour, pleasure, story, environment and embedded memory/tradition makes people anxious…even angry ( .
Ignoring or down-playing emotional and pleasure narratives in food and health is just bad communication ( Even worse, it results in people ‘throwing the baby out with the bath-water’ and ignoring the science completely in favour of a more relatable personal narrative ( . This in turn makes them ‘sitting ducks’ for pseudo-science, fad diets, and the cleverly woven emotional marketing of unhealthy foods ( .
So, if not nutrition science, who and what do consumers value and prioritize when they’re deciding what to eat?


The same meal –one that conforms to the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the famed Mediterranean Diet model –consumed under different narratives, has vastly different effects on both the amount of food consumed and the consumer’s emotional state ( .
The story makes a difference, and not just emotionally. Foods that our mind tags as ‘healthy’ or ‘hedonic’ change our hormonal biochemistry. If we believe our meal to be ‘indulgent’ we reach satiety faster. If we focus on it being ‘healthy’, our hunger hormone –ghrelin –doesn’t fall ( . Language and story alone change not just what we choose to eat ( but how our bodies react to it.
Consumers may be ignoring or outright rejecting Nutrition communication, but they love Gastronomy! Our frustration with ‘nutrition’ is only matched by our obsession with food. We’re tuning out of science and tuning in to celebrity chefs and competitive cooking shows in our millions ( . Where we’ll appreciate but largely ignore the macro and micronutrient analysis of the Mediterranean diet and its health benefits, we’ll gobble up Nigella Lawson sashaying about a comforting kitchen and flirting with both us, and her ingredients. No real wonder –it’s a better watch. It’s a comforting, enticing, sexy story this ‘Gastronomy’. It’s familiar. It speaks to either our actual experience, or even more importantly, the one we wish to have.
Nutrition and Gastronomy as entirely separate disciplines is utterly insane ( They’re both FOOD.


Research shows that Nutrition communication isn’t working, and yet we trot out the same methods, the same yawningly awful Dietary Guidelines and charts year after year. We scrupulously train our dietary ‘experts’ and widen the gap between those that are allowed to know about food, and those that are forever the ‘laity’. At the same time we wring our hands and wail that the public somehow doesn’t ‘understand’ ( , and that we must try harder…
 There’s a popular definition of insanity as ‘doing the same thing and expecting a different result’.
The public is perfectly capable of understanding, they just don’t buy the story. It’s high time we started listening to them. Expert voices fluent in ‘science-ese’ preaching about nutrients from ivory towers and artificially separated disciplines may continue to to-and-fro amongst themselves, but if it’s public engagement we’re after, it’s time to do away with “Oh but Nutrition is science, and Gastronomy is….not”, and start telling a better story. Listen carefully to the boredom, the frustration and the anger ( , and focus on replacing it with our most basic and hard-wired motivator –pleasure. It’s not a dirty word.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

First Preview for 'Scrumptious Science' coming to Youtube April 1st 2019, 8pm (EST)
I'd be ever so grateful if you gave it a watch and a thumbs up!

Second Preview too? Oh, alright...if you're going to be demanding...

And because everyone knows me better than that -here's an extra blooper reel for your amusement. It's amazing hard to remember your own script...:-)

So, you know how it all works -like, share, subscribe, COMMENT and please -all suggestions are more than welcome! I'm no expert :-)

Monday, March 18, 2019

My latest science communication effort is premiering April 1, 2019 (8pm EST). Hope you can join me for a cornucopia of food, science, art, history and a few saucy quips :)
Scrumptious Science S01 E01

Monday, January 21, 2019

When Lunchtime Tastes of Sunshine...

Bruschetta. It's not as di moda as it once was.
Australian cafes had a love-affair with all things Italian for a decade or so, but then they got bored and decided de-constructed something-or-other with smashed avocado (always with smashed avocado) was tante meglio, meglio cosi (so much the better). I clearly remember the gastronomical snobbery of the 'bruschetta' pronounciation days. It was right up there with the correct preparation of affogato. Hint: 'ch' is a hard sound, so it's 'Broo-sketta'. Apologies if I just ruined your millenium. Anyway...

It's fair enough too. Like so many things, the true heart of excellent Italian food isn't the recipe (although the centuries old flavour combos are pretty stonkingly amazing) -it's the produce. Bruschetta should be a riot of flavour. It should be all the sultry heat of summer soaking into a crusty piatto (plate/trencher) that is itself toothsome, tangy, and something your teeth can rip into voraciously.

Perhaps this beloved Italian summer staple fell from popular cafe favour because it was...well, a little disappointing most of the time? Supermarket tomatoes, commercial white bread, packaged parmesan, basil grown en masse, indoors, that had never even glimpsed the baking summer sun...there's a recipe for yawn right there.
I know I bang on about this, but the joy, the relish and the ultimate satiety/satisfaction doesn't actually come from the produce or recipe alone. It comes from consuming a story. it's the reason Andy Bowdy's cakes became a crazy sensation. The clever bugger made awesome, beautiful cakes -sure...but he gave each one a story and a name. Love me a good visionary :-)

The story of the Broo-sketta

In the dead of winter, a woman sits at her computer, swathed in multiple layers and scarves. She's perusing seed-catalogues and dreaming. In front of her -hundreds of enticing heirloom tomatoes whisper enticingly. Some are a thrill of unusual colour, some a perfect combination of ugly-beautiful shapes, some come with testimonials of flavour. The woman is greedy and would like them all, but she settles on 5 or 6 new options and waits by the mail-box hopefully.
When the packets arrive, even her small son is enchanted. "Can I take these to school for news Mummy?". Mummy is pleased, and allows her precious seeds to be shoved into a backpack. She sets aside a vaguely unsettled feeling.

That afternoon, a very hang-dog 6yr old comes through the back door - a scruffy harbinger of doom. Daddy looks stormy too...because he already knows. Mummy reads all the signals and steels herself.  For reasons known only to the logic of a kindergarten student, he has opened and emptied out the packets on the bus. Apparently he was "showing" people the seeds and they just kinda "fell out". She tries not to cry and fails.
Weeping complete, she peers into the packets mournfully -their bright pictures of promise holding nothing now...wait...what's that? In the tight envelope corners a few survivors! Four to be exact. 2 in each corner.They are whisked into seed-raising pots with the urgency and care of a delicate ER operation.

A few weeks later, with imperfect germination -she has two plants. TWO! They are babied and molly-coddled with that strange gardener's combination of gentleness and steely determination. The 6 yr old watches the process with some trepidation. It is lovingly dressed with wood-ash, egg-shells, sifted manures, and even decorated stones (6yr old's version of helping/penance). It is nurtured through a terrible heat-wave, and hand-watered daily. The stones are gaudy, but sweet. Mummy is reminded that he may be irresponsible, but he does try so hard to fix things when they're broken.

Finally, it is time to harvest. She plucks any fruits starting to colour and ripens them on a sunny windowsill to avoid the possibility of splitting due to intense heat and storms. These much-anticipated Brad's atomic grapes blush slowly next to volunteer cherries and the firm-fleshed Sungrape. The anticipation so much part of the coming delight.

One uncomfortably warm morning, they're ready. Brilliantly coloured and with just a tiny amount of 'give' when gently squeezed. Home-made sourdough is sliced thinly, fragrant basil is plucked from amongst sister tomato plantings, garlic pulled gently from the twisted braid. The pantry offers a local chilli & lime olive oil and a caramelised balsamic from Mudgee. A sharp parmesan from Orange is grated finely. Every ingredient has a story. Everything on this plate has been created or nurtured with passion and care. Every producer has been chatted with, laughed with. We have shared our stories.

Today, all of our tales are woven into my lunch :-) It is simplicity itself, but as rich flavour and story fire up all my neural pleasure and reward pathways, biochemical magic twinkles. Quantity is not necessary. Satiety is not signalled by the stomach's stretch receptors, but by ghrelin levels falling fast and leptin levels surging. Neurogastronomy at its finest. The story of the flavours, the pleasure, the hedonism of my immense enjoyment ensure that a small energy offering is enough...well enough. Over-eating would be...I dunno, somehow wrong. This is not to be gobbled, but savoured. This is the pleasure of the gardener.