Food journalist Matt Preston has spent many long hours trawling through archives to give readers a history lesson and debunk the myths surrounding some of our favourite dishes.
The digitisation of of material has made the job easier but it is still a time-consuming challenge.
Preston, who is recognisable for his 11 seasons as a judge on Masterchef, said he began writing about the history of food in a column for Taste magazine six years ago.
"As journalist I thought it would be great to compile the columns into a book," he said. "So I started reading back and doing due diligence. I was able to check a lot of stuff that people held to be self-evident or true and find that was not the case.
"So it took five-times longer because you look at each story on the surface and peel another layer back to find these other amazing stories."
Among his research, Preston found that tuna mornay and spaghetti bolognese were recipes first seen in Australian newspapers.
"Spaghetti bolognese as we know it was (published) four years earlier than the previous existing best-known example," he said.
"Tuna mornay was always thought of as one of those things that came from the US but it was really here in Australia where that mornay idea of cream and cheese was put with tuna.
"There was an awful lot of stuff to track down and debunk. It took a long time because you have got to check every single fact. It came back to good, old-fashioned fact-checking."
The idea of debunking the origins of popular meals can be contentious. But Preston insisted cold, hard facts matter more than personal pride.
"The great leap forward from Bendigo was the invention of the Chiko Roll in 1951," he said. "Yes, it was the Wagga Show where it was first sampled but Frank McEncroe was a Bendigo man who made it himself after seeing something similar at a football match. You've got to be true to the fact. Although people say it was ours, if you find a poster from a rival that links it back, it can be a compelling truth."
World of Flavour is Preston's eighth book. He said the key to his books is ensuring the tastiest version of the dish is presented, with ingredients that are familiar to people.
"That's where we start and then we get into the history," he said.
Based in Melbourne, Preston is eyeing visits to different parts of Victoria when the state opens up.
"I'm a member of a group of food lovers called the Road Trip Club, which take regular trips around the state to eat and cook," he said. "At the moment one of the great joys about having so many great places all around the state and outside of the city is the exciting stuff going on.
"I've also got a great friend who lives in Bendigo and has a winery. That's where I want to go and get in the kitchen garden.
"It will be a joy being able to come up and find somewhere to have a good Heathcote red wine and a steak."
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