NUDE Food was the norm and Instagram was not yet threatening to spoil your dinner when Richard Cornish was growing up.
Raised on a Mornington Peninsula dairy farm, the award-winning culinary writer has seen food fads come and go.
“I’d have two pieces of fruit and a sandwich in my lunch box for school,” he said.
“Everyone had Nude Food; basically because we were poor!”
However, Cornish said the societal shift to a highly-processed diet and the spread of misinformation was worrying.
“Since when can a breakfast cereal with 33 per cent sugar be called an iron man food?” he said.
“It’s outrageous and it’s a lie.”
The Melbourne-based writer of the popular Brain Food column said he fielded some thought-provoking, weird and wacky questions.
He said one concern related to why some people’s urine smelled of asparagus when they ate it; apparently some people don’t have the enzyme that caused the odour while others didn’t have the ability to smell it.
“It was the curliest question I had to do the most research on,” he said.
“The oddest question I had was about washing your hands – a guy wrote that his girlfriend thought you should wash your hands before you ate and after going to the toilet but he thought you only washed your hands when they were dirty.”
With a background in comedy and television, Cornish shifted to food writing when his daughters with Melbourne fashion designer Tiffany Treloar, Sunday and Ginger, now aged 10 and 13, were younger.
“Food is no laughing matter but it’s the attitude to food that needs to be laughed at with people being so uptight and snobbish,” he said.
Cornish said he did not believe in “super foods”.
“Loads of vegetables and whole grains enjoyed with a good, healthy appetite will always trump any diet,” he said.
“I eat at every meal cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale.
“They say: ‘A brassica a day and you’ll never die,’ which is not quite right!”
Cornish will speak at The Essential Ingredient in Dean Street on Thursday from 6pm.
Entry cost includes a signed copy of Brain Food.