Lightning Review: Annabel Crabb’s Kitchen Cabinet

by The Editor

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The Canberran prefers to stay away from politics, especially in these times of leadership uncertainty.  In fact, we’re so naiive when it comes to such things that for all we know, backbenchers are people who arrive late for dinner at Debacle.

It’s hard to resist though, when food and wine is served with a couple of lashings of familiar politicians, last night in the form of Annabel Crabb’s Kitchen Cabinet.  We couldn’t help but tune in and see what it was all about.

Let’s face it. Annabel is the perfect host for such a program. Cheeky, intelligent and witty, she would be welcome at anyone’s dinner party.  However despite her charms, watching Christopher Pyne, Amanda Vanstone and Annabel stand awkwardly around the kitchen and making small talk during the early stages of the show reminded me of far too many past dinner parties I’d rather forget.  Still, both the pollies are from South Australia, so at least the wine should have been of a decent standard.

As is bound to happen though, once guests are seated at the table, the wine is uncorked and the conversation finds its rhythm, things get more interesting.

Well, not quite yet.  There’s still a bit of positioning, revealing the history of how both Chris and Amanda found their way into Parliament, and what it meant for them to be South Australian.  It was all a bit run-of-the-mill at this stage, but the time the main course is served, we were beginning to discover what makes them both tick.  I guess that’s what happens when you have a journo at your table.

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The most interesting line of the evening was from Christopher Pyne who stated quite emphatically he didn’t like Julia Gillard.  This is an interesting line, especially given the numerous comments throughout media about Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard’s smouldering affections for each other.  It was surprising Mr Pyne could find nothing admirable about the current (at time of writing) PM, and be so capable of reducing the discussion down to a Hanson-esque “I don’t like it.”

For Vanstone’s part, the entertainment was provided by her unflagging grip on the wine bottle.  Clearly she missed the good reds during her diplomatic posting in China.

If the conversation lulled, Annabel has the nouse to delve into the history of Vanstone and Pyne to dig for other pearls.  By the time Annabel’s Persian  Love Cake landed on the table, we had been subjected to an education on the others by stealth.  Although Kitchen Cabinet is easy-watching, it served to educate the viewers on leaders who so often deliver rehearsed lines via doorstop interviews, or yell childishly across the floor of the House.  While it would be difficult to describe either Pyne or Vanstone as ‘endearing’, after last night’s Kitchen Cabinet we could at least describe them as ‘human’.

Unfortunately we were not treated to the recipe for Annabel’s Persian Love Cake.  If anyone out there has it, care to pass it on?

Update:  Keen-eyed Tweeter @carlajd1 has pointed out that the well organised ABC website has the recipe here.  Hurrah!

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