Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

I love cookbooks, I mean, I really love them. I have lots, but its just never enough.  I heard an interview with Nigella Lawson recently and she was saying she has over 4000. Well, I am not sure I could manage to even fit 4000 in my house but its certainly a nice idea!

This book, I bought a few years ago, and whilst is not in my aspirational, drool over category, it certainly has stood the test of time and is in my use regularly, practical and kid friendly category. I have just noticed it has gone into reprint, so others must agree.

This book is written by the daughter and granddaughter of the Grand Dame of Australian cooking Margaret Fulton. In the introduction her daughter Suzanne recalls her youth “We didn’t have alot, but you would never have guessed it from the food that we had at our table”……..and later, when talking about her family today; “We eat simply, the way I always have , and every meal is special. We cook together, set the table, share a bottle of wine and relax as we talk over the days activities, not unlike generations of our family have always done”

The book is a gorgeous insight into the way this family live complete with a pizza recipe contribution by Kates most adorable fiancee. (He does give credit to the woman who taught him this one, Kate’s grandmother; Margaret Fulton, Lucky him to learn from the best!!)

I think particularly when we become parents we start to question what we do, the way we live, and what our children will take out from their childhood. One of the things I have always wanted for Poppy was to have a childhood filled with an appreciation of the most delicious fresh produce, wonderful baking aromas and an understanding of how important food is not just as a sustenance, not just as a fuel but as a healthy, wonderful joy that has the ability to bring people together and nurture the soul.

Some years ago now whilst I was on maternity leave with Poppy and living three hours north of Perth, I loved having the time to pickle crayfish, make tomato chutney from the abundance of tomatoes in season that my neighbours would give me and to make masses of fig jam from the absolute glut of fresh figs that the 90 year old man from down the road would bring me in his white fishing bucket from his tree.

I would borrow books by Maggie Beer from the local library, copying her recipes into my tattered notebook because I couldn’t afford to actually buy the book. I would furiously make preserved lemons and every sort of jam with the local produce available. Most of this produce was excess, donated by a neighbour not wanting it to go to waste and I found that food cooked this way with shared produce connected people. It may have been destined to rot on the ground as it fell from a tree, but this donated fruit would be returned as a jam as a thank you, and in this process created the relationships that form communities.

In our modern life, we have become too busy, life too complex and too many take away meals have been eaten. I know my  soul craves the simplicity of a meal created with shared produce. I truly miss the simple pleasure of collecting eggs from my chickens or the satisfaction of giving scraps to the chooks, knowing that nothing in the house is left to waste.  Now, that I am in the process of changing my life and repurposing my business, I know that my connection and passion for food, slow and real food,  must play a pivotal role. It must be central to grounding my existence.

Books like The Thrifty Kitchen remind us of the power that food has. The power in its simplicity and freshness, of ingredients combined and shared, the unprocessed kind, that brings people together, the power that can bind communities and most importantly creates the memories that are the foundation of families everywhere.


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