I first started my love affair with the culinary world at the age of 8 years. My mother , a beautiful woman who you will hear about sometime on the pages of this blog was always quick to encourage her children to try any of their desired, creative pursuits. Degree of difficulty, mess and inconvenience were never considered an obstacle, so my brother and I were left to flourish in an environment where learning and knowledge were priceless treasures to be revered. Ah, this gift of intellectual inquisition is one that would stay with us forever, keeping our minds and souls young and preventing us from ever being bored. So it started with a camel covered cook book, written by the godmother of Australian kitchens, the enigmatic Margaret Fulton first published by Paul Hamlyn in 1968. I would pore through this book for hours, knowing every section and page by heart and even in its deteriorated physical state today is one book that I will never let go. From this book my version of our family Christmas Pudding was created, a simple pudding that contains only sultanas, currants and raisins as its dried fruit ingredients and boiled for 5 hours in a calico pudding cloth straight into boiling water. The moisture and flavour factor is superb and has been made on the first weekend of December, almost every year for 27 years. From Margaret’s book I have also become an endeared maker of lasagne, she terms it pasticcio as well as cherry cake, cheese straws, creme caramel and anzac biscuits.
My love of food and its culture were again inspired in my late teens when the magazine Australian Gourmet Traveller was first released. The first dish made was a Lebanese chicken with a garlic and lemon dressing. I still remember its almost over powering sensation as my taste buds were bought alive to the wonders of taste beyond the bland comparison of traditional 1970’s Anglo Australian cooking. This publication was sophisticated, beautiful and yet maintained a sense of honesty and a rawness toward food, and still does amongst the since proliferation of the commercialism of the food industry. It is a delight for the serious home cook.
The next hallmark in my culinary world was thanks to the cutest Japanese lady ever, a mother-in-law called Seiko. Never have I eaten such amazing home cooked banquets with an appreciation of the finest ingredients, balance of flavour & technique mastered. Eating her meals has been the only time in my life that I have kept eating to the point of gluttony because I couldn’t bear the experience to end.
And now . . . I am inspired to cook by my family who eats every(well, almost)dish I create with an unmatched enthusiasm that makes me never want to stop. . . thank you, every cook needs a magnificent audience.
Cooking is a lot of things. Its about expression of yourself; most passionate cooks have signature dishes that say something of their true belief about food.
Its also about science, people & places . . . but its mostly about love, the universally accepted way of getting people together, and for one generation to nurture the next.
“The people assemble in joy
Food and drink are abundant
For all generations without end
Day by day ever more flourishing
Until myriad of years hence
The pleasure will not cease”
Ancient Japanese Blessing