author of Eat In: The Best Food is Made at Home
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born in Western Australia. I was the youngest of 4 kids. I was raised on Brown food- it was the 70s.
Mum cooked to fill us up; she had seven faithful dishes down pat. Tuna Mornay, meatballs, lamb stew, spag bog, sausage casserole, chops peas and mash. Every Sunday- she threw a big rolled roast into the oven and cooked it until it was grey. There was no such thing as medium rare back then!!! She was no gourmet goddess and was delighted when I took over the kitchen at the age of 11.
Yes I was schooled but left at 15 to cook in a restaurant and play music in a rock and roll band.
2. What did you want to be when you were 12, 18 and 30? And why?
When I was 12 -I desperately wanted to be 13, couldn’t wait to be a teenager!.
When I was eighteen I wanted to write a hit pop song. At 18 who doesn’t want to be a rock star?
When I was 30 I stopped wanting to get older and I wanted to be 18 again.
I thought that when I grew up I would get married have 2 children and live happily ever after with my husband.
A broken family was not in my script. But a combined family now is. Got a ripper husband take 2 and a few extra kids for free!
4. What were three big events in your life or the world around you that had a great effect on you and influenced your cooking?
Definitely visiting my Granny- she lived up in the hills and use to grow and bottle everything. Very inspirational.
Cooking on television shows and writing cook books has somewhat organised me. It was the first time I started putting my recipes down on paper. My aim was to cook food that was delicious and easily achievable, food that people would want to make in their own homes. It has definitely shaped my simplistic style.
Having children and trying to get them to eat all the good stuff has been quite a challenge and has resulted in some very clever food marketing and cheeky sneaky creations along the way.
I’d be a fool if I didn’t say travel always has a huge influence!
5. What are some dishes you wouldn’t eat as a child that you love now?
Sweet potato- it use to make my glands tingle and I thought olives were disgusting.
Eat In is my second book and I’m really proud of it. Its really a snap shot of the food I cook in my every day busy life.
From breakfast to sweet treats- feeding the kids to throwing a party- I like to think of it as some of my greatest food hits!
7. If you had to create one dish to show off your repertoire, what would it be?
An edible food topiary tree., covered in little squares of my pretty frittata. Love a bit of food sculpture.
8. Whom do you most admire and why?
There are many people I admire. This week/year its Stephanie Alexander for her endless work in getting the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden programs into more Australian primary schools.
If every school had a SAKG we would see, kids by the age of 12 educated in the growing and preparation of healthy foods and in the future a huge decrease in poor health and food related diseases in Australia.
9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
I have several but here are a few. To raise 4 well-adjusted children and hope they all grow into happy, healthy adults and combine their passions with their work. And to be living in the South West on the great southern ocean by 2016. To grow all of our own food in high alkaline beach sand with windy conditions.
Definitely ambitious and possibly insane!
10. What advice do you give aspiring chefs?
Just remember the aim is yummy.
Anna, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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