The Booktopia Book Guru asks
author of Once a Month Cooking
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 Townsville, raised in Fremantle, and have settled in Gympie which is a small town two hours north of Brisbane. I met my husband here on a holiday 15 years ago and never went home. I adore being a housewife, being a mother is about a thousand times harder than I thought it would be and Facebook has been my salvation for some sanity and I’d happily call myself addicted. My ideal day would be having the family home and cooking a Margaret Fulton apple pie from scratch before enjoying a nice glass of red on the veranda.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
At 12 I wanted to be a children’s author, I had compiled quite a few stories then my little brother wiped my computer and I didn’t try again as I was so shattered. At 18 I wanted to be a nightclub owner (I thought it would be cool – now I couldn’t think of anything worse – I don’t even like music!). And 30 all I wanted to be was a housewife home with the kids. I’ve always had a ‘drive’ to do something; it just didn’t happen for me until my mid 30’s.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
At 18 I believed that love was the most important thing in the whole world – that if you had it, everything no matter what would be okay (hopeless romantic). Now I know that it isn’t everything, that although it is important, trust, honesty, humility and a sense of humour can be just as important. My husband isn’t just someone I love, but my best friend too.
To tell the truth I’m not into art at all – I don’t really ‘get it’. If I had to say what ‘thing’ affected and influenced me, it would probably be this little $2 cookbook from the Noosa Hospital that they were selling as a fundraiser. I was interested in cooking, but was terrible at it. I wanted a simple cookbook with simple recipes – and these were so easy, affordable –and the money went to a good cause. Still to this day I flick through that cookbook – it was inspiring and a real treasure.
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a book?
I write the same sort of thing every day for my website, but there is something about a real book, the smell of paper. Being able to flick through paper, look at pictures. Having something tangible that I could share with people that aren’t internet savvy.
Well it’s exactly as it sounds, it’s how to cook literally once a month! And to use your freezer to your advantage. I’ve learned to freeze everything now, school lunches, casseroles, pies and cakes.
I cook when I’m in the mood (or when I’ve run out of food) and fill my freezer so that in the evenings most of the work is done. So that when I want take-out, a hot lunch or a nice slice of cake when friends come by – I’m prepared for it. Having two babies in a year has taught me to be super organised – and give more time back for me.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your book?
I hope that people will realise that they don’t need to be great cooks to cook great meals. And that organisation and prioritising your time is a necessity for busy people, because in today’s busy world, if you don’t have time for you, you will break – eventually!
This book is about how I created more time in my busy life and I’d love to share that – because if I hadn’t of done this, I’m pretty sure I’d be sitting in a straight-jacket around now.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
Well, being a huge history buff, I’m a HUGE fan of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory. They capture the essence of the Tudor period in England – I feel like I’m right there – it takes a special writer to do that! In cookbook world, there is no one better than Margaret Fulton – she is my hero!
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
I have the usual goals people have, to be financially stable, a new car would be nice, to be able to afford the things I like rather than buying just what I can afford, but I would have to say that my ultimate goal would be to study history and perhaps become a historical fiction writer. I’m rather obsessed with the Tudor period of England (and even have a Tudor Rose tattooed somewhere on my body). I own over 400 books on the subject, don’t ask me what aspect of it I could possibly write about – but I would like to have to the time to find out one day!
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Just write from the heart, and write. Do it for yourself, if someone publishes it – that’s a bonus.
Jody, thank you for playing.