Tag Archives: The Essential Ingredient

Food and family: this is where our stories begin..

Canberra is a small city, so a book launch for two really enticing cookery books, is not to be missed.

We arrived at the speciality kitchen shop, The Essential Ingredient, to hear Emiko Davies and Tessa Kiros talk about their beautifully illustrated cookery books, called Tortellini at Midnight,and Provence to Pondicherry respectively.

Emiko Davies demonstrating her cooking at her book launch

It was an inspiring afternoon, full of wonderful stories of food, family and traditions, in Italy and France (and some food tasting and wine later).

Emiko Davies is Australian-born with a Japanese mother and an Australian father. When she left home to travel the world, Emiko lived in Italy for a while. On a cold miserable night in Florence she made a meal for a young man she did not know very well. All she had in the fridge was broccoli, pecarino and some garlic. When he began to eat the meal he said ”I’m going to marry you!” and two years later they did get married!

The cover of Emiko’s book Tortellini at Midnight

Emiko now lives in Italy with her husband and two children. She has written three cookery books, but in this one she shares stories and some of her favourite recipes from her Italian family. These recipes she has learnt through tasting and watching, usually from the kitchen table.

I cooked the recipe called Nonna Anna’s meatballs (Polpette di Nonna Anna) and it was delicious!

Tessa Kiros was born in London to a Finnish mother and a Greek Cypriot father. When she was young the family moved to South Africa.

Tessa Kiros talking about her writing life in Italy

She is now married to an Italian, living in Italy, and she has written and published many books on food, family and the countries that inspire these recipes.

Provence to Pondicherry by Tessa Kiros

Her most recent book is called Provence to Pondicherry: Recipes from France and Far Away.   Tessa re-traces the steps of early French explorers travelling to Guadeloupe, Vietnam, Pondicherry in India, La Reunion, and Normandy in France.

Tessa has written many books and my favourite is her first book called Falling Cloudberries. 

Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros

She wrote this book about her family, starting with her grandparents, taking each one and weaving the memory of them into stories and  traditional recipes, giving a rich and colourful family history. The title is taken from her memory of living in Finland, and picking the falling cloudberries.

My mother had an old recipe book called “Ouma’s Cookery Book” full of practical recipes for life after the war when food was scarce and people ‘made do’. The book is also full of quotes and comments about life, and could be used as a social history book too.

I love this dear old book because it is a companionable reminder of my mother, and I still have some of her hand written recipes tucked into some of the pages.

It seems, no matter where you come from, food and family create the first memories, and this is where your stories begin..

During a time when I was teaching English to children newly arrived in Australia, a little girl from Lebanon came to me with her painting…all I could see were three colourful moving circles, and a bright yellow sun in the corner of the page. I asked her to tell me about the painting and she said:

“these are my aunties, sitting in the sun, eating, talking and laughing”

Sometimes a happy memory of food and family doesn’t have to be part of a book, it is just a snapshot of life that stays in your heart….

Do you have a favourite recipe, or a cookery book that brings back family memories?

 

(My apologies for some of my photos, they were taken with my Iphone.)

Copyright: Geraldine Mackey All Rights Reserved