Christchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.
If food waste were a country, it would be the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States. Added to this immense environmental impact is the social impact: How much food is thrown away that could be eaten?
Join our guests as they share statistics and information about the various ways in which they work to repurpose food waste and save it from landfill.
It’s always seemed strange to me, to use lots of pastel colours with baby chicks and bunnies at Easter, because for us it is a turning point in our year, when weather gets cooler and we know we’re in for the long haul of winter.
Here’s a few ideas to celebrate Easter minus the pastel. Let’s usher in the cosiness of Winter with a delicious feast.
1) Hygge feast!
Easter is in the middle of our daylight savings’ transition – so it’s time to remind ourselves that the cold dark to come can be good. It’s time for soup, candles, hot chocolate and all the cosiness that is the Danish word hygge.
Grab some lamb, flatbreads and hummus to have an ancient traditional Easter feast. This works really well if you’re doing a feast with friends or whānau as it’s easy for people to bring something to contribute. (Flatbread, nuts, hummus, olives, wine… all easy stuff to pick up on the way to an event)
Yotam Ottolenghi is the authority on the mezze / Jewish inspired feast. Once you’ve had a read of his famous book Jerusalem, you’ll be wanting to make hummus galore and stuff every vegetable.
Tacos! Nachos! Avocados! You can’t go wrong with a bit of Mexican food. It’s also great because people can add bits of whatever they like to their plate, that hot sauce doesn’t have to be for everyone – but man, it can warm you up!
Looking for Mariachi vibe music to go with your food? Check out Border crossings via Smithsonian Global Sound one of our music eResources. Just log in with your library card details and stream music for free!
Easter and chocolate go hand-in-hand. Want more chocolate than just a multitude of Easter eggs? Try Indulgent Cakes for some amazing cakes:
Also, for some cosy vintage feels, try streaming Duke Ellington via Access Video (another sweet eResource) – log in with your library card details to view. Look for the song ‘Hot Chocolate’ to help you get in the literal swing of Easter.
Go classic Easter and have an egg feast! Decorate some eggs, have an egg hunt, eat chocolate eggs or even simple scrambled or fried eggs on toast would be easy and on theme. Egg is a great book for egg recipes:
Nigella Lawson, she’s the “Queen of frozen peas,” creator of the Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame and ambassador for food pleasure… And I got to meet her on Thursday night at the Isaac Theatre Royal, courtesy of WORD Christchurch and her publishers Penguin Random House.
To say I was thrilled is an understatement. It’d be more accurate to say I just about pooped my pants with excitement. But a lady sitting next to me had never read any of her books. And I saw someone online saying they felt it would be a waste of time to go see her.
How could this be? She’s fantastic! With me or not, here’s 10 reasons for you to love Nigella Lawson:
She is an inspiration to women all over the world. When asked what she thought about people always commenting on her “flaunting her tiny waist,” curves or weight; she responded: “When you get older you can ignore an awful lot, I find, it’s one of the great things… I don’t tend to care about what people think anymore.” *stands up clapping*
She’s honest about her motivations: “Because I’m greedy, I’m always thinking about what I’m going to cook.”
“People are more practiced at persecuting themselves than pursuing pleasure.” – her motto is to enjoy what you’re eating, even if it’s a slice of decadent chocolate cake.
Her advice for weeknight cooking: “My grandmother always had a schedule of food for the week… Give yourself a timetable” She explained how that not only limited stress, but would help with your food budget – and you can create strategies to use leftovers.
She’s a model mindful cook. “I love the sound that food makes… and get great pleasure from that” She’s not a fan of listening to music while cooking, “I’m very happy having the music of the food itself.” That’s mindfulness.
She isn’t a fan of restrictive diets, however she is understanding when it comes to food intolerances and allergies. She wants to make people comfortable when they enter her home. “I find it quite helpful when anyone doesn’t eat different things, it’s like painting with a different palate.” But don’t ask her why she doesn’t make sugar free cakes. “If you want sugar free… just don’t have a cake!”
She’s all about nourishing yourself emotionally and physically.
“I take great pleasure from a bowl of greens”
Hey Mums of picky eaters! Nigella was a picky eater as a kid too – there is hope! “I didn’t willingly eat anything at dinner till about 14… I loved spinach and hot chocolate.” Rest easy Mums, you may be nurturing the next Nigella.
She’s published 11 cookbooks, all of which make for great reading. Sometimes the “words” part of cookbooks can be boring, about gathering this and that fancy ingredient or implement – but her cookbooks read more like a comforting novel, all about the joys of food.
Check the list below to see what is available in our libraries.
Everything old is new again. Or so it would seem with lots of things getting a 21st century revival including sustainability, reducing food-waste, hand-made, and foraging wild foods (not that any of these things had ever really gone away).
So maybe now is the time to grab your aprons and revisit some recipes from the past.
Early last century The Press published a column with the delightful title Women’s Corner – where all matters for insertion were to be sent to the Lady Editor for consideration. While other pages of the newspaper were filled with stories of the War this column provided readers with news of weddings, who’s wearing what, who is visiting whom in the district, some news and anecdotes from overseas, and sometimes a recipe of the day.
And what recipes they are, a seemingly never ending array of pies, puddings, fritters and rissoles! Light on instruction – I think everyone just knew how to make pastry – the recipes offered us such delights as Orange Roly-Poly, Banana Pie, Rice and Meat Rissoles, and Russian Pie.
On the cooking radar around this time of year in 1917 were Baked cheese and potato cake, apple fritters, cheese pudding, Rabbit and Macaroni pie, date pudding and this recipe.
I’m not sure how easy it will be to source the ‘pollard’ – a byproduct of flour milling – or what else I could use it for since the only other pollard based recipe I came across was ‘Phosphorized Pollard for Poisoning Rabbits’ from the Bay of Plenty Times.
If you don’t find any of these 1917 recipes tempting you can find other culinary delights from New Zealand in our catalogue including Ladies, a plate.
Donna Hay’s latest cookbook is a wonderful reminder of why we continue to collect more and more celebrity cookbooks each year. The photography is stunning (I mean seriously- when did poached eggs start to look like airbrushed Hollywood starlets?), the food makes you want to nibble hopefully at the illustrations, and the writing is almost therapeutic.
Basics to Brilliance reminds me of another wondrous food bible, Nigella Lawson’s How To Eat, only with a better title (I mean, ‘How To Eat?’ – really?- you shove food in your gob and swallow it). Like Nigella Lawson, Donna Hay understands what it is like to be a home cook who doesn’t necessarily have the budget to sprinkle caviar over a salad (and yes, a certain celebrity chef did instruct me to do this), or find out where to track down ingredients so unique that I would have to do my grocery shopping on another continent. The ingredients are basic but the dishes are restaurant quality.
There is also a huge variety of recipes to choose from, from the perfect roast chicken to sticky pork ribs, to heavenly brownies. Donna Hay delivers on the ‘basics’ side by including recipes for food such as poached and soft boiled eggs. You may think this is cheating but for a cook starting out on their intimidating culinary journey, recipes like these are a godsend.
Donna Hay guides you patiently through the toughest times of your cooking life. In one instance she assures you that the ganache you are making will set so don’t be tempted to overwhip it (too late for me though sadly as I had already turned up the beater to its full potential amid much raging and cursing).
Donna Hay is often hailed as being Australia’s most popular home cook and her latest book cements this reputation. This doorstopper of a cookbook will certainly keep you in new recipes for all of next year- though of course you can actually never have enough celebrity cookbooks.
Go down to The Terraces and see the poetry on the banks by Apirana Taylor. Wander further afield and see Ōtākaro to Victoria nā Hinemoana Baker at a mini-park at 108 Victoria Street. There are also poems on power poles on Victoria Street: Whakapapa by Ariana Tikao, and Victoria Street by Ben Brown.
The splendid University Bookshop UBS will be on site at festival venues.
There’s an Antony Gormley sculpture in the river called Stay. And HEAPS more cool public art and street art.
Libraries (and free wifi)
As a librarian, it behoves me to plug our temporary central libraries. Central Library Manchester (not open on Sunday) – 1.2 km from The Piano – and Central Library Peterborough – a mere 550 metres or 7 minutes walk. There is free wifi, and computers to use as well as books, mags, etc.
If you want to find out more about Christchurch, our website has a motherlode of local history information.
Margaret Mahy Playground
Not just for kids. I am having visions of writers and festivalgoers shooting down the flying fox of an evening. Make it so.
A favourite local outing is a visit to the Canterbury Museum and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Highlights are the daffodils, the new Visitor Centre at the Botanic Gardens, gaudy, gorgeous Peacock fountain, conservatories, and the interesting Christchurch Antarctic collection at the Museum.
The Quake City exhibition is on display at 99 Cashel Street, near the ReStart container mall and gives a good insight into what Christchurch people have been through.
And well, from there it was cookbooks all the way down. And being that it’s winter and nobody really wants to go out much, I wonder if putting on a bit of a shindig with themed eating might not be the way to go? If that tickles your gastronomic fancy, then have I got the reading list for you!
First off, Dinner with Mr Darcy is not the only option for Austen fans as Cooking With Jane Austen covers similar Regency fare. Complete with food-related quotes from Austen’s work and with over 200 recipes there’s sure to be something to tempt even the most proud and prejudicial of guests.
Those looking for something a little more adult might like Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in A Cookbook. I only hope is that none of the shades is “pink”. I also suspect the name of the author “F L Fowler” is a nomme de (poultry) plume.
It’s comforting to know I’m not the only person to ever ask the “what books could I eat?” question either, in fact a book by a former pastry chef turned butcher asks just this…and what’s more provides some recipes in answer which can be found in Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books.
Meanwhile, there are certain dishes or kinds of food that are, in my mind, inseparable from the fictional characters for whom they were favourites. I often think of the Famous Five when I enjoy a ginger beer, and should I ever find myself in possession of a rock cake I’m sure I’ll make the same association.
This afternoon I had the back of my head blown off (in a good way) by a psychotherapist.
Susie Orbach is the author of a number of books, most famously Fat is a Feminist Issue which came out in the seventies and which Orbach refers to as “Fifi”, as if it’s an aggressively groomed poodle instead of a guide through the murky waters of how we feel about our bodies and food.
Despite the fact that Orbach has revisited the book in recent times, adding to it as our issues with our bodies, rather than getting better have only become more expansive and weird, she’s never re-read it because she’s not sure she’d be kind to her younger self. “I’m frightened of it”, she says. Is it a shame that we still need books like this? She thinks so.
Fifi has unfortunately stayed in print.
The discussion ranged far and wide and touched on so many things – this is mainly what has caused the metaphorical gaping hole in the back of my noggin as all the ideas have tried to escape – but always was grounded in the basic idea that western culture, or more correctly “Vulture Capitalism” is grooming us to view our bodies in completely the wrong way, and making a nice profit out of it, thanks very much.
This session solidified for me, some of the vague disquiets I’ve been feeling in recent years about self-image, messages about food, the beauty industry, and the media.
Orbach is of the opinion that painting particular foods as “bad” or “good” isn’t useful when helping people to learn how to eat well.
Refined sugar isn’t that great, but it’s not poison…They’re making it as attractive as heroin.
Regarding the “obesity epidemic”, she points out that many people of all body types eat compulsively. Focusing only on people on the larger end of the spectrum isn’t really getting to the seat of the problem. Instead of dealing with the problem eating, what you’re really focusing on is the “problem body”, which when you think about it, is kind of the wrong way round of doing things.
She’s also not a fan of dieting and views Weight Watchers and their ilk with a cynical eye, given the combination of incredibly high recidivism rates (in the 90%+ region) and that it’s incredibly lucrative.
If dieting really worked you’d only have to do it once.
Hard to argue with cold hard facts like that.
Orbach herself was anything but cold and hard. She seemed genuinely embarrassed by the applause she received and listened with great patience (occupational hazard, I guess) to an audience question that was so long-winded people were beginning to shuffle in their seats and check their watches.
The session touched on so many big ideas it’s hard to squish it down into a meagre blog post – like globalisation and how that has hastened a merge towards one acceptable version of beauty (the kind that prompts Fijian teenagers to bulimia, Korean women to jaw-shaving surgery, and plastic surgery selfie-apps for 10 year olds).
This is something that Orbach is actively working against in her work with Endangered Bodies.
Orbach also talked about her BBC Radio show In Therapy, in which she has attempted to recreate “the intimacy of the therapy session”. I have never listened to it but it sounds intriguing. Completely unscripted, Orbach interacts with actors as if it were a real therapy session. All she knows about their characters beforehand is a few brief facts and then the rest is her reacting to what the actors create. There are plans a second series and for a book based on the transcripts of the show (due out in November).
When asked for thoughts on how to help young people avoid the unhealthy body obsessions that are so prevalent now that they’re not even considered real mental health problems any more, she offered that when her own children were growing up she made sure never to express disappointment or exasperation with her body because “I wouldn’t want them to think that the way you become a grownup woman is by hating yourself”.
Which, when you think about it, is bloody good advice and it’s a bit shameful that we need it. Challenge laid, Ms Orbach. I’m going to try and follow it if I can.
I am firmly resolved not to make any New Year’s Resolutions this year.
Actually, I make the same statement at around this time of year every year without fail and invariably New Year’s Eve finds me trying to think of something that isn’t too ambitious so that I will not let myself down.
If these resolutions involve depriving myself of food or ramping up the ‘I don’t do any’ exercise regime, they are quickly kicked into the ‘totally undo-able’ bin. I have tried to commit to healthier eating and gentle, diligent exercise, but by about Day 5 I’m bored, bored, bored and bored with the whole idea. I need instant results with none of the hard labour!
To help me feel better I thought I would see whether anyone else had the same failure rate as me. Unfortunately, typing in ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ in the library catalogue came up with Judith O’Reilly’s A Year of Doing Good. The author ’embarked on a mission to do one good deed every day. Some called it a social experiment. At times she called it madness.’ My opinion is firmly anchored in the latter camp. Still, it did give me an idea… I am not making a Resolution, but I will try to read this book at some point during the year.
What ‘tried and tested’ Resolutions have proved successful for you?
Here’s a hint: your flavour of the month had better not be bacon, sausages, fruit juices, melted cheese or cupcakes. All the fun stuff, I think you will agree.
In fact, the way things are going in the world of dietary advice and precautions, you’ll be thinking you should stick to lettuce leaves. Well, you would be so wrong. According to the very latest from the food police, lettuce has absolutely no food value whatsoever and can in fact be harmful. Apparently, piling lashings of the green stuff on the side of your potential coronary just makes you FEEL better – and eat more junk.
Here’s a selection of some trending foodie books that appeal to me – in some cases for all the wrong reasons:
Gulp by Mary Roach – it has a great cover and is about the “strange wet miracles of science that operate inside us”. You’ll find the answers to questions like: did Elvis die of constipation?
Books on microbiomes. OK, now take a deep breath before you read up on the latest in faecal transplants. A good place to start is the Christchurch Press article: Is clean living shortening our lives? (4 November 2015, B3). We need to get down and dirty and restore the variety of microbes in our guts. And, unfortunately, that means we need to know more about “stool banks” and “faecal transplants”. Tim Spector is your go-to man here.
There is also the possibility that we are just being manipulated by clever marketeers. The Tastemakers tackles this possibility by asking: Why does food have to be trendy? Why can’t it just taste good? Like a toasted cheese sandwich used to taste, before it was gentrified with artisanal cheeses and ancient grain breads?
And finally, just because every blog is improved by the mere mention of sex, there is The Sex Life of Food. Maurice Sendak bills this book as being “Delicious, funny and – yes – sexy”. And I checked, there is no mention of excrement anywhere here! But, best of all – I love the author’s name – Bunny Crumpacker. I am not making this up!
Left to my own devices I would probably eat avocado on toast and cupcakes every day. Until I tired of it, that is. Maybe I should write a book on this!