Cooking Up a Book

They say the best way to eat an elephant is one mouthful at a time. When we embarked on the challenge of creating our latest cookbook it felt like an elephant size task – thankfully the mouthfuls were a lot tastier.

The chatter from Nourish fans about a possible cookbook was growing louder, so last June Harriet and I took ourselves off for a weekend in Hawke’s Bay to create a plan. How could we fit the extra workload into our busy schedule? More goes on at Nourish HQ than many people know. Between Nourish editions we produce a quarterly magazine for Bidfresh, we create recipes or styled shoots for other food businesses as well as running events like the Matariki Dish Challenge. What we decided after that weekend was, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Our first task was to narrow down what recipes would fill the pages. Debates raged. To ensure our normally fun workplace returned, we decided on three core principles that the recipes had to tick.

Number one – would we or do we make this regularly?

Our clear goal for this book was always that it should be the cookbook that stays in your kitchen. There is no point putting it away on the shelf, as you’ll be reaching for it again and again.

Number two – does it teach you something?
As good cooks we often take for granted what we know and what we instinctively do when cooking, be this using leftovers, or knowing why a sauce split. We want everyone to be able to cook with this confidence, and so many of the recipes we chose are foundation recipes: once learnt they can be adapted and changed – from our basic vanilla cake to the perfect roast chicken.

Number three – ingredients. If this book was going to be one people cooked from every day, it needed to use everyday ingredients.

Friends rallied around to volunteer to be taste testers. Word soon got out that Fridays were the days to pop in for lunch and clean up shoot leftovers. But we didn’t just need help eating the copious amounts of food produced, we needed the immense talent of the core Nourish team.

Sara Cameron, who takes our words and images and turns them into beautiful pages. Ashlee DeCaires and Brydie Thompson, the women behind the lens who always see our vision and then exceed it. Nikki Crutchley, who has to read every word without ever getting to take a bite as she proofreads our work over and over again.

Then there is our family and friends, the people who believed in us even when they were over eating lasagne for the fifth night in a row!

Then it’s you, our reader. We hope you love this book, as it was written with you in mind. Buy it, love it, cook from it and we might just be convinced to do it again.

Words Vicki Ravlich-Horan, Images Brydie Thompson and Ashlee DeCaires


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