Hi fellow food lovers. I’m Susan – AKA the Kiwi Cook – from, you guessed it… the best little country in the world – New Zealand (Aotearoa). I live in Levin, a large town within the Horowhenua District (in the lower half of the North Island) – in a beautiful area nestled between the ranges and the west coast. The photo above is looking out from the top of the lower ranges (yes, I actually managed to walk up there!), out over Levin and towards the sea.
New Zealand is a melting-pot of indigenous Maori and settlers from all around the world. My Dutch father came to New Zealand along with the first wave of Dutch immigrants in 1952 and married my Kiwi mum. Her forebears arrived in the mid-late 1800s from England and Scotland. So, I’m a Kiwi-Dutch-British hybrid – a rather interesting mix! As you can imagine, the food I grew up with reflected those cultures and mum (as the chief cook and bottle washer) deftly combined them into a perfectly coordinated repertoire of meals.
Unlike my mum, who had to learn how to cook quick-smart from the age of 18, I seem to have started late in the game. Ask anyone who knows me, and they’d tell you how surprised they were when I started a food blog at the ripe old age of 50! Yes, I ate food (all too well).. but as much as possible, avoided cooking it. Any time spent in the kitchen was a necessity rather than a calling. However, when my old oven died (actually it had been dying for years and all I really used was the stove top) and I was forced to get a new one (well, an old new one), I suddenly discovered the unadulterated joy of baking. No-one was more surprised than me! In quick succession there was a new mixer (which added a whole new dimension) and an ever increasing range of gadgets and ingredients.
A couple of years on, and the passion hasn’t subsided. In fact it’s grown. But, as a full-time slave to work (I’m an artist, tutor, writer and editor), my culinary experiments are pretty much confined to weekends. It’s then that I get to throw on the frilly apron and get all domestic. Being a sweet tooth from way back, it has to be said that desserts and baking are what I enjoy making the most. Meals… not so much. I don’t have good childhood memories about vegetables – my earliest recollections are of hurling cold peas out the dining room window once everyone else had left the table. It’s nothing I need to see a counselor for, but something I definitely need to address.
Luckily, I’m being ever so gently coaxed into extending my cooking experiences and repertoire by ‘The Daring Kitchen’. Thanks to their monthly cooking and baking challenges, I’m opening myself up to new, exciting (and sometimes downright weird) foods from around the world. My taste buds are being revitalized and I’m learning how to cook and bake way beyond my modest expectations. Heck, I’m even learning to appreciate vegetables!
If I had to be prodded into revealing my food philosophy, I’d say that I don’t believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach to eating. I think it’s important to let your body guide you as to what it needs and when it needs it. After years of experimenting with almost every fad diet out there, I’ve discovered that what works best for me is following a diet rich in natural whole foods most of the time. I don’t necessarily avoid any types of food, though I do limit processed foods and sugars, gluten-based products, alcohol and caffeine, reserving those for occasional treats. So, I guess, at the end of the day, I’m an ‘everything in moderation’ kind of gal.
So that’s me… Thanks for taking the time to read about my unanticipated adventure into food blogging. I hope you feel inspired to go and cook something and share it with the people you’re closest to. After all, that’s what’s so great about cooking, isn’t it…
Susan, AKA Kiwicook
Cooking is love made visible