I was sixteen before I realised that beetroot and asparagus also came in tins.
I grew up on an old subdivided orchard, eating peaches warm from the sun and making plum jam. My father grew tomatoes and corn and beans. I collected eggs freshly laid by brown chickens in straw-lined boxes.
Things I remember: being chased by geese*, toast soldiers with soft boiled eggs, not liking the outdoors, having a security guard**, making pancakes with stewed rhubarb, a refusal to eat sandwiches and being made fun of at school for eating samosas for lunch***.
Rumour has it that my first solid meal was Indonesian fried rice, laced with chilli, shrimp and tiny clams.
I grew up with raw ingredients. I made soufflé and pancakes and chocolate brownies and bottled peaches and apple crumble.
And I failed home-economics at high school. I don’t think I even tried. Food was something I did, not something I thought about. So I studied philosophy and then went to law school. I learnt to think and to argue (I had some natural flair vis-a-vis arguing ...).
Now, as an office-working, city dwelling, high-heel wearing woman I face the choice between convenience food and food miles. Balancing overtime and slow-cooking. Supporting local small industry on a budget. Food miles and imported artisan cheese. I think about food now.
I’m curious about what I eat. I’m interested in where things begin. But mostly, I just love to cook.
* Still terrified by geese to this day.
** My parents were both city-working office types (the farm was really just a bit of lifestyle choice). The guard was something to do with my father’s work, and is memorable mostly for the reason that my cat once crawled onto the roof of his car and he accidently drove away with it. The cat fell off some several miles down the road, was missing several days and returned with a broken leg. And lived to continue to terrorise the chickens from the roof of their coop.
***Indian curry puffs, which my mother learnt to make whilst living with an Indian community in Fiji. These, unsurprisingly, attracted significant attention from the other sandwich eating kids.