Annabel Langbein is a national treasure,a perennial favourite of New Zealand cooks. Here she gives her view on good food practice, and opts for duck instead of turkey for Christmas.
My television series Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook struck a chord with viewers with its emphasis on getting back to the land, eating seasonally and rediscovering forgotten domestic arts such as bread making and beekeeping. All around the world there is a shift towards living a simpler life. Lots of skills that have been lost by our consumer-driven generation are being revived and valued again.
Growing vegetables, keeping chickens, baking and making preserves when fruit is at its peak are simple acts that embrace a spirit of resourcefulness. Whether you’re making breadcrumbs from old crusts, saving scraps for the compost bin or worm farm, freezing overripe bananas for smoothies or cakes, or making stock from the carcass of a roast chicken, it’s about appreciating what we do have instead of constantly clamouring for more.
Introducing small elements of positive change into your day doesn’t have to be a chore – in fact it’s a sure-fire way to feel good about yourself. You feel so virtuous when you refuse a plastic bag at the dairy, wrap the kids’ lunches in kitchen paper instead of plastic, or choose to buy sustainable fish varieties, free-range eggs and freedom-farmed pork.
A more resourceful and sustainable way of life doesn’t need a big backyard or lots of spare time. Even on days when the big picture threatens to overwhelm you, crafting good food offers a simple way to feel useful, successful and connected. There’s a deep satisfaction to be found in creating a life around the kitchen table, nourishing yourself as well as others.