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.

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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.

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