Flavoured with time

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By MATTHEW DAL­LAS

A recipe book con­ceived by res­i­dents and staff at a Porirua re­tire­ment vil­lage is as much about fam­ily his­tory as it is food.

From Grey to Gourmet was launched at Sum­mer­set at Aotea on Satur­day, a col­lec­tion of 100 recipes, many hav­ing been closely-guarded fam­ily se­crets and each re­veal­ing a crumb or two of per­sonal his­tory.

The book came about af­ter cafe su­per­vi­sor Su­sanne Boest de­cided all the old fam­ily recipes dis­cussed or at­tempted at the re­tire­ment vil­lage’s cook­ing classes needed to be doc­u­mented and kept alive.

Cakes and slices dom­i­nate the book – many rarely seen in 21st Cen­tury cof­fee shops – but there are also soups and main dishes.

Each recipe bears a per­sonal touch, be it a child­hood mem­ory of the dish or an old pho­to­graph.

Res­i­dent John Nay­lor con­trib­uted gin­ger parkin, a sweet, thick slice. Back in Eng­land he says it was of­ten gobbled around the bon­fire on Guy Fawke’s Night.

Mar­garet Selby- Bennett’s fam­ily recipe for a sim­ple choco­late slice re­counts the days of wood- fu­elled ovens, and there is also a short­cake recipe from the 1800s.

‘‘Most of the recipes have some sort of story with them,’’ Ms Boest said.

A lot of the Sum­mer­set res­i­dents are English or Euro­pean, bring­ing a range of cul­tural flavours and tra­di­tions to the book, she said, and all the recipes were tried and tasted.

‘‘There was some­thing miss­ing in one of the cob­blers.’’

Ex­tend­ing the fam­ily feel to the project, Ms Boest’s daugh­ter typed up all the recipes and scanned the pho­to­graphs, while res­i­dent Mar­garet Hobbs, who con­trib­uted the recipe for her mother’s date scones, did the lay­out on her com­puter.

Fel­low res­i­dent Bob Burns came up with the catchy ti­tle. His re­ward? Be­ing the cover model. Alan Wick­ens con­trib­uted pho­to­graphs of lo­cal scenery and Dorothy Shea wrote a poem, Happy Cook­ing!, which has been printed at the front of the book.

Thirty-three cakes and slices from From Grey to Gourmet were baked for Satur­day’s launch, with many res­i­dents’ fam­ily mem­bers help­ing out.

Five- hun­dred copies have been printed at $20 each and all have been pre-sold, with a con­tri­bu­tion of the profit go­ing to Arthri­tis New Zealand. Ms Boest said a sec­ond print­ing was expected and any­one in­ter­ested in a copy should contact Sum­mer­set at Aotea. A copy signed by ev­ery per­son who con­trib­uted a recipe is to be auc­tioned at a later date.

Trea­sured treats: Recipes passed down through the gen­er­a­tions make up From Grey to Gourmet, a recipe book by res­i­dents and staff at Sum­mer­set at Aotea re­tire­ment vil­lage. Clock­wise from front right, Pam Scher­m­ers, Val Carr, John Nay­lor, Mar­garet Hobbs and Cafe su­per­vi­sor Su­sanne Boest.

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