Meet the three women who inspired the cookbook.
Born in London in 1921, my Granny, Betty Carter, lived between the city and Wales until, at the height of WWII, she took off across the country to drive trucks for the British Army. Her cooking style has been shaped by the wide array of countries she’s called home: Germany, Malta, Singapore and the UK. It’s made her an imaginative cook, inspired by nature rather than a recipe book. Granny and Pop taught my dad to live off the land by growing veggies, raising their own pigs, and hunting wild pheasant and deer. Betty, now 95, still entertains in her own home, deftly turning out three-course meals.
My Nana, Leslyn Ashdown, has lived in Queensland her entire life and travelled the world a few times over with my grandpa, Cliff. In her early years Leslyn pursued a career as a legal secretary. When she gave birth to my mum in 1957, she was forced to do as the times dictated and leave the job she loved. For the past six decades Leslyn has applied that honed attention to detail, perfectionism and adventurous spirit to the kitchen. Today, aged 82, she has a foolproof recipe for everything, plus secret hacks to make cooking accessible and enjoyable.
Throughout the fifties, ladies’ tennis parties were a breeding ground for future Australian champions; not in the sport but in the art of morning tea. My husband’s grandma, Rhyle Parker, was a pro. A stenographer by day, she applied the same strict note-taking to her recipes and found she was most inspired to cook when preparing food for loved ones. Second only to her interest in cooking is Rhyle’s passion for native Australian plants. The 86-year-old is curious about their application in food andis fiercely proud of the rainforest-like garden she’s cultivated on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.