Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
A Home-grown Cook: The Dame Alison Holst Story
Celebrating Dame Alison Holst’s 100th Book
Alison Holst’s name regularly occurs on “most trusted”, “most Googled” and “bestseller” lists and this November sees the publication of her 100th book. But it’s not a cookbook this time, it’s a memoir.
‘A Home-grown Cook: The Dame Alison Holst Story’ is being launched with an author tour, that begins in Southland and travels up the country raising funds for assorted charities along the way.
She's at the Tauranga Writers Festival this Sunday, and then the official "book tour" starts on 1st November in Southland. We go to: Winton, Gore, Dunedin, Oamaru, Timaru, Ashburton, Christchurch, Wellington, Paraparaumu, Levin, Palmerston North, Masterton, Te Awamutu, Cambridge, Hamilton, Thames, Pukekohe, round about Auckland generally and Napier.
“In addition to her ability to whip up a new recipe, Alison’s very kind and thoughtful,” says Canterbury based publisher Neil Hyndman whose first Alison Holst cookbook was ‘Marvellous Muffins’ in 1994, “and we think her story will resonate with a lot of different people. It’s a real slice of social history.”
About Alison Holst:
From a modest upbringing in Dunedin to becoming one of our most endearing Kiwi icons, Alison’s memoir is beautifully illustrated with family snaps, publicity shots, book cover images and product advertisements from the full spectrum of her family life and career to-date.
Beginning with teaching Home Science classes at OtagoUniversity in the 1960s and her legendary television programme, “Here’s How”, Alison has helped improve the way we prepare food for our families for six decades now. Variously described as ‘Mother of the Nation’, ‘Queen of the Kitchen’, and ‘a groundbreaker in the culinary world’, Alison is also a tireless spokesperson for our products in export markets, and works extensively with a number of charities. She was awarded a Queens Service Medal in 1983, followed by a CBE in 1987, and a Damehood in 2010.
Every page of ‘A Home-grown Cook’ glows with Alison’s gentle charm and good humour and leaves the reader with insights into a very practical approach to living a full life. I found her story fascinating and inspiring and my admiration for her has grown even more. What a Dame!
A Home-grown Cook: The Dame Alison Holst Storyby Dame Alison Holst is published by Hyndman Publishing. ISBN: 9781877382673 RRP: NZ$39.95. In shops 1 November.
The book is profusely illustrated and a selection of photos follow:
A feature of the book that really appealed to me was at the end of the book there are 10 pages showing the covers of all 100 of Alison's titles in full colour.The first 10 or so were published when I was a bookseller in Napier and I found looking at the covers from back then a nostalgic exercise. I do recall we had a launch party at Beattie & Forbes Bookshop in 1974 for More Food Without Fuss when Alison cooked in-store using an electric frypan which was a pretty new cookery gadget at that time and we were all most impressed.
Another feature I liked is the inclusion of her 17 All Time Favourite Recipes:Alison Holst’s All Time Favourite RecipesMy Mother’s Date Scones
My Father’s Rabbit (or Chicken) Casserole
Anne’s Oaty Pancakes
Stir-fried Pork and Vegetables
Easy ‘No Knead’ Pizza
Golden Fruit Cake
Crunchy Lemon Muffins
Self-crusting Potato and Vegetable Quiche
Chunky Fish Chowder (cooked in a slow cooker)
And here is number one for you to try, taken from the all time favourite list in the book:
My Mother’s Date Scones
No one could make scones better than my mother. They melted in your mouth. Sometimes, over a weekend, she’d make six batches of scones, feeding all and sundry.
2 cups high grade flour (bread flour) – spoon the flour into your measuring cup without packing it
½ tsp salt
2 level Tbsp baking powder
½ cup dates (chopped in half)
50 g butter (melted)
1. Sift dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl.
2. Add chopped dates.
3. Add milk to melted butter and stir into dry ingredients. Careful not to over-mix. Mixture should be lumpy.
4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into a rectangle shape (work with dough as lightly as possible). Should make 6 to 8 good sized scones.
5. Spray oil onto a baking tray. Place scones closely together to the tray and bake at 225°C for 10 to 12 minutes, until tops are golden.