Monday, December 12, 2016

At the Beach : A Cookbook Memoir

At the Beach: A Cookbook Memoir
By Margaret Brooker
Published by New Holland
Paperback, $34.99

 “In summer, life revolves around the tides. The crayfish pots need to be cleared and rebaited at low tide. And paua is most easily gathered at low tide. At high tide the surf and swimming are better. Meal times get shunted, becoming later and later. But it doesn’t matter. We are on holiday. It’s Flat Point time.” – Margaret Brooker

 A place at the beach is part of the collective New Zealand dream, and food writer Margaret Brooker’s own long held dream came true with the purchase of a holiday house along the remote Wairarapa coastline.

In her evocative cookbook memoir At the Beach she shares the pleasures of taking time out with her family at Flat Point, with fishing tales and other anecdotes of quiet coastal life, where books, board games, beach walks, swimming and boating fill the days.

For Margaret time out is an opportunity to potter about in the kitchen, cooking at a relaxed pace. She intersperses her story with over 75 versatile and practical recipes for both summer and winter, ranging from fast and flavoursome to slow-cooked and aromatic, from nibbles to desserts. Her beach-food philosophy is all about improvising ingredients with whatever is to hand, simplifying recipes to work with less. She makes the most of crayfish and other locally caught seafood, and bakes her own bread.

The book’s photographs, taken by Margaret and her daughter Charlotte, evoke the changing beauty of the coastal landscape and vignettes of beach house life. At the Beach captures the essence of leisurely living, with good food at its heart.


Margaret Brooker is a freelance food writer, who lives in Wellington, and sometimes the Wairarapa, with her husband and two daughters. She has a Diploma of Food and Wine, achieved with Distinction, from Leith’s School of Food and Wine in London, and for several years lectured in the Bachelor of Culinary Arts and Business at Le Cordon Bleu Institute New Zealand. Over the course of her food

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