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Margaret and me

Margaret Fulton's name has been inextricably linked to food in Australia for the last several decades. Few home cooks do not have at least one of her books on their shelves; many use her recipes which they go to over and over again.

Her books, the pages she created in magazines, her weekly cooking class booklets (who remembers those?) all have contributed to a solid bedrock of fine cookery and techniques for generations of Australian cooks.

And it is not only the general public who have been influenced. Margaret Fulton's own family have followed the food path she forged so long ago. This delightful book – out in time for Mother's Day – is written by Fulton's grand-daughter Kate Gibbs, a food writer of note in her own right.

Part memoir, part biography, part cookbbook, this lovely latest work for Margaret, and by Margaret (she wrote the foreword) will make an ideal gift for all who have followed the career of this doyenne of Australian cookery.

If you are new to her recipes, you should know taht she was never one to simply reheat old recipes. I remember in the 1960s when she showed us how to make pizza from scratch, and in the 70s when she flourished filo pastry in front of us, when at the time it could only be found in authentic Greek cafes! 

The reason she knew about these things when we didn't, was that she travelled overseas, doing what so many do now, digging out new recipes for old dishes, rare and unusual ingredients, something unknown at the time. For those who credit migrants with our now pan-cultural cuisine, spare a thought for this diminutive, vivacious, Scottish-heritaged cookery pioneer.

The tone of the book reflects Margaret's personality - funny, joyous, warm and witty. From a lifetime of growing up around her grandmother, and also by interviewing her more specifically for this book, Gibbs has created a book of kitchen wisdom and recipes for life, interspersed by fifty beautifully photographed recipes, Margaret's classics and Kate's modern takes on traditional dishes.

In any family this would be a lovely personal keepsake. But Margaret Fulton's cookery has always been about sharing, and it seems this is a family trait, as she and her grand-daughter have chosen to share it all with the world. 

And now a personal disclaimer: I am lucky enough to have met Margaret Fulton many times and to have sat at dinners with her. By an amazing trick of fate, long before I met her she made my wedding cake. See the story here...


Margaret and Me, by Kate Gibbs, published by Murdoch Books, May 2015, hardcover, rrp A$39.99.


- reviewed by Sally Hammond



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