Author Liz Harfull had absolutely no idea what she was starting when she came up with what seemed like a reasonable idea for her first book – capturing the stories of South Australian country shows and the long-standing traditions of their cookery competitions.
Published in September 2008, The Blue Ribbon Cookbook has become a best-seller, now it its fourth print run, and much praised by critics and home cooks alike. It even took the bemused author to Paris where it was named runner-up in the most hotly contested category of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards against finalists from more than 50 countries. Who would have thought a celebration of amateur cooks and the humble arts of country baking and preserve making in the antipodes would end up in the gourmet capital of the world!
Now, after several years’ more research and criss-crossing the country from Dinninup in south-western WA to Bream Creek in Tasmania, the much anticipated national version is finally ready to test the skills of home cooks and would-be blue ribbon winners across the nation. This time Liz has captured the stories of 70 show cooks and show cooking families, and the wisdom, knowledge and generosity of spirit that brings success, even for novices.
There are all the same features that readers loved about the first book – images that capture the spirit and traditions of country and royal shows, past and present; recipes that have been used to win first prizes; secret tips from the cooks themselves, often handed down through generations; and special tips from the judges if you want to take the next step and enter in your local show.
Hardcover, 240 pages, colour throughout. RRP $39.99. Published by Allen & Unwin. Due to be released in late March 2014.