Julia grew up in a family of women who loved to cook and garden, but was in her 20’s before she became interested in more than licking the eggbeater and bowl or picking flowers.
In the early 1900’s Julia’s paternal grandmother was apprenticed to a German delicatessen in the north of England where she learned the art of making black pudding, salami, a big range of sausages and other small goods. She was only 14. The family emigrated to NZ in 1927. Here Grandma, like many women of her era, cooked and baked up a storm. Her cake tins were always full and she produced magic results from an early coal gas oven. Julia’s grandparents also grew berry fruits and had a bountiful vegetable garden in their small backyard. Julia’s maternal grandmother was left a widow with three young children and ever-resourceful, she turned her love of cooking into buying a tearoom and later became a hotel cook (back then women were not called chef). She worked into her 70’s.
She made her own laundry soap, preserved eggs, salting down beans and anything else that could be bottled or canned. Somehow she always found the time to keep a good vegetable and flower garden. Julia’s mother always experimented with new recipes for the family and in the 1960’s daringly rubbed the wooden salad bowl with a single clove of garlic. Her meals were always wonderful.
Julia’s sister was an excellent and inventive cook, working in food and leasing a restaurant in Nelson and always kept a great vegetable garden. Julia’s father found the ideal use for the hand operated gadgetry available at the time by making all the family’s bottled fruit. Her grandfather, father and uncle were grocers back in the time before packaging and supermarkets, always looking for the best quality and value for their customers. In starting The Cook’s Kitchen Julia is continuing the legacy of her food loving forebears.