I'm super proud to introduce to you my talented daughter Rose, who collaborated with me on our beautiful new book A Free Range Life: Together. So you can get to know her better I asked her to write a few words about herself. You can find out more on her website, Facebook and Instagram – Annabel
I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Mum when I was growing up, and always loved baking, but it wasn’t until I left home that I realised how much I loved cooking and how important it was to me.
I finished high school at 17 and before commencing my uni studies took a gap year and headed off to Stockholm for a design internship. It was the depths of winter, I was dreadfully homesick and I missed our family dinners (they would go on for hours, much to the dismay of my angsty teenage self). So I started cooking for the family I lived with, bringing everyone together for a shared meal each Sunday. It gave me so much joy and I then realised that cooking made me and other people happy.
For me, cooking is so much more than mere sustenance. Cooking and the rituals around it make me feel connected with nature, the people around me and myself. Nothing makes me happier than heading off to the market and coming back with a big haul of fresh produce. I love to cook up a storm, open a bottle of wine, listen to some music, light a few candles and have a feast with my friends and family.
While it’s not every day I have time for the full performance, I try to incorporate elements of these rituals into my everyday life. Even the simple act of transferring storebought food from a plastic container to a ceramic plate, using real cutlery and putting your phone down while you eat, makes you feel cared-for, present and engaged.
I have always loved to travel, and I make it a priority to save whatever I can so that whenever I have time I can head off on an adventure. I love the freedom of having a small backpack on my back and the world at my fingertips. I find new cultures and people to be a constant source of inspiration. Much like my mother, I’m very curious and always seeking to discover what people around the world eat and learn about their cultures around food.
A few years ago I spent a few months in Jaipur, India, working as a volunteer in an orphanage for girls. The household was strictly vegetarian, and being there 24/7 I too adopted this diet. During this time I learnt a lot about Indian cuisine and how affordable, easy and healthy it is to live on vegetables. I now eat a predominantly plant-based diet for various reasons, and find that I just feel better when I’m eating mostly plants.
Throughout my student years I learnt how to be resourceful with what is at hand and how to make food taste good without having a generous budget. At boarding school and then at college in Melbourne I’ve learnt to cook with very limited resources – it’s amazing what you can do with a kettle, a fridge, a hand blender and a grater!
I completed my arts degree in Melbourne, majoring in English Literature and Philosophy, and a diploma in French. I spent my final year studying in Paris. After graduating I returned to Melbourne and spent a year working on various projects in food and sustainability. I’m now based in Brooklyn, New York, where I’m working in marketing for a food company and continuing my culinary adventures in the kitchen and around the city.
I’m passionate about sustainable food systems, food security and the future of food. Like many of my generation, I’m deeply aware of the pressure the world faces with regard to resources, climate change and population growth, among other challenges. I am interested in exploring ways to live more lightly, use less, value nature and find the connections that make us feel empowered to make change.
I feel that if you can learn how to create a good life through experiences and ideas, rather than things, then you can build a life that feels rich and rewarding and useful.
Stay tuned for more!