Paula Green reviews The RNZ Cookbook on NZ Poetry Shelf


Paula Green has reviewed The RNZ Cookbook: A treasury of 180 recipes from New Zealand’s best-known chefs and food writers edited by David Cohen and Kathy Paterson for NZ Poetry Shelf:

oven baked salmon


I like my fat cooking pot
I like my fat wild heart


Paula Green from Cookhouse (AUP, 1997)

When my debut poetry collection came out, I was flicking through the NZ Listener and spotted a recipe for oven baked salmon on the food page. I earmarked it as I love salmon, but when I went back to cook it – I realised it was my poem from Cookhouse. (AUP, 1997). The page included a photo of my book and one by Marcella Hazan, one of my favourite Italian food writers. It was a sign that food and poetry go well together. I have often thought it would be great if NZ food magazines including a poem each month!

A couple of early reviewers criticised Cookhouse for its reliance on the domestic and the presence of food, but I decided the domestic and food will never be redundant in poetry or fiction! One of my favourite poets in Aotearoa, Ian Wedde, elevates his writing with a salt and pepper food presence. The sensory layers are so satisfying.

Celebration time! The sumptuous RNZ Cookbook, edited by David Cohen and Kathy Paterson, gets me musing about writing and reading poems and making food.

Read the full review here.