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The ABC of Kiwi Food by Jane Hingston

Food we all need it, we all love it and we all think we can cook it. But how much do we actually know about the origins of some of our iconic brands?

Jane Hingston's latest tome is part cook book, part history book and part beautiful photography. The ABC of Kiwi Food Afghans, Barbecues and Chocolate Fish is a collection of some of the more popular and famous types of foods to be found in Kiwi kitchens up and down the land.

Through its 128 pages, the book takes a trip from A (afghans) to Z (Zoi biscuits) in a colourful, educational and amusing way. Predominantly most of the pages are confined to detailing the finer details of how such foods as Chelsea Buns, Belgium biscuits were created and came to be part of our national psyche.

There's a somewhat scattergun approach to recipes not every alphabetised food has a recipe and some of the ones I'd love to have known how to perfect (such as the ultimate batter for fish and chips) are given a wide berth.

But I guess that's what other cookbooks and old wives tales are for and in her introduction, Jane herself says the book doesn't set out to analyse cuisine but rather to take an informal look at the stuff Kiwis eat.

It's the quirkiness of this book which appeals to me in a section talking about rhubarb, rather than simply detail how yummy it can be in crumbles (trust me) there is a chilling tale from Oamaru in the 80s where a boy died after eating rhubarb there are also various 50s and 60s labels scattered throughout the pages which give it that Kiwiana kind of feel.

The recipes themselves are simply laid out and would give any newcomer to these shores a very simple idea of how food is made and how easy it is to do.

The history of the foods are deftly researched and while on first glance, the pages seem light with text, they're actually rich with information and every word has been precisely chosen.

The ABC of Kiwi Food Afghans, Barbecues and Chocolate Fish is an interesting addition to the gourmet's book shelf it's a nostalgic slice of Kiwiana which would be best served with a hint of family and seasoned with some time in the kitchen experimenting with some of our finest cuisine.

RATING: 7/10

The ABC of Kiwi Food - Afghans, Barbecues and Chocolate Fish by Jane Hingston
RRP: $29.99
Available: Now