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Interview: Annabel Inglis talks about YUM!

Annabel Inglis studied at University of Otago achieving a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology, Art History) and a Bachelor of Consumer Applied Sciences (Consumer Food Science, Marketing). Following a career in advertising across Wellington, Auckland and Oxford UK, Annabel returned to New Zealand and joined the Recipe Development team at My Food Bag. Also working behind the scenes at Nude Food, Annabel contributed to Nadia magazine. Sharing a passion for creating healthy but delicious recipes, Annabel and Nadia often dreamed of publishing a collection of their favourite recipes that could be enjoyed by children and adults alike and the idea of YUM! was born. Annabel lives in Christchurch and is a mother of two sons (aged 4 and 7) and a daughter (aged 1 1/2 - who was born during the book writing process of YUM!)

Can you tell us a little about the new book?

We created the book we wish we owned ourselves when we had our first borns! The book combines nutritional information (written by paediatric dietitian co-authors Jenny and Lisa) with over 100 recipes. The majority of the recipes are designed for the entire family to enjoy together - to save having to cook a seperate meal for children and adults. Theres a large focus on packing in as much nutrition as possible into every meal, all the while satisfying even the fussiest of eaters. Everything had to get the big tick from our own kids before it made the final cut!

The book was a collaboration, can you tell us about the process on how the book came together?

Nadia and I formed a friendship when we both lived in Auckland, bonding over our shared love of food. We often said it would be fun to write a kids book together one day to share all our favourite family recipes. It started from there but paediatric dietitians Jenny and Lisa were soon brought onboard to make sure we had helpful and accurate nutritional advice.

Lisa and Jenny are based in Dunedin, Nadia in Arrowtown and myself in Christchurch so we met regularly on zoom….it was quite the scene looking back: I would be breastfeeding my 2 week old baby, Nadia would be in her glasshouse watering her seedlings while the dietitians would be inbetween seeing clients. Our own juggling of life really reinforced to us that all recipes in the book must be super simple (quick and using ingredients that readers have in the pantry already).

What research was involved?

The nutritional advice provided is all well-researched and from credible sources - the challenge was to write this in an easily digestible and informative tone for our readers. We didn’t want it to feel like a textbook, so the tone is upbeat and practical.

The other main form of research was market research. We already knew (from our own experiences raising children) that there was a real gap in the market for a book like this. We spoke to lots of parents and asked them what they wanted in the book. They wanted adaptable and flexible recipes and inspiration for ways to introduce their children to new flavours. They also wanted fun ways to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into their childrens diets.

What was your routine or process when writing this book?

Nadia and I formed an ever-growing list of recipe ideas we wanted to include. Between us we’d draft a recipe and cook it to feed our families for dinner to check the kids were happy. As we all know, kids can be brutal with their feedback! If they weren’t happy the recipe would be re-worked or scrapped. We’d then re-test each recipe several times to adapt it (wherever possible) to be dairy free, gluten free, nut free, egg free, vegan and vegetarian…..thats a lot of testing!! Nadia and I would then crosscheck each others recipes often saying “I reckon you could sneak yet one more vegetable in that recipe” or push each other to further simplify the recipes.

If a soundtrack was made to accompany the new book, name a song or two you would include.

I have 3 young children, so am often cooking with one on my hip, one wrapped around my ankles and one doing homework infront of me. Thats the reality of modern parenting isn’t it? So I often find myself repeating the chorus of the Rolling Stones song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as they squabble over toys or compete for my attention. Its a catchy tune!

What did you enjoy the most about writing YUM!?

I always love the creative process especially the photoshoots - for this book especially, being at the mercy of the young “models” as they messily devoured our food and seeing it captured on camera. The photographs really capture the mischievousness and innocence of the children. I also love seeing the book design come together and bringing our vision to life. I feel privileged to have worked with talent of this calibre for my first book.

What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?

On the day the book launched instore, my husband came home from work early and we visited our local book store with our 3 children. Although I’d seen the book digitally countless times, theres nothing like seeing the printed book on the shelves.

What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?

“Vincent Van Duysen Works 1989-2009” (Phaidon) celebrating the works of the Belguim architect over that period of his career. I can’t count how many times I’ve picked it up to re-read the essays from his peers and dissect the photographs. I’m in awe of the simple forms of his structures while being so rich in tactility.

What’s next on the agenda for you?

Im a stay at home mother of 3 young children so my days tend to be pretty full, but I get bored easily so like to throw myself into a project. Im now managing the build of our family home so am currently immersing myself in all things gardening/landscaping….which leads me to another favourite book of mine, Paul Bangays “Guide to Plants” - it seems to be on constant loan to my friends and is in a very well-loved and torn state.

I'm also looking forward to a creative weekend with some friends in Wellington, we are going to drive over the hill to Greytown to do a ceramics course taken by artist Felicity Donaldson of Wundaire.

YUM! by Nadia Lim, Annabel Inglis and Dieticians Jenny Douglas and Lisa Daniels, is published by Nude Food Inc, RRP: $55.00.


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