Earlier this year I had a conversation with Hannah Tunnicliffe regarding the upcoming publication of her second novel : Season of Salt & Honey.
|Season of Salt & Honey|
I agreed to sharing it with you guys as I thought it would be of great interest to you all.
Hannah has already written another novel 'The Colour of Tea', which also weaves food into the storytelling.
When she is not writing books Hannah also writes a food blog (along with her friend Ria) aptly titled Fork & Fiction.
Hannah found me through our mutual friend Beth.
I promised I would share her book with you guys after I had read it (sorry it has taken so long! - crazy busy life & then the flu got in the way!! Once I did start it I couldn't put it down.....)
Hannah has also VERY generously given me a copy of Season of Salt & Honey to giveaway to one lucky reader. To be eligible just leave a comment below letting us know the strongest food memory you have that relates to family (good or bad!) A winner will be chosen randomly. Entries close Friday 19th June 5pm. Entries must be Australian residents.
'Season of Salt & Honey' is a novel about a period on the life of Frankie, whose life is turned upside down with the unexpected death of her fiancé. Frankie escapes her own overbearing Italian-American family by fleeing to a forest cabin belonging to Alex's (the fiancé) parents.
Peppered throughout the book are gorgeous authentic recipes that are woven into the story. The story is about food, love, grief, recovery, connection to nature & the complexities of human relationships.
I LOVE the way the recipes are such a strong part of the storytelling & help paint a picture of how food is such a big part of the way we remember events in our lives. Hannah also gives us historical information about the recipes too.
Rather than spending a lot of time talking about her book, I thought it would be cool to do a little interview with Hannah so you could learn a little more about the gal behind the words.
I interviewed Hannah a few weeks ago- fulfilling my long held dream of pretending to be Jennifer Byrne from the Book Show.
Here is the transcript of that interview:
Can you tell us all a little about where you live?
Sure! I currently live in Auckland, NZ. I grew up here but have done a lot of travelling, including living overseas, over the recent years. Before moving back to NZ I lived in Vancouver, Sydney and Macau. Before that it was London, Melbourne and a campervan called Fred (for a few months travelling around Western Europe
Was it work that took you away from Auckland? or your heart?
Great question! Originally it was a scorching desire for adventure that lead me away from NZ. Then, eventually, once I had done a lot of adventuring, I could not wait to get back to NZ to make a life here. I love raising my kids and living in this little pocket of the world. My husband is an Aussie (from Sydney) and I am a Kiwi and we often talk about having "the best plan B in the world" (i.e. to return Downunder). I think this plan B is what makes Kiwis and Aussies such enthusiastic intrepid travellers.
In your travels you must have eaten some great food!
Can you share us about your favourite food memory during your travels?
Oh man, that is a TOUGH question! One very cold Autumn day in Kyoto my husband and I stumbled across a tiny, family run tempura restaurant. It was freezing outside but inside the restaurant was small and cosy; we were the only ones in it! The food was so good. In fact, ALL the food we ate in Japan was incredible and served with such care and calmness. I'm in a bit of a hurry to get back there, I loved Japan.
*runner up favourite meals include a feast in rural Thailand after a long day of trekking, siu long bao in Shanghai and sticky kouign amann from a market in Brittany... hmmmm....drool...
That Japanese meal DOES sound very special indeed.
A memory that involves more than the food- the very best kind of food experience.
And can you share your most challenging food experience of your travels with us?
Perhaps it was the ingredient or the situation that made it challenging?
I'll eat just about anything so I can't think of many ingredients that put me off (I am such an omnivore, it's not funny!) The food experiences that have been the most challenging are the times when, due to illness, I haven't been able to eat what I like (aka EVERYTHING.) This past Christmas I got sick during travels to Whistler and Hawaii and everything tasted dreadful. I was absolutely devastated. Food = Joy. Am I right? *wink emoticon*
No argument from me!
Can you tell us a little about how a 'Day in the life of Hannah' looks?
Briefly? Wake up grumpy, drink tea (feel better), grab something to eat, procrastinate, write, wrangle small children, chores, chores, chores, forget something, instagram something, eat!, more procrastination, more wrangling, think about all the things I should have gotten done, eat something, worry that I am eating too many somethings or the wrong somethings, send emails, read, chat to husband a bit, sleep.
How many children do you have? And what ages are they?
I have two beautiful, exasperating, cheeky, wonderful daughters. My eldest is five, my youngest is three.
Is writing something you have always felt intrinsically compelled to do?
This shouldn't be a hard question but strangely I find it really hard to answer! The truth is - yes and no. I loved books as a kid and I loved writing too, but i never thought of it as an "option", you know? As a real proper career choice? For me? Writing was something I kept very close to my heart, hardly ever actually doing it, in case I failed, which would shatter me. Preferring instead to try my hand at things I was less in love with and less attached to. Because failing at those things would be less heart-breaking. Finally one day, due to life circumstances (I'd become burnt out in my job in Human Resources, had quit and was living in Macau, China) I was provided time and an opportunity to finally be vulnerable and a bit brave and give it a try. I had the sense that if I didn't try then, in that moment, I might never try. So I did.
Being vulnerable is the most courageous act of all I think.
I'm glad for you it brought the bounty of success.
I think that a lot of us have inner secret things we want to try but are scared of failure.
A very wise friend of mine once said to me- the only failure is not giving it a go.
When did your interest in food begin?
You are so right - vulnerability IS the most courageous act of all! have you listened to or watched Brene Brown? She is amazing.
Anyway, I digress...
Ah, food, well...always?? Aside from the food = joy equation, I believe food is love too. It's our first experience of love, as babies, from our mothers / carers, so I'm convinced our fascination is biological. It's essential, it brings us together, it celebrates, it affirms. I'm also a very sensual person (that sounds wrong, bear with me) - I love beautiful art, colours, scents and music. And food is such a wonderful sensory experience... what's not to love?
Yes I agree with you.
I think there is a commonality amongst food lovers & art lovers.
A process of wonderment at the beauty in our world & things that can be shared- especially love.
What gave you the idea to combine your fiction writing with real life-recipes?
Good question and I cannot claim credit there. My wonderful US editor, Miya Kumangai, suggested adding recipes to the manuscript after I submitted it and at first I was a bit dubious. For two reasons - a) I am not a chef and b) I didn't want them to seem gimmicky or distract from the story. In the end I selected recipes that were already mentioned in the manuscript (not a single one was slotted in just for the purpose of adding a recipe!) and made, tested and adapted recipes. It was great fun and I learnt a lot about Sicilian cooking and culture in particular. The recipes are a good mix of easy / hard, vegetarian / including meat, American / Sicilian. A lot of the food references are symbolic and therefore have or add extra meaning too. I'm really proud of the end result. I think I owe Miya a drink. Next time I am in New York..!
I have just two more questions to ask you- I am conscious of taking your time!
Can you tell us your favourite cookbook & why & also what is your favourite music to cook to?
Sounds good, this has been really fun! Okay - favourite cookbook...
Okay, may I have three?? The first is by Sophie Dahl and is called 'Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights' I love it because the recipes are simple and delicious and organised into seasons,and because she writes about food truthfully and lovingly and because she is the star of The BFG. The second is 'Little and Friday: Celebrations" because the food is decadent and feast-y and Little and Friday is my favourite cafe and second home. The third is not a cookbook per se but my friend Beth's website, BabyMac. I make her lasagne and chocolate cake all the time. She is very funny and frank and her recipes are great. *smile emoticon*
And your favourite music to cook to?
Eeek, I don't cook with music generally! Too many things to concentrate on to involve music in the muddle and chaos. BUT, in saying that, if I do cook with music it has to be duets by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Old school, I know. 'April in Paris' makes me feel oh so happy.
Thankyou so much for sharing with us today.
Thank you so much for 'having me over'!! Cheers! x