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Mother's Gift Fuel;s Lifelong Passion



Mother's Gift Fuel;s Lifelong Passion

As David Veart left home for the first time in the early 1970’s, his mother presented him with the essential Edmonds Cookery Book and a lifelong passion for cookbooks was born.

Since that gift from his mother, David Veart has accumulated a library of over 500 cookbooks and, along the way, has developed a devotion for recipes and cooking; shortly, he will become a published food historian

Almost all the cookbooks referred to in his own first book, First Catch Your Weka: A Story of New Zealand Cooking (Auckland University Press), are part of his collection.

After that initial present from his mother, he says, “it occurred to me that many old cookbooks were being thrown out and I started to gather them up from op-shops, school fairs and from friends and relatives who knew of my increasing obsession. In recent years, internet auction sites have released a flood of old cookbooks and other pieces of food history ephemera onto the market. I discovered this source early and have watched as the value of these battered old books has risen, sometimes to unbelievable levels.”

First Catch Your Weka: A Story of New Zealand Cooking will be launched at Highwic in Auckland on 25 September, towards the end of New Zealand Book Month (the theme this year is “Taste”).

Born in Auckland in 1950, David Veart is descended from an early fencible family and currently lives on Auckland’s North Shore. He can be found on many evenings trying out recipes in his kitchen, as his family allows, and presenting the results on dishes from his collection of ’60s and ’70s Crown Lynn china.

David has given papers at conferences associated with the 3-year RSNZ Marsden Fund project “The Development of New Zealand’s Culinary Traditions”. He is currently working on a book “Playing with Our Food” and is conducting a study of family manuscript cookery books brought from Scotland to New Zealand in the late 1880s and their adjustment to local conditions such as an abundant supply of fresh fruit.

Trained as an anthropologist, he works as a Department of Conservation historian and archaeologist. He has an MA from The University of Auckland, belongs to the Auckland Heritage Committee of the Institute of Professional Engineers and is an expert on Mangere Mountain, North Head and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. He has been best known to date for his public guided walks of these areas, particularly, North Head and Motutapu Island, about which he has also written film scripts and narrated interpretative films.

First Catch Your Weka: A Story of New Zealand Cooking by David Veart
Published by Auckland University Press
PB; illus; $49.99

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