‘A community contained, typed and stapled inside a cardboard cover.’ – KATIE KERR

1970s

I see a lot of cookbooks in my job: glossy, seductively photographed collections of perfectly presented, aspirational food. Yet, it wasn’t always so. Throughout New Zealand from the 1950s onwards thousands of humble cookbooks were produced by school groups, sports clubs, churches – any group, in fact, that wanted a reliable method of raising funds from and for their community. In her essay ‘Community, Spiral-Bound’ in Dwelling in the Margins, Katie Kerr says, “Recognised collectively as ‘community cookbooks’ these slim volumes are an archive of early grass roots publishing in Aotearoa.”

This example, prepared by members of the Hawke’s Bay Art Gallery pottery group in the 1970s, was compiled to raise money for equipment for their clubrooms at Whitmore Park, Napier. Recipes were crowd-sourced (before the term even existed) from club members, well-known New Zealand potters Rick Rudd, Peter Stitchbury and Bruce and Estelle Martin, and even from personalities such as John Hawkesby and Jim and Joan Bolger. It is fitting that the pots, casseroles and dishes are so lovingly detailed. Money raised from selling the booklet was supplemented by selling ‘page sponsored by’ spots to local businesses, the whole effort coordinated by Lyn Townrow. This copy, bought by club member Betty Lascelles, is now in the collection of her daughter, Fiona Lascelles, Cuisine’s Art Director.

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2021

Here the community cookbook takes a swerve. Defining ‘community’ more broadly than a tight geographical location, Recipes for Resistance joins the goals of mutual aid with activism. Born during COVID-19, this zine looks to foster collective effort and engender safety – by capturing the nostalgia, memories and forgotten histories of home recipes and the reclamation of cultural foods as non-western forms of healing – but also to amplify, celebrate and share the voices of migrants of colour. It is a collection not only of recipes, but also essays and artworks from across the world sent to Migrant Zine Collective at the height of the pandemic to capture the nuanced relationships migrants of colour have with food.

Contributors in Aotearoa include Min-Young Her, Nina Mingya Powles, Shivani Narsai, Mia Maramara and Gwen Lin. The publication is edited by Helen Yeung, designed by Catalina Nuñez-Elevancini and published with the joint effort of Migrant Zine Collective, Strange Goods and Auckland Zinefest. $30 from Strange Goods. strangegoods.co.nzTRACY WHITMEY